Trainings for River and Watershed GroupsClick on Link to View a Full Description
Creating a strong network of river and watershed groups is at the core of the River Alliance of Wisconsin's mission.
The trainings listed here are based on the best management practices for non-profit river and watershed organizations and they can be tailored to your organization's needs. The first step is to set up a consultation with our staff to determine the priorities for your group.
If your organization has a specific need not addressed by these trainings, call us and ask about additional options for your group. Other topics we can assist with include: starting a new organization, non-profit administration, and communicating your message.
Full board participation is key to the success of the training. Your board and staff will be expected to:
- Complete workshop preparation materials.
- Attend the training.
- Implement the action plan created during the training.
Why should your group invest time in organizational trainings?
Past training participants share their views:
"We learned how to plan projects in such a way that our organization comes out stronger... it changed how we approach our projects."
"The workshop was probably the most important event of the year for us..Now we are focusing on the bigger picture and long term sustainability. We're looking ahead at what we want to be rather than being reactive."
"This workshop was essential, needed, concise and a great jump start for our fundraising. It will be nice to have the board all involved."
Trainings make groups stronger
In addition to the experiences these participants had, data collected by River Network has shown that watershed groups which received capacity-building assistance are demonstrably stronger. Groups that received training saw a 60% increase in organization membership, 125% increase in individual donors and a 20% increase in revenues. Bottom line, investing time in your organization's operation will help you do your work better.
Trainings Offered by the River Alliance
- Do you have a plan for reaching your annual goals?
- Is your group unsure of which organizational tasks to tackle first?
- Are your leaders overwhelmed?
- Do you need more leaders or volunteers?
This training will help you identify and prioritize ways for your group to become more effective and sustainable for the long term. Using an online benchmarking tool, your board will identify its strengths and challenges in eight key areas: Goals and Planning, Campaigns and Projects, Fundraising and Resources, Budgeting and Accounting, Board of Directors, Activists and Workers, Developing Members and Leaders, and Public Communication and Alliances.
All board members and staff will complete and review the results of the online benchmarking survey prior to the training. During the training, you will discuss your group's strengths and challenges, determine three immediate priorities and create an action plan to address those priorities in the next 4-6 months. As always, taking the time to implement the action plan is key to your success. We will provide support to help you achieve your goals.
The benchmarking training also meets the organizational assessment ranking criteria (A.4 and A.6) for the Department of Natural Resources' River Protection Grant Program.
Cost: $250 for River Alliance member organizations ($100 rebate if a quorum of board members attends); $600 for non-members
Length: 4-6 hours
- Does your group have projects planned but no way to pay for them?
- Do you feel uncomfortable asking for money?
- Is recruiting and retaining members an ongoing challenge?
Raising enough funds to accomplish your organization's goals is the most common struggle for groups. This training takes the fear out of fundraising and provides your organization with the knowledge and confidence to build financial support for your projects.
The topics covered and length of the training will be arranged based on your organization's current needs. The training can be done as one six-hour session or divided into two or three sessions.
The topics include:
- Fundraising Basics- where to look for money and why people give
- Making the Ask- effective ways to approach donors
- Managing Membership- strategies to recruit and keep members
- Fund Development Plans- creating a plan that identifies the steps needed to meet your organization's fundraising goals. Before completing a fund development plan, your group will need to have an annual work plan and accompanying budget.
Cost: $100-250 for River Alliance member organizations ($100 rebate if a quorum of board members attends); $250-600 for non-members
Length: 2-6 hours
- Are you down to the same group of people who do everything?
- Feeling burned out with no one to help with the group's workload?
- Can't find anyone to run for the board?
You may run out of people power on your boards and committees if you do not make a conscious effort to develop new leaders for your organization. This workshop will help you identify ways to recruit volunteers and build new leaders using existing projects and campaigns.
You will leave the workshop with a well-developed plan for your upcoming projects that is aimed at developing your organization's volunteer base.
During this workshop your group will:
- Assess how your organization develops leaders
- Set goals and priorities for attracting volunteers and bringing them up into leadership positions
- Develop strategies to keep people involved and progressively increase their responsibility
- Begin to plan a campaign or project in such a way that you strategically involve volunteers and leaders
Cost: $200 for River Alliance member organizations ($100 rebate if a quorum of board members attends); $500 for non-members
Length: 4 hours
- Do you know your role as a board member?
- Are you uncertain how to work together as an efficient board?
- Do you want your board to be trained, involved and together?
We know that boards want to improve their effectiveness, but often can't commit to a long training. These three "mini board trainings" are designed to take place during one of your regularly scheduled board meetings. Your group can take one, two, or all three of these one-hour trainings in the order that makes sense for your needs.
The Basics of Non-profit Boards
Establishing board roles and responsibilities, ensuring board participation between meetings, running effective meetings and having fun!
Recruiting for Your Board
Assessing your current organizational needs, evaluating the skills your current board brings to the table, identifying what skills you would like to see in new board members, securing/recruiting those members and formally orienting them once they begin.
Making Your Board a Success
Setting annual board goals, conducting board evaluations, establishing strong working committees and providing board development opportunities to make your organization flourish.
Cost: $50 per training for River Alliance member organizations; $150 for non-members
Length: 3 individual one hour trainings
Local Group Resources
- Trainings, including Making Your Board Effective, Mapping Your Future, Raising Funds to Reach Your Goals, and Sustaining Your People Power.
- Watershed Advocate Toolkit
- The TRIB Wisconsin River Groups e-newsletter and Word on the Stream, the River Alliance electronic newsletter
- An online directory of citizen-based river and watershed organizations
- River Links, interlibrary loan resources for building successful conservation organizations
- Technical assistance in preparing DNR River Protection Grant proposals
- Sample documents (e.g. bylaws, grant proposals, etc.)
- Dale Druckrey Advocacy Grant Program
Our extensive local groups toolkit provides quick guides to a number of issues important to watershed groups and nonprofits in general.
Watershed Advocate Toolkit >>