Written by: Tom Rieland
Date: July 17, 2009

WOSU@COSI hosted and Huntington Bank funded the annual Seeds of Growth workshops for area nonprofits yesterday . The studios were packed and the information was very valuable as nonprofit leaders reconsider their business plans and try to stay afloat. The multi-hour program will air in segments on WOSU Plus on Friday nights starting in August.

The audience was very diverse. My table included a symphony executive director, a nonprofit consultant, folks from the Housing Authority and a leader of a community house that worked on family issues. A few of my takeaways:

– Artie Isaac, noted creative entrepreneur talked about finding motivation in a down time — a quote: “Do you let your clients (donors, staff, etc.) hold your morale in their hands?”

– Lee Fisher, Ohio Lt. Governor on leadership in an uncertain economy. Fisher comes from a nonprofit management background: “Organizations must invest strategically to thrive…to focus…there is no way to prosper by continually cutting.”

– Dr. Neeli Bendapudi of OSU examined relationship building during this time saying “now is the time to plug the leaks, protect the relationships we have, maintain and nurture those relationships.” She also talked about something that struck close to home with us at WOSU — complaints. We get a few about programming and technical issues now and then. Neelie put it this way — “a complaint is a gift — an opportunity to salvage a relationship — when people don’t complain, we become irrelevant.” She also had a tip for nonprofits about responding to thank you notes. Always do so! Don’t take appreciation for granted.

It was the best workshop since I’ve been going (I think that is #4 for me). Special thanks to Huntington Bank and Elfi DiBello for coordinating the workshop again this year. WOSU is proud to be involved!