Within its Healthy Communities focus area, The Rapides Foundation addresses the importance of the social environment to the health status of a community through its Community Development Initiative. Community Development Works (CDW), a program of The Rapides Foundation, carries out the goals of the initiative by providing civic and leadership opportunities for volunteers and nonprofit organizations as they seek to strengthen their own communities.
“CDW addresses the social environment by providing resources and opportunities designed to strengthen local nonprofits,” said Joe Rosier, President and CEO of The Rapides Foundation. “Our goal is to give people and nonprofits the resources they need to build a healthier community.”
Among its many programs, CDW offers free, skill-building trainings on a wide variety of topics for people interested in improving their communities. Spring trainings begin in March.
“Each year we offer training calendars in the spring and the fall that include 15 to 20 workshops and webinars that focus on nonprofit management topics,” said Akeshia Singleton, a program officer at the Foundation with responsibility for CDW’s programs . “The workshops are for nonprofit staff and volunteers, for people in the community who are looking to create nonprofits that are going to address meaningful causes, and for people who are trying to create a community project that is addressing a need in their community.”
Spring training offerings are presented within topic areas: Nonprofit Start-ups, Grant Writing, Human Resources, and Fund Development. A Financial Management series is also presented in partnership with Nonprofit Finance Fund®, a leading community development financial institution.
“This spring, we are going to hone in on nonprofit staff development by offering a Human Resource series that focuses on a supervisor’s ability to select their employees and set up effective motivation programs using rewards to retain good staff within organizations,” Singleton said.
The Grant Writing Series includes basic and advanced grant writing trainings. This year CDW is adding a class called “After the Grants” which will focus on an individual’s ability to monitor and report progress for the grant to their funders. “That’s going to add a new training topic for people interested in making their grant writing skills better.”
The Fund Development Series will help individuals understand what fundraising is all about, how to create an effective fund development plan and how to implement that plan. “It will be targeted to anyone within the organization, so it could be board members, staff or volunteers.”
The Nonprofit Start-up Series is for people who are interested in starting a nonprofit organization. “You don’t have to be serving in a nonprofit organization,” Singleton said. “You may be a community volunteer, you may volunteer at your church or your child’s school and you may have an idea to address an issue in your community. We have training that can help you put those ideas into action.”
Because it’s so critical for nonprofits to be able to manage the financial resources they receive for their organization, CDW is partnering with the Nonprofit Finance Fund®, a leading community development financial institution, to offer the Financial Management Series. These trainings will focus on how to manage the finances in your nonprofit and how to do business planning within your nonprofit organization.
Participants are not required to attend all of the workshops in a series. In fact, individuals are able to customize their learning by choosing the workshops that interest them.
“It really is catered to you. You can come in and create your own development plan by picking the topics that will best help you do well in your work, or you can follow the series we’re recommending and take part in each of those topics and it will help build your skills in a specific area.” Singleton said. “For example, if your goal is to be better at fund development, you can take all the trainings in the series or you can choose an individual workshop if you want to build a particular skill, such as creating a fundraising plan.”
Workshops take place at The Rapides Foundation Building, 1101 Fourth St., Alexandria. CDW also offers webinars for online training.
“CDW has tried to be responsive to the training needs of our community. We know many people are taking their training into their own hands and trying to customize their own learning experience through online resources, so we decided to add webinars to our training format so people can do just that,” Singleton said.
Webinars are one hour long and can be accessed from most devices using the GoToWebinar app. Participants can engage with the trainer, just as they can with a workshop. “You can ask questions, you can even click on links and go to the resources right there during the training. In addition, we record the webinars so people can view it at their own leisure time. If you register for the webinar, you can see the recording at a later date and even share it with other members of your organization,” Singleton said.
For more information or a complete listing of all spring training offerings, call Community Development Works at 318-443-7880, toll-free at 800-803-8075, or visit www.communitydevelopmentworks.org.