Recovery and Rebuilding - Nonprofit Support in Changing Times

Berkshire Taconic is proud to partner with community foundations across the region to deliver tailored support and assistance to nonprofits who are helping our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the needs identified by nearly 1,500 nonprofit professionals across our four-county region, we are offering a series of technical assistance and capacity-building programs for nonprofit staff and board leaders that will expand in the months ahead. While there is no denying the challenges ahead for the sector, we are united with our partners in a mission to help stabilize, re-envision and rebuild the nonprofit sector.

Register for upcoming webinars and view recordings of past sessions below.

Berkshire County Columbia and Northeast Dutchess Counties


Free Consulting Support Available for Nonprofits

Specialized, one-on-one technical support from the New York Council of Nonprofits is now available to nonprofits in Berkshire, Columbia and northeast Dutchess counties.

A wide range of services is available covering topics such as Governance (boards, bylaws and policies), Financial Management (from cash flow analysis to scenario planning), and Organizational Assessments (including DEI, fundraising and strategic planning).

It starts with a free consultation with NYCON staff, followed by up to 10 free hours of support to address topics selected by the nonprofit. Additional time may be available depending on the scope of work.

To get started, organizations may contact NYCON to learn about and access the training, technical assistance and support available.




The Massachusetts Community Foundations Partnership—a coalition of 14 community foundations, Philanthropy Massachusetts and Massachusetts Nonprofit Network—is offering free programs for nonprofits across the state. As a member of this partnership, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation encourages Berkshire County nonprofits to register for these virtual training sessions. Recordings will be made available below following each program.

Board Recruitment in the COVID Era: Using Social Media to Create Connections and Candidates

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, from 12-1:30 p.m.

Finding board members has always been a challenge, and with Covid-19 resulting in the elimination of in-person networking and outreach efforts, the problem has only intensified. For many nonprofits, the default has been a holding pattern on recruiting new board members, but there is a great opportunity presented now in a world forced to interact primarily online. Nonprofit organizations are seeing significant increases in social media engagement, and it is this newfound visibility and awareness that can create connections to new board candidates. This session will share real-world examples from other nonprofits that have used social media to benefit their board and will share examples.

This session is hosted by the New York Council of Nonprofits and is free for all organizations in Berkshire Columbia and Dutchess counties, as well as grantees of the Foundation for Community Health in Litchfield County.



Engaging Donors Virtually (Two-Part Series)

Originally presented on Nov. 10 and 17, 2020

In this constantly changing world, you need to stay nimble and creative in your approach to reaching out to your donors. Join Jenn Hayslett, highly rated fundraising trainer and coach, for two interactive workshops on how to engage your donors and encourage them to keep giving to your organization during this complex time. 

Part 1: What Should You Say to Your Donors? How to Effectively Communicate and Ask Donors for Support During COVID-19

The pandemic has changed how we communicate—but most of your donors still want to support your important work. 

During this session, you will explore how to:

  • Craft intentional and clear messages that speak directly to your donors.
  • Gather and share your clients’ stories in a respectful and inclusive way that explains your impact to your donors.
  • Segment your messages to communicate the importance of your nonprofit’s work and ask your donors for support using print appeals, e-appeals, social media and website.
  • Build a diverse and inclusive communications advisory team to review your messages and materials so that you are speaking to your multiple audiences with a voice that supports racial, gender and economic justice. 

Watch the recording


Part 2:  The Time is Now: How to Have Successful Donor Fundraising Meetings on Zoom

In this interactive online workshop, you will learn how to confidently reach out to your donors using Zoom or other video-conferencing platforms.

During this workshop, you will:

  • Receive a customizable training manual that gives you the tools and scripts you need to invite your donors to meetings and ask them to support your organization.
  • Learn the Connecting Conversations Model to help you ground yourself in meetings with donors.
  • Have a chance to practice participating in meaningful, goal-directed conversations with your donors.
  • Increase your skills and confidence to make your online donor meetings successful.

Watch the recording


Making Strategy in Uncertain Times

Originally presented on Nov. 12, 2020

How can you even think about strategic planning when you don’t know what the next quarter will bring, let alone the next three years?

Many organizations are nimbly adapting to the pressing needs of their communities, temporarily putting a pause on their long-term plans. But how long is “temporarily"? For example, how will you know when (if ever) you are able to shift back to your traditional service model? Or will your service model have to fundamentally change?

Facing questions like this can be understandably unsettling. Part of the purpose of developing a strategy—defined as a framework for decision-making—is to help manage that stress. In this interactive session presented by Impact Catalysts, you will learn the essential components of strategy-making in uncertainty, explore how you can get started, and consider how your organization might need to adapt.

For background, Impact Catalysts recommends reading these two short blog posts about contingency planning:

Watch the recording


How to Update Your Digital Fundraising Strategy in the Age of COVID-19 

Originally presented on Nov. 19, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic, the election and racial justice protests have upended the entire nonprofit landscape. It is no longer business as usual for nonprofit fundraisers.

With all the noise on social media, along with serious ethical considerations clouding the platforms, how can we continue to reach our audiences and spread our messages online?

In this webinar, digital fundraising expert Julia Campbell will review important shifts in the digital fundraising landscape that nonprofits need to understand; discuss ways to stay relevant on social media in times of uncertainty; and provide a framework for your 2021 digital fundraising strategy. 

Watch the recording  


How to Build, Launch, and Promote a Digital Fundraising Campaign

Originally presented on Dec. 3, 2020

The research is in: 60% of people in North America prefer to give online. Revenue from individual online gifts grew by 19% over the past year. But are you making it easy for your donors to give on digital platforms? 

During this virtual workshop, digital fundraising expert Julia Campbell will show you, step-by-step, how to build, launch and promote a digital fundraising campaign, including the best ways to use the variety of channels at your disposal (website, email, blog, social media). We will also cover how to use offline methods to augment your digital fundraising, and how to evaluate your success and measure results.

Skills, knowledge and attitudes to be addressed:

  • How to navigate the latest changes and trends in the social media landscape—what fundraisers need to know
  • How to use digital channels to build and deepen relationships with current donors and prospects
  • How to manage digital fundraising tasks at a small nonprofit with limited capacity
  • Free and low-cost tools you can use to enhance your digital fundraising on a shoestring budget
  • Real-world examples from small and mid-size nonprofits

Watch the recording


More Than Money: Identifying Organizational Strengths and Needs

Originally presented on Dec. 8, 2020

The nonprofit sector is under-resourced. As a result, many executive directors and boards are constantly searching for ways to increase revenue to meet day-to-day needs. Too often organizations define their success by the robustness of their business model and the strength of their balance sheet. However, there is more than one kind of strength, just as there is more than one type of need.

This session, presented by Sandi McKinley of SectorWind, will offer an effective and time-efficient organizational assessment designed as a starting point for leaders and boards to identify their organization’s financial and nonfinancial strengths. In doing so, organizations will be able to understand the underlying areas of strength and areas that need investment. As a result, leaders and boards will be better positioned to advocate for the resources—financial and otherwise—needed to support their mission and strategy.

Watch the recording


Bringing the Outside In: Engaging Communities in Priority Setting and Planning

Originally presented on Jan. 12, 2021

Nonprofits exist to respond to a community’s need but frequently an organization's priorities are determined by legacy (“We've always done it that way!”) or presumption (“It’s what people like!”) As community priorities are changing and the sector is embracing more equitable, accessible, and just practices it is essential that organizations take time to engage with their community to best understand its value and needs. This webinar will share techniques to capture community input and include community members in decision making so that leaders and boards can engage in setting strategy and plans that are informed by the needs and values of their community. Presented by Sandi McKinley, SectorWind.

Watch the recording


Fundamentals of Nonprofit Finance/Financial Bootcamp

Originally presented on Jan. 26, 2021

Open to all who work in a nonprofit or serve on a nonprofit board, this webinar will go over the fundamentals of nonprofit finance using audits/ accounting reviews, the annual budget and (optional) their Candid profile. The goal is for leaders and board members to gain clarity of financial constructs and terms while uncovering a more in-depth and shared understanding of the financial health of their nonprofit. Presented by Sandi McKinley, SectorWind.

Watch the recording


Organizational Change to Achieve Equity

Originally presented on Jan. 27, 2021

In this workshop, facilitators will guide participants in identifying cultural and organizational change necessary to achieving equity in the workplace. Participants will become familiar with a key tool for organizational change. Interpersonal, institutional, ideological, and internalized dimensions will be explored. Participants will explore micro-, meso- and macro-level components necessary to achieving organizational change and will apply concepts to a case study. Presented by Beth Chandler and Kathryn Henderson, YW Boston.

Watch the recording


Alternative Strategies for Fundraising Events – Designing the Event

Originally presented on Jan. 28, 2021

2020 forced the nonprofit sector to embrace the idea of virtual events and gatherings. While many organizations hosted virtual events, many are still struggling to determine the type of event to craft for their specific mission, vision, and audience. Join Alyssa Wright, fundraising expert and Forbes contributor, for two sessions focused on creating an effective virtual event that achieves your goals of raising awareness, generating funds, and potentially influencing policymakers around your particular cause.

The first workshop will focus on determining the objective, goal and theme of your event. What’s the conversation your nonprofit hopes to ignite? What do you desire to celebrate? How will you motivate donors to give? Leave this workshop with an action plan for crafting the content, program, and offerings surrounding your virtual event.

Watch the recording


Alternative Strategies for Fundraising Events – Executing the Event

Originally presented on Feb. 4, 2021

2020 forced the nonprofit sector to embrace the idea of virtual events and gatherings. While many organizations hosted virtual events, many are still struggling to determine the type of event to craft for their specific mission, vision, and audience. Join Alyssa Wright, fundraising expert and Forbes contributor, for two sessions focused on creating an effective virtual event that achieves your goals of raising awareness, generating funds, and potentially influencing policymakers around your particular cause.

The second workshop will focus on integrating appropriate technologies to share this message as well as easily attract funding and engagement from your constituents. Leave this workshop with a detailed plan for executing your event and its accompanying fundraising strategy.

Watch the recording


Building Financial Health and Strategic Resilience

Originally presented on Feb. 9, 2021

In an age where plans seem to be outdated as soon as the ink is dry, how can leaders and boards plan? This webinar takes leaders and boards through a process of scenario planning and budgeting that allows for flexibility as things change, while not compromising short- and mid-term goals. Presented by Sandi McKinley, SectorWind.

Watch the recording


How Nonprofits Can Break Through the Virtual World of Fundraising and Communications

Originally presented on Feb. 17, 2021

In this workshop, participants will better understand how to adapt their communications and fundraising strategies to respond to shifting stakeholder needs. The workshop will focus on how to approach stakeholder demands for greater diversity, equity and inclusion and how to grow an online presence even through social distancing brought on by COVID-19. Topics will include how to practice more inclusive communications, how to engage your audiences virtually, and how to pivot fundraising to online spaces. Presented by Coralys Negretti and Dominique Calixte, YW Boston.

Watch the recording


Alliances, Mergers & Strategic Restructuring

Originally presented on Feb. 23, 2021

No person—or organization—is an island. Nonprofit organizations are centered in communities and dependent upon relationships with people, families, groups, and other organizations—even those not in their field or sector. This webinar will assist leaders and board in understanding their organization’s social capital and when it might be time to restructure, form an alliance or merge. We will explore these and other options as well as their strategic and financial implications. Presented by Sandi McKinley, Sector Wind

Watch the recording


Capstone: Telling Your Organization’s Story for Impact

Originally presented on March 9, 2021

A conversation with a potential donor. A question from a community leader. An inquiry from the press. How we tell our organization’s financial and programmatic story is essential - especially as organizations emerge from pandemic into a new normal. This capstone webinar will tie together the previous webinars and assist leaders and boards in building the elements of their organization's story so that it is clear, transparent, concise, and persuasive. Presented by Sandi McKinley, Sector Wind

Watch the recording


Marketing Your Mission and Services in a Distracted, Digital World

Originally presented on March 18, 2021

Social distancing and lock down protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic have forced a lot of our interactions to become digital, with nonprofits scrambling to keep up. In today’s digitally driven world, people have more messages coming at them than ever before, with multiple screens and devices being used at all-time high rates. This workshop will examine how nonprofit marketing will need to adapt to the realities of our distracted, digital world, and how nonprofits can continue to attract new supporters, raise awareness for their cause, and drive donations.

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Nonprofit Report: Virtual Fundraising Successes and Lessons

Originally presented on May 18, 2021

Join the Massachusetts Community Foundations Partnership for a panel discussion of successful virtual fundraising and events, addressing challenges we are facing and what practices have been adopted in this new landscape to create successful events and fundraising. Dimitrios Booras, development manager of the Center for Hope and Healing; Aubrey Conquergood, executive director of Cradles to Crayons; and Emily Eagan, senior manager of events and operations of Celebrity Series of Boston will discuss their events and fundraising strategies in the virtual realm from the past year.

Watch the recording


Nonprofit Strong Cohort Learning Program

Applications closed on June 8, 2021

This free, five-part program will provide participants the opportunity for discussion and learning with peers in one of three topic-based cohorts: Centering Equity, Strategic Thinking & Planning, and Virtual Nonprofit Operations. 

Each cohort will meet virtually for five 90-minute sessions over the course of 5-6 months. An additional 30-60 minutes of pre- and post-session work may be encouraged in between meetings. Each cohort can accommodate 30 participants.

Berkshire County nonprofits are invited to apply by June 8. You will be notified if your application has been selected to participate. 




The Hudson Valley Funders Network—a coalition of 19 foundations and organizations—is partnering with the New York Council of Nonprofits to provide training and technical assistance programs to nonprofits in the Hudson Valley during the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. As a member of this network, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation encourages nonprofits in Columbia and northeast Dutchess counties to register for these free virtual training sessions. Recordings will be made available below following each program.

Board Recruitment in the COVID Era: Using Social Media to Create Connections and Candidates

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, from 12-1:30 p.m.

Finding board members has always been a challenge, and with Covid-19 resulting in the elimination of in-person networking and outreach efforts, the problem has only intensified. For many nonprofits, the default has been a holding pattern on recruiting new board members, but there is a great opportunity presented now in a world forced to interact primarily online. Nonprofit organizations are seeing significant increases in social media engagement, and it is this newfound visibility and awareness that can create connections to new board candidates. This session will share real-world examples from other nonprofits that have used social media to benefit their board and will share examples.

This session is hosted by the New York Council of Nonprofits and is free for all organizations in Columbia, Dutchess, and Berkshire counties, as well as grantees of the Foundation for Community Health in Litchfield County.



Originally presented on Dec. 3, 8 and 17, 2020

In these three sessions, you will learn best practices for using social media, email and additional communication tools to conduct digital fundraising for your nonprofit. Through participation in this course, you will:

  • Learn the key elements of creating an online donation form
  • Learn how to incorporate fundraising into your communications calendar
  • Learn email and social media fundraising best practices
  • Understand how to analyze and utilize metrics from your campaigns
  • Discover software to support your fundraising efforts

Optimizing Your Website

Is your website sending capturing potential donors? Learn how to set up your website for success by including elements such as prominent "donate" buttons, tiered fundraising asks, and more.

Watch the recording

Email Fundraising

Email requests are common practice in fundraising campaigns, but how can you make sure they're reaching your audience? Learn about best practices in crafting, targeting and scheduling an email fundraising campaign.

Watch the recording

Social Media Fundraising

To complete your digital fundraising strategy, it's important to have your social media aligned with your efforts. Learn how to harness social media platforms to encourage fundraising, and how to incorporate your posts with your overall campaign.

Watch the recording


Strategic Partnerships in the COVID Era: The Nonprofit Landscape

Originally presented on Jan. 8, 2021

With unprecedented challenges before and ahead, what are different methods for mission-aligned nonprofits to ensure social impact? This session explores the factors, dimensions and impacts of our changing and uncerain nonprofit corporate landscape; what it means for those seeking restructuring solutions what the core models are, including mergers, affiliations and substantive shared services; and what state regulatory changes are needed to support our sector’s efforts in this regard.

Participant Takeaways:

  • Gain up-to-date awareness as to the strategic impact of the COVID-19 era on nonprofits
  • Understand the practical pros and cons of, and processes associated with, the core restructuring models
  • Learn the impact of state regulatory processes that may apply and the changes that are needed

Watch the recording



Originally presented on Jan. 14, 2021

For most nonprofits, their donor management system is the glue that holds their organization together. Having one means being able to track donors, learn about how they interact with your organization, and take steps to strengthen those relationships. Unfortunately, many organizations struggle to find the right system. (And no, spreadsheets are not a donor management system!) Whether you’re actively shopping for a new donor management system or considering whether it’s time to change, this course can help you learn about your options, the features, and functionality you need within a budget you can afford. During this session, you will:

  • Learn what to consider when evaluating donor management systems
  • Think through your organization's needs and the data you want to track
  • Review how to evaluate a system so that all of your questions get answered
  • Understand the security risks that DMS platforms (and consequently an organization’s donor data) frequently face
  • Understand the basics of fundraising databases (aka donor management systems and DMS) and security features that leading DMS platforms provide that may better protect donor data

Watch the recording



Originally presented on Jan. 27, 2021

The next round of PPP has officially begun with lenders now accepting PPP second-draw applications and first draw for first-time loans. The SBA has released a number of updates on PPP, including applying for a loan and loan forgiveness. Join in for a review of this new information and revised applications. An update on the Shuttered Venue Operator Program as it relates to PPP is addressed as well.

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Originally presented on Jan. 28, 2021

Nonprofit staff may recognize that cyber attacks are frequent and damaging to both their finances and their reputation, but consider the task to protect themselves, even minimally, to be daunting and complex. In this session, attendees will learn about the types of threats they unknowingly face, how to recognize them, and simple steps they can take to improve protection of their own devices and their organization. During this session you will learn:

  • The state of nonprofit security and examples 
  • Pieces of security landscape 
  • What do you have, who wants it, and how will they get it 
  • Assessing risk 
  • Best practices for cybersecurity basics 
  • Office365 licensing overview 
  • IT policies that help protect the organization 
  • Configuration and support

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Originally presented on June 23, July 7 and July 21, 2021

It is recommended to have at least 1 staff and 1 board member from your organization attend each session. There is no cost to register for the series. 

Attendees who require additional support to implement the concepts addressed in the webinars may also be eligible for limited follow-up technical assistance to address topics such as: 

  • Incorporating risk analysis and scenario planning into the budget process
  • Producing financial reports that clarify performance and key strategic concerns for management and board
  • Establishing working capital and reserve targets and policies
  • Assessing financial viability of organizational restructuring
  • Ramping up financial governance and oversight processes

Details about how to take part in the follow-up technical assistance will be given out at the end of each session.

Budgeting Effectively: A Team-Based Process

Originally presented on June 23, 2021

A good budgeting process engages everyone who is responsible for implementing its priorities. It can get complicated as budget development and decision-making are driven by mission, financial need, opportunities and the Board’s fiduciary responsibilities for monitoring and oversight. The process should include enough time for review of strategic priorities and allow for review, feedback, and revisions.

Once a budget is in place, how do you manage this “living, breathing” document? As we have learned over this past year, things can change and having a good budget as a foundation can assist us with both navigation in the current period and adaptation for future sustainability.

This session will cover:

  • The 6 P’s of budgeting
  • Knowing ourselves - the sources of our revenue
  • Mapping our year - the good, the bad and the ugly
  • Thinking strategically - the impact of current decisions on future periods

Presenter: Kelly Mathews, COO, Sr. VP Financial Management Group , NYCON

Watch the recording

Nonprofit Financial Health Assessment 

Originally presented on July 7, 2021

This session will provide an introduction on how to assess a nonprofit’s financial condition and needs with a particular focus on risk assessment during uncertain times. It will also provide a high-level review of the various financial impacts the pandemic has had on nonprofits to date, potential sources of ongoing risk as organizations look to reopen, and considerations for the roles of management and board in financial oversight.

Presenter: Phil Rosenbloom, Tarn Consulting 

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Post-COVID-19 Financial Planning 

Originally presented on July 21, 2021

Expanding on the concepts addressed in Workshop 1, this session will dive deeper into financial planning practices for nonprofits seeking to chart a financial course for reopening as the pandemic recedes. Topics will include cash flow and budget projections, scenario planning, and setting reserve goals in the context of financial uncertainty. It will also address broader financial considerations for growth in response to increased community need and structural changes such as mergers in response to financial pressures.

Presenter: Phil Rosenbloom, Tarn Consulting 

Watch the recording


Sandi McKinley

Sandi McKinley has more than 20 years of experience serving the nonprofit sector. In 2020, she founded SectorWind, a consulting firm that works with leaders and philanthropies to build financial strength and strategic resilience within nonprofit organizations. Prior to SectorWind, Sandi was vice president, advisory services at Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), where she was on staff for nearly 14 years. Sandi had the pleasure of working with over 1,000 nonprofit clients, which served to deepen her insight into the array of options and challenges that nonprofit leaders face related to management, strategy and financial health. As a result, she is an authority on nonprofit finance and represented NFF at conferences and in the media. Before joining NFF, Sandi provided strategic and philanthropic advice to foundations and family offices and their grantees. Sandi holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rosemont College and a Master of Business Administration from Simmons College School of Management, where she also serves as a faculty member. She serves on several nonprofit boards, and regularly speaks and writes about the role of nonprofit finance, strategic resilience, and the nature of money in the nonprofit sector. She is an avid hiker and resides outside of Boston with her husband, two teenage sons and five pets.


Julia Campbell

Julia Campbell has a long history of helping nonprofits find success using digital storytelling strategies. A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Senegal 2000-2002), a mother of two energetic kids, and a lover of activism and social causes, Julia helps nonprofits build movements and connect with supporters by effectively harnessing the power and potential of online marketing and social media tools. Julia’s clients include small community-based nonprofits and large universities. She also offers small group coaching sessions, workshops, seminars and online trainings. The author of "Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits and How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit in 90 Days," Julia’s blog about online fundraising and nonprofit technology is #3 on the Top 40 Nonprofit Marketing Blogs and Websites for Nonprofit Marketers and Fundraisers and is consistently featured in the list of Top 150 Nonprofit Blogs in the world. She resides north of Boston with her husband and two children.


Impact Catalysts

Impact Catalysts is a partner to social enterprises and philanthropies. They help people who have dedicated their lives to social impact develop the systems, tools and processes that catalyze impact. They work in partnership with leaders of social enterprises and their stakeholders. They believe that, done right, a planning process can reinforce and advance an organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Within the limitations of confidentiality requirements, they seek to include the voices of those with lived experience in their analysis of a client’s options. They are issue agnostic—they believe that there is no single social issue that improves communities. There are many levers for change, and they all matter to Impact Catalysts. And they are implementation focused—Impact Catalysts sticks with clients as they work to make their plans a reality, providing advice and counsel along the way. They have led nonprofit organizations and gotten their hands dirty in direct service work domestically and internationally. Staff members at Impact Catalysts got into consulting because they want to pay forward the lessons they learned the hard way.


Jenn Hayslett

As a leadership and professional development coach, Jenn Hayslett works with individuals and teams to develop clear goals and design action plans to achieve them. In her work as a consultant, Jenn partners with nonprofits to articulate powerful stories of impact and supports boards, executive directors and staff in developing the confidence and skill to successfully ask for support. Her specialty is in building and improving relationship-based fundraising programs for small and mid-sized nonprofits, honed through 25 years of leadership experience. Jenn’s engaging presentation style makes her a highly-rated presenter. She is a certified trainer, facilitator and consultant and received her coach training through Coaches Training Institute.