Workshops are three hours in duration, delivered at your location to groups of 25 or less. High-impact visuals and comprehensive take-away materials are included. Content is geared to board members, executive directors and managers/coordinators. Travel charges may apply to locations outside of the Greater Toronto Area. Examples of our workshop topics are listed below. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just call or send us an email.

Financial Management of Non-Profits – The Painless, Common-Sense Approach

Versions of this workshop are available for executive directors and board members; finance managers/coordinators and program managers/coordinators. The workshops will provide practical information and tools for those involved in the financial management of a non-profit organization today. Topics include: Roles of the board and staff in financial management; basic accounting principles; importance of the fiscal budgeting process; principles of preparing a well-designed budget, developing a budget system; interpreting financial statements and using them to make informed decisions, using a variance analysis and financial ratios to spot unfavourable trending and proactively manage costs; effectively communicating financial information at each level of the organization; types of audits and the circumstances under which they would apply; fraud prevention and internal controls; differences between a grant and contribution agreement; tracking and monitoring funded expenses; and, managing surpluses and overages.

Governance for Community Based Organizations

Volunteering on a non-profit board is a serious commitment and carries with it a significant personal liability. However, it is common for board members to take on these roles without receiving sufficient or any training on how to perform these responsibilities. This workshop will provide practical information and guidelines for both new and existing board members. Participants will learn the basics of good governance and what it means to govern a non-profit organization effectively. We will review the various governance models commonly in use today, exploring the inherent advantages and disadvantages of each. Participants will be instructed on board member responsibilities and liabilities, regulations and legislation, risk oversight, committee types and charters, board meeting tools and best practices, board composition, board member recruitment and development, and board evaluation.

Risk Management Made Easy

Identifying and managing risk is essential to the sustainability of a non-profit organization. Although risk is ever-present and can never be eliminated completely, the likelihood of a risk occurring and its potential impact on the organization can be mitigated. This workshop will assist the board and staff in understanding the different types of risks, where they might exist within in the organization and the role that each board member and staff person plays in identifying them. Instruction will be provided on how to prioritize these risks from extreme to low using a risk register . Participants will learn how to develop strategies to mitigate risks and the process involved in preparing and implementing a risk treatment plan. The importance of the ongoing process of assessing the organization’s continued vulnerability will be highlighted.

Strategic Planning for Small and Mid-Sized Non-Profits

Strategic planning isn’t just for large non-profits. In fact, strategic objectives provide the ‘big picture’ context for operational decision-making and planning. Without these guiding references, organizations may lose their focus and waste valuable time and resources. This workshop will cover the importance of strategic planning and its connection to operational or fiscal planning. Participants will learn a methodology by which they can develop their own strategic plan or strategic goals, with or without an external facilitator. The importance of, and a process for, implementing the strategic plan will be underscored.

Preparing a Funding Strategy and Building Relationships with Funders

Today, getting the funding required to sustain a continuing operation and achieve future goals is about doing research, preparing a plan and building long-term relationships with funders based upon a mutual win strategy. This workshop will help participants to better understand the current fundraising climate for Canadian non-profits and the ‘how to’ of identifying an organization’s funding needs, the best options in meeting those needs, and an approach to building successful relationships with funders. We will explore the various funding types available from public, private and corporate options, and the role that each could potentially play in the overall funding strategy for an organization. Then, by better understanding the current thinking of today’s funders, we will identify ways to build strong, long-term relationships with select funders and position an organization as a preferred investment.

Writing Effective Funding Proposals and Managing Contract Negotiations

This workshop will examine how to develop compelling funding proposals, including preparing templates or boilerplates that can be customized for any submission. We will review the different types of funding requests and their essential differences, how to understand funder expectations and tailor a proposal accordingly. Participants will learn a process for managing the funding application process, including following up on the submission and negotiating the funder agreement.

Managing and Evaluating Performance in a Non-Profit Environment

The ongoing management of staff is an essential element in delivering consistently high service levels to constituents. In this workshop, we will review the process of developing clear job descriptions linked to an organization’s mandate and values, complete with the anti-racism/anti-oppression elements now required by most funders. We will learn how to establish achievable performance objectives that are tied to an organization’s fiscal goals and used in tandem with job descriptions to manage employee performance. Finally, participants will learn the process of coaching employee performance using critical behaviours.

Project Management for Non-Profit Managers

This workshop will review how to set achievable project goals and manage the four constraint elements of a project to ensure its successful completion: Scope, quality, time, and budget. We will examine the role of a project manager, along with the activities associated with directing a project from onset to completion. This information is presented in the context of typical non-profit projects, such as a capital or renovation project, a strategic planning initiative and a fundraising event. Participants will come away with a better understanding of the essentials of project management and how to apply them in situations most likely to occur in their workplace.

Marketing and Branding for Social Organizations

What does it mean to brand an organization and what is the value of doing so? Participants will learn how to brand their social organization and will gain a better understanding of the importance of developing a consistent approach to communicating an organization’s value proposition, mandate and values to staff, funders and other stakeholders. The funding environment in Canada is competitive, increasing the need to differentiate an organization from others relying on the same funding sources. Participants will explore various social marketing techniques which can increase awareness of an organization and its mission.

Charitable Compliance for Non-Lawyers

The purpose of this workshop is to review, in non-legal terms, the laws and regulations that govern charities, including those set out by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). We will explore subjects such as what makes charities different from non-profits, the significance of charitable objects, issuing official donation receipts, completing the Annual Information Return, understanding the disbursement quota, acting in accordance with fundraising and advocacy policy, key compliance issues, and tips for maintaining charitable status. For those considering social enterprises, we will discuss the differences between income generation and business activities, as defined by CRA. Also, we will review the impact of the pending changes to not-for-profit legislation in Ontario and Canada.

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Gina Vergilio is a consultant we have contracted to assist us in the development of our organization. She has been working with us for about six months now and I am quite impressed by her intelligence and drive. She comes from a business background but understands well the strengths and limitations of not for profit organizations. Consultants are theoretically valuable but far too often lack in substance and depth: they tell us what we already know and leave us no better off than when we started. Gina has been a pleasant exception to the norm. She works hard, she works well and she delivers useful results. I am quite comfortable in giving my very strong endorsement of Gina Vergilio.
Bruno ScorsoneExecutive DirectorThe Good Neighbours' Club