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Viability Program for Western Maine Nonprofits

by Annie Sutton

The third Nonprofit Sector Viability Session of 2010 will provide senior leaders of ten economic and community development nonprofit organizations in Western Maine with a structured and supportive environment for thinking deeply about the viability of their mission, programs and finances, and for identifying new options to sustain their organizations and/or missions through collaborative and other means.

This offering will be especially beneficial for executive directors and board leaders who are interested in proactive, creative and adaptive responses to significant shifts in funding and demand for their services in the wake of an economic downturn.

Organizations with missions dedicated to economic and community development* are invited to submit an application; schools or colleges are not eligible for consideration. Organizations must have at least one paid staff member.

Participants will walk away from the session with:

  • In depth fiscal and programmatic viability analyses
  • Greater clarity about their programmatic futures
  • Concrete plans for coping with immediate economic challenges
  • Options for pursuing collaboration, merger or alliance as means to sustaining mission and increasing intended impacts
  • Clear steps for implementation
  • Targeted consulting assistance.

The program consists of three components:

1. An introspective 62 question self assessment that engages both board and staff to answer three questions: Are we operating from a position of relative strength or weakness? What kind of financial flexibility do we have? And what are our options for adapting, strengthening and managing in today’s challenging times, particularly our options for collaboration, strategic alliance and merger?

2. A 1 ½ day session, being offered June 24-25 in Western Maine, which is designed to lead executive directors and board leaders sequentially from analysis to action planning. Each session strikes a balance between large group and individual engagement and between providing information and engaging participants in analysis or planning. Consultants will play a facilitative and guiding role throughout, particularly during periods of individual engagement, and will be partnered with organizations that match their areas of expertise and experience.

3. Following the session, participants can request up to six hours of complimentary consulting to assist with implementation.


All interested organizations will be asked to submit a short application to be considered for this opportunity.  For further information please contact Annie Sutton at the Maine Association of Nonprofits.

Deadline for applications is April 28th.

Thanks to generous financial support from Sandy River Charitable Foundation, Betterment Fund, Maine Community Foundation’s Western Mountains Fund and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as the pro bono work of organizations behind the collaborative, financial assistance will be available to a limited number or participating organizations. The remaining organizations will pay according to their budget size: $250 for organizations with budgets under $500k, $500 for organizations over $500k.

The Nonprofit Sector Viability Collaboration responsible for creating this program includes: Maine Association of Nonprofits, Common Good Ventures, Institute for Civic Leadership, Maine Community Foundation, Maine Health Access Foundation, Maine Network Partners and the United Ways of Greater Portland, York County and Eastern Maine.

* The Selection Committee defines economic and community development as work that develops or expands new industries or entrepreneurial efforts toward the end of strengthening the local economy, raising income levels, or creating new jobs. This includes work that improves the quality of life of people living in communities.

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