How to ask your boss for the funding to go to the #NonprofitSTRONG Summit

According to the NC Center for Nonprofit’s 2016 “Countdown to the Inevitable” report, nearly 60% of NC nonprofit CEOs plan to leave their positions in four years and 51% don’t feel like there is at least one other person on staff or board who would be a good candidate to fill their shoes.

How can nonprofits be better prepared for the baton handoff? How can those new to the field best prepare and position themselves to step-up? Organizations and funders investing resources and time now towards staff development can provide greater opportunities for individual growth in leadership and ease transition woes in the future.

Triangle Community Foundation is a proud sponsor of YNPN Triangle NC’s #NonprofitSTRONG Summit. The Summit provides a full day of unique trainings geared towards preparing our future leaders, a need that is timely and necessary to ensure the sector’s success. For a relatively low cost of $35 per ticket, participants will be exposed to tailored programming that will build individual skills and technical competencies. We hope more organizations will consider investing in their staff development in this way.

Libby Richards
Senior Community Programs Officer
Triangle Community Foundation


Hoping to get approval to attend our #NonprofitSTRONG Summit on April 28? Here are just a few tips that may help you get funding and support from your organization/supervisor:

  • Know the culture of your office and confirm the best method to submit your request for approval. Getting the green light to attend a conference can vary across organizations. It may just be a casual conversation with the boss, or a document that has to be submitted to HR staff. Make sure you are using the appropriate channels to get a YES!
    • It also might be helpful to review the employee manual or your job description for more information about professional development - including how much is in the budget, the amount of hours you have, etc.
  • Convey the tangible benefits you hope to gain from the experience - this could include a new skill set or a meaningful connection.
  • Provide as much information about the Summit as possible, including cost, location, date and a link with more info. Like this one:
  • Identify the breakout sessions and speakers you are the most enthusiastic about and explain how they will benefit you. And in turn, positively impact your ability to contribute to the organization.
    • BONUS Points: Give your supervisor an opportunity to pick a session or two that they would like for you to go to.
  • Cover your tracks and make sure the work gets done. Having a game plan for how to complete and manage job responsibilities while you are out is beneficial to you and the organization. Some examples include making a commitment to check your email periodically while out, completing tasks beforehand, and/or delegating work to coworkers that are willing and able to help.
  • Finally, share the wealth and knowledge! Make an agreement to share your experience and the information you gain with your colleagues. This can be done by live tweeting, taking notes or talking about your time at the Summit at the next staff meeting.

Professional development is essential for you and all of us who are young leaders in the nonprofit sector. I hope these tips will help you get a “yes” to join us for the Summit, and for other opportunities that can benefit your growth as a young nonprofit professional!

Nicholas Johnson
Communication and Program Manager
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce


As a more seasoned nonprofit professional, taking time out of an already over-scheduled work day to attend a conference can feel daunting. But, it’s these very opportunities that we must take advantage of in order to grow and nurture ourselves, and in turn, our organizations.

If you are unsure how to navigate either seeking permission or giving yourself the blessing to attend YNPN Triangle NC’s #NonprofitSTRONG Summit on April 28, here are three questions I encourage you to ask yourself:

  1. How am I going to clear the next professional hurdle? Whether you are years or months into your career, the question of “what’s next?” remains constant. But, it’s difficult for us to push pause and identify what the gaps in our skills or knowledge that are preventing us from taking that next leap. A conference like #NonprofitSTRONG provides an intentional space to marinate in that question with a host of resources, thought-leaders, and relationships to provide actionable next steps. We may not know what we need yet to clear that hurdle; being surrounded by others who are following similar journeys gives us the chance to observe and ask questions, often opening up unforeseen doors that provide us the right answers.
  2. How can I enrich my organization? Our annual #NonprofitSTRONG Summit offers a host of learnings that may be outside your core day-to-day responsibilities but could take your organization’s work to a whole new level. You can take advantage of this - whether it’s on building an organizational culture, maintaining a healthy database, or taking back the narrative on your issues - you can bring a fresh perspective to your colleagues. A conference isn’t only for you - it’s for the team and leaders who you work with and for - and it’s important to be open and transparent about this responsibility when approaching your boss to ask permission to attend the Summit.
  3. Why not? Too simple of a question? I beg to differ! Yes, there are dozens of workshops, webinars, and conferences to choose from in a given calendar year. But, for a mere $35, you can access high-quality content from Triangle-based professionals who walk the walk AND talk the talk in the nonprofit sector. The #NonprofitSTRONG Summit is a low-risk, high-reward investment of your time. You can expand your network; conduct free advertising for your organization; and secure marketable skills that will not only make you an asset at your organization but in the broader sector and community.

If you’re still feeling stuck, the fantastic folks at the Nonprofit Technology Network put together a justification kit for it’s annual Nonprofit Technology Conference. As we like to say: beg, borrow, and steal!

Katie Todd
Director of Digital Strategies
NC League of Conservation Voters