2011 PANO Conference and Looking into the Future of Nonprofits

April 6, 2011

On Monday and Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations’ (PANO) Annual Conference in Harrisburg. This conference gave me the opportunity to meet people from various nonprofit organizations and learn about their missions. I also found that the educational tracks and keynote speaker gave additional insight into understanding the challenges organizations face and will continue to deal with in the future.

I attended two educational sessions during the conference – Raising More Money from Your Local Business and Federal & State Legislative Briefing. The first session enhanced my understanding of the fundraising issues my nonprofit clients deal with on a daily basis, which will also be helpful to me in my position on the Board of Directors of Meals on Wheels of Lancaster. I look forward to using what I have learned to help this worthy organization in their fundraising efforts. I also attended the Legislative Briefing because I am always concerned with how proposed and new legislation could affect my clients.

On Tuesday morning, the keynote address was delivered by Tim Delaney, Esq., President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. Tim reminded the audience that it is easier to deal with challenges when you are told the truth about what to expect. His speech was entitled "The New Reality: Positioning for Community Benefit," was both a reality check and a look to the future for nonprofit organizations.

The reality check portion focused on understanding the nature of recent economic conditions and related decline in government money available to nonprofits. Delaney offered some resources for nonprofits to enhance their understanding of the current situation and future issues, including the Public Policy section and the Government Contracting Crisis of the National Council’s website. Their website and the PANO website offer valuable information on the developments going on in the sector.

Delaney then invited nonprofits to invent their own futures by focusing on their own communities and the needs of the individuals therein. He asserted that successful nonprofits will likely be the ones that provides the most effective and necessary benefits to their communities in the future.