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


Please note: The Paycheck Protection Program resumed on Jan. 11. Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration site for more information on how to apply for a loan that can help keep your workforce employed during the pandemic.




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. 

Engaging Donors Virtually (Two-Part Series)

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

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 10-11:15 a.m.

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

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

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

Thursday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

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 

Thursday, Nov. 19, 1:30-3 p.m. 

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

Thursday, Dec. 3, 10-11:30 a.m.  

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

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

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

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

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.



Fundamentals of Nonprofit Finance/Financial Bootcamp

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 10:30 a.m.-12: p.m.

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.



Organizational Change to Achieve Equity

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

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.



Alternative Strategies for Fundraising Events – Designing the Event

Thursday, Jan. 28, 1:30-3 p.m.




Alternative Strategies for Fundraising Events – Executing the Event

Thursday, Feb. 4, 1:30-3 p.m.




Building Financial Health and Strategic Resilience

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

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.



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

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

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.



Alliances, Mergers & Strategic Restructuring

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Presented by Sandi McKinley, Sector Wind



Capstone: Telling Your Organization’s Story for Impact

Tuesday, March 9, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Presented by Sandi McKinley, Sector Wind





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.


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

Thursday, Dec. 3, 2:45-4:15 p.m.

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

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2:45-4:15 p.m.

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

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2:45-4:15 p.m.

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



Thursday, Jan. 14, 2:45-4:15 p.m.

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



Thursday, Jan. 28, 2:45-4:15 p.m.

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




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.