NOTE: MeLCat services have been temporarily suspended until December 11 due to technical reasons. Thank you for your patience. Learn more...

RSS Feed


Inspiring and encouraging

At ONEplace we glimpse into a variety of organizations – new, established, small, large, struggling, thriving. Regardless of the size or situation, our area’s nonprofit staff and volunteers demonstrate a depth of commitment and perseverance to address their particular cause. What’s most impressive, however, is the intricacy and impact characterizing each organization.

It’s a gift to listen to someone explain how their organization’s services improve people’s lives. I often find myself pleasantly surprised as I learn how organizations come along side their constituents, navigating systems, removing barriers, and equipping them to move on.

This is why I so enjoy our KICtalks programs. Kalamazoo Innovative Community talks provide organizations an opportunity to spotlight their particular innovation, show how it builds community, and invite others to play a part. I learn a lot about each organization and leave inspired, encouraged, and interested to learn about other organizations.

The next KICtalks is Thursday, November 12, 5:30 – 7 pm at the downtown library. We’ll hear from Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, Kalamazoo Literacy Council, and Restore Ministries. I hope you’ll attend.



Raise more money

A couple of weeks ago our Leadership Academy spent time on fundraising. In addition to excellent instruction, we also enjoyed a highly engaged discussion with a panel of experienced fundraisers. Among the several topics, tips, and insights shared was this:

The year-end fundraiser is still king.

Virtually every organization does some type of fundraising in November and December. Gratitude and giving are in the air, donors get a last chance at tax deductions, and many have developed a habit of donating at year’s end. Whatever the reason, it’s an extremely important time for nonprofits that depend on donor contributions.

ONEplace offers programs to help you plan, prepare and deliver a successful fundraising campaign. First, this week’s video is Year-End Fundraising Campaign by Big Duck, a New York communications firm that works exclusively with nonprofits.

Next, in mid-October, our video series brings you Giving Tuesday Success by nonprofit social media guru, Beth Kanter. This will encourage you to have your Giving Tuesday in place and ready to go for raising big money on December 1.

Finally, our Fundraising Series returns, beginning October 29. Michelle Karpinski (Pretty Lake Camp) partners with ONEplace to bring you three workshops designed to help you make this year’s campaign the best ever. They include:

Planning your Year-End Campaign – Oct 29

Donor Communications – Cut thru the Noise – Nov 5

Donor Recognition – Keep ’em Coming Back – Nov 12

Your time is valuable. Let these video and workshop opportunities ensure that you spend the needed time focusing and refining your campaign. You’ll save time – and raise more money – in the long run.



Just ONEthing - Oct 2015

Earlier this month, Paul Knudstrup (Midwest Consulting Group) launched this year’s Supervision & Management Series. The series not only provides critical information to new supervisors, it also gives experienced supervisors an opportunity to revisit information, assess needs, and sharpen skills.

In Session Two, Communicating for Results, Paul touched on conflict resolution and presented a five-step process for addressing conflicts of emotion or perception. They include:

1. Acknowledge the Conflict: Naming the conflict and acknowledging that it exists must occur before both parties seek to resolve it. Often, each party is waiting for the other to deal with it (most often, subordinate waiting on the boss). The fact is, one party must make the first overture, so why not you. 

2. Clarify the Conflict: All of us want to appear as rational, thoughtful people, so we’re good at rationalizing our behaviors. As we ask clarifying questions (e.g., “Good point – say more about that”) it’s often helpful to list information on a white board. This helps objectify the situation, letting everyone take ownership of the full situation. In this step, it’s crucial to listen well and reflect the other person’s emotions back to them to get all information out on the table.

3. Identify Alternatives: Having reduced the tension, we now can enter into problem solving with the other person. Listen to other person without making judgments or rushing to closure. Set out your statements briefly and fairly, but don’t hold back any information. If each of us saw the situation from the other’s perspective, there likely wouldn’t have been a conflict. From this base, we can generate ideas, suggestions, and options for moving forward.

4. Agree on Actions: In this step, we work out a mutually agreeable solution. Commonly there’s an amount of give and take but not always. If, at this point, both have reached a common understanding of the problem, then it’s easier to move to a common commitment to the best solution – regardless of whose idea it is. The key is that all parties agree. To paraphrase Stephen Covey, “If it’s not win-win, I don’t want to play.”

5. Summarize Next Steps: Once you have a solution, the final step is pretty simple. Set forth the steps necessary and an accountability system (who will do what by when). Document these steps and their timeline, and then be sure to check in to ensure that all is on course. Hold each other accountable, while allowing some grace as needed. Resolving the conflict and improving the relationship are the goals, so keep the focus there.

You’ll find more great information in Paul’s book, The 8 Essential Skills for Supervisors & Managers. Now in its second edition and available at the Kalamazoo Public Library or at Amazon.

ONEplace Nonprofit Leader Academy 2016

Applications are now available for the ONEplace Nonprofit Leader Academy 2016. Offered in nine monthly sessions, the Academy helps prepare emerging nonprofit leaders for executive leadership.

The Academy offers leader development in a reflective environment. Each session is a full day-away at an area retreat center. Morning hours include interactive discussion and instruction on topics critical to nonprofit success, such as governance, ethics, fundraising, finances, and supervision. In the afternoon, we process and apply the information to our current and perceived future work environments.

Threading itself throughout the Academy is a focus on self-understanding and self-development. Leaders not only need the knowledge and skills to do the job, they also need the fortitude, resilience, and chutzpah to get the job done. So, we spend time on self-awareness – examining our strengths and barriers to doing what needs to be done. Each participant develops an action plan for the time of the Academy as well as another action plan for the months immediately following the Academy.

As preparation and follow-up to an Academy experience, ONEplace offers Management Track workshops, Peer Learning Groups, and other events. Leaders are lifelong learners. They continually attend to keeping up-to-date with information as well as developing the skills and wisdom necessary to envision, inspire, and encourage.

For more on the 2016 Academy, visit our website. Applications are due Friday, November 13.

Welcoming Michigan: Lessons Learned

Last Wednesday I attended the Welcoming Michigan Statewide Convening in Warren, MI. The day-long event took place during National Welcoming Week, a celebration to recognize and encourage meaningful connections between US and foreign-born community members. It seemed to be a perfect touchstone to continue the discussions we’ve had about inclusion this past summer at ONEplace.

 WelcomingMI_Lolita Photo credit: Anne Canavati/Michigan Immigrant Rights Center

I was present for the afternoon sessions, which provided an in-depth look at the processes and specific steps an organization can take to implement inclusive programs. Much of the information was completely new to me, and in some instances, surprising. Below I have highlighted some of what I thought I knew about a particular topic, and what I learned.


The Power of Arts & Culture to Unite Communities

What I thought…

Holding multicultural events that reflect the different populations in a multiethnic community is the best strategy to get the largest number of residents to attend.

...And what I learned

In the experience of the Celebrating Southwest Concert Series, the event marketed as “multicultural” garnered the lowest attendance, versus previous concerts that highlighted music from specific ethnic groups. As one audience member pointed out, perhaps the residents did not “see” themselves in the term “multicultural.”


All About Local ID Programs

What I thought…

Municipalities will not support the creation of an official local identification card because institutions (i.e. schools, police) may fear fraudulent use, or may not want undocumented immigrants to have an ID card.

...And what I learned

Washtenaw County has had great success with their local ID card. The card is considered a government-issued ID, and most institutions have gladly accepted it in place of a State ID or a driver’s license, which many populations cannot easily access.


Ensuring Language Access

What I thought…

Using a translation phone service might be the best solution if a translator is not available in person.

…And what I learned

According to Ruth Stenfors of the Elder Refugee Program in Grand Rapids, if you’re working with a community that speaks a rare or uncommon language, many translation services may not have an interpreter that can help. Or the interpreter may speak what non-speakers consider to be the same language, but the dialects are so vastly different that the client and interpreter can barely understand each other.


Obviously there are many challenges associated with implementing inclusive programs and services, but the successes are that much more impactful. There is no question in my mind that making inclusion a priority is worthwhile. What better way to welcome new immigrants than to ensure they have equal access to everything a community might offer?

ONEplace Leader Academy 2016

ONEplace Nonprofit Leader Academy 2016

Academy information and applications now available here.

Information sessions (not required) are scheduled for:

Applications are due at 5:00 pm on Friday, November 13


Staying on track

I can hear him now. At this time of year, my friend will, “Here we go again. Doing what we always do in September.”

For many of us, our work moves in cycles. We just finished what we do in summer, and now it’s fall. After the holidays, we’ll do our winter stuff, and then there’s April and May…sheesh! As we cycle in and out of seasons, we have the opportunity to improve our systems and individual performance.

This is why ONEplace offers Management Track workshop series. These series address skills and processes fundamental to nonprofit management. They also provide opportunities to develop, hone, and refine our individual skills while offering teams opportunities to learn skills together (which improves application and retention).

Recognizing that scheduling is often the barrier to attending professional development events, we’re scheduling more in advance than ever before. Here’s our Management Track schedule for this fall.

    Supervision & Management Series – five sessions beginning Sep 14 (more)

    Fundraising Series – three sessions beginning Oct 29 (more)

    Operations Series – three sessions beginning Nov 2 (more)

Good leaders continually learn new things as well as refine and deepen that which is already known. They travel a track that doesn’t go in circles; rather, it spirals to ever-deeper understanding.



Management Track - Fall 2015

ONEplace's Management Track offers a variety of series to target those management and leadership skills that we continually need to refine. Plan ahead because many of these fill to capacity.

Supervision & Management Series

Paul Knudstrup’s (Midwest Consulting Group) popular series returns with two sections – Monday (A) and Thursday (B). 

(A) Sept 14     Job of the Manager – Managing Yourself - 9:15 am-12 pm
(B) Sept 17 

(A) Sept 21     Communicating for Results - 9:15 am-12 pm
(B) Sept 24 

(A) Sept 28     Building Relationships – Managing Others - 9:15 am-12 pm
(B) Oct 1

(A) Oct 5     Managing Change & Making Effective Decisions - 9:15 am–12 pm 
(B) Oct 8

(A) Oct 12     Leading & Empowering – Growing Yourself - 9:15 am-12 pm
(B) Oct 15 


Fundraising Series 

Michelle Karpinski (Pretty Lake Camp) teams with ONEplace to provide needed information & guidance for a successful year-end campaign. 

Oct 29      Planning Your Year-End Campaign - 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Nov 5      Donor Communications: Cut thru the Noise - 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Nov 12    Donor Recognition: Keep’em Coming Back - 11:00 am – 12:30 pm


Operations Series 

Thom Andrews (ONEplace Director) provides three processes to transform your organizations practices and internal communications. 

Nov 2      Project Management - 9:15 am – 12:00 pm

Nov 9      Decision Making - 9:15 am – 12:00 pm

Nov 16     Problem Solving - 9:15 am – 12:00 pm

Just ONEthing - Sept 2015

This past month’s Inclusion Series wrapped up with Trans*, Gender Non-conforming, & Genderqueer: a workshop for allies. During the 3-hour workshop, we learned terms, context, and explored how to be an effective ally.

Sojn Boothroyd and Amanda Niven reminded us that vocabulary is contextual. Different terms carry different meanings across geographical and generational cultures. That being said, they provided definitions and descriptions for terms used in the workshop:

Trans – abbreviation for transgender

Trans* - an asterisk is sometimes added to the word trans to signify that trans communities are diverse and include many different identities

Transgender – someone who does not identify with the gender assigned to them 

CIS gender – someone who identifies with the gender assigned to them

Gender non-conforming – someone whose appearance/identity does not conform to societal standards

Genderqueer – sometimes used to describe someone who defines their gender outside the constructs of male and female. This can include having no gender, being androgynous or having elements of multiple genders. 

Nonbinary – someone who identifies outside the gender binary (i.e., male – female)

They cautioned the group that these terms are emerging and there are various viewpoints on their definitions and usage. We should not assume that one person’s words, identity, and definition apply to others. If you are unsure, then ask and be ready to listen.

Finally, we explored the concept of allyship. An ally is a person who helps to advocate for a particular group of people. Allies are knowledgeable about issues and concerns and may help build more supportive climates. They lead from the back, continually questioning themselves and learning as well as taking action to make their workplaces more welcoming.

KICtalks spotlights four community efforts

ONEplace and the Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) team up to present Kalamazoo Innovative Community Talks or KICtalks on Wednesday, August 26, at 5:30 pm at Kalamazoo Public Library downtown.

The 90-minute event features four brief (5-10’) talks highlighting their innovative efforts to serve and build the greater Kalamazoo community. A reception for enjoying conversation and locally-sourced food follows the talks.

The August 26 event will hear from four innovative efforts: 

Children’s expression takes many forms and Read and Write Kalamazoo describes how their empathy centers provide a variety of opportunities for children to authentically express themselves. Utilizing small groups and collaborative adult interaction, they develop a culture where voice, perspective, and identity are valued.

Can Kalamazoo become the most physically fit community of its size in the nation? On the Move Kalamazoo believes it can. They will describe common barriers to movement, specific barriers in Kalamazoo, and their vision for getting us fit.

What does it mean to “be from Kalamazoo?” Remi Harrington of the Urban Folk Art Exploratory shares her fascinating story and will inspire all to seek what you need from our amazing community and claim Kalamazoo as your hometown.

When we talk of education, we rarely talk of educating the parents…as teachers of their children. Seeds for Success, a local affiliate of Parents as Teachers, describes how they collaborate with five area agencies to give kids – and parents – a better chance for success.

Quarterly KICtalk events are open and free to the public. To register, visit