Several local nonprofit groups gathered this week at a local business to hone their skills in marketing.

Several local nonprofit groups gathered this week at a local business to hone their skills in marketing.

The Wednesday morning business management workshop was a sequel to another training session many groups already attended this year.

The gathering, held in the training facility at Georg Fischer Central Plastics, focused not only on how nonprofits can effectively market their organizations, but also how to consistently improve communication and interaction within the communities they serve.

The Avedis Foundation Program Officer Audrey Seeliger said it's been an honor to partner with the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits and its staff to bring training to Pottawatomie County for local nonprofit organizations.

“Providing training in Pottawatomie County is a benefit — especially to some of the smaller local organizations that might not have the freedom go elsewhere,” she said.

Oklahoma Center For Nonprofits (OKCNP) Director of Communications Josh Lunsford such events are incredibly helpful for organizations not only to gain professional development experience, but also to be in the room with experts in the field.

“OKCNP offers top-of-the-line training with best practices in the field taught by people who have been working in nonprofits for years,” he said. “It also gives them a place to network with other nonprofit leaders.”

He said OKCNP is grateful for the support of and the partnership with Avedis.

“They are such an integral part of the area and our work there,” he said.

“We, as nonprofits, often get stuck in a this-is-how-we’ve-always-done-it mode,” Lunsford said. “Attending classes is so important to our work in the sector because it makes us consider if we are doing it right — and if not, exact steps that we can take to improve.”

The nonprofit organizations can use the information immediately to improve their practices, he said, but hopefully it also will give them information to plan longterm in their practices.

As expected, one of the biggest challenges for nonprofits is providing vast and vital services on tiny budgets.

“All nonprofits have increasing needs for funding because of the increasing needs for services in our communities,” he said. “Avedis has seen this and responded in an unbelievably generous way; they know the importance of the work these nonprofits are doing in the community and want to be sure they are doing it to the best of their ability.”

Neighboring 101 CEO Steve Palmer said most nonprofits are looking for good quality trainings like this, but often do not have the financial means to attend.

“Avedis makes that possible,” he said.

Palmer said when he is educated and aware of marketing techniques and strategies it only enhances his marketing opportunities and involvement.

“It increases my intentionality concerning marketing and putting my name and our services out there,” he said.

Many times it's difficult to be involved in marketing because it seems so complicated, he said.

“This type of training helps bring clarity to the marketing mystique and therefore I am more open to increasing our presence in the community through marketing.”

He said the events are helpful in several ways.

The training brings nonprofit groups together to continue to collaborate together in their work, he said; it educates them as to how to be more effective in marketing strategies and allows them to be present at one of our local businesses, he said.

The immediate benefits have been noted by Palmer.

“Social Media use has definitely increased,” he added. So have his connections with others in the community.

“Volunteers increase as a result of this training,” he said, “and it causes our board of directors to get more involved in the process.”

Senior Center Director Kate Joyce said she absolutely loves the trainings through OKCNP and can’t believe the center's good fortune because of Avedis' sponsorship.

United Way of Pottawatomie County Lindsay Dyer said

typically trainings like these are very expensive, and most non-profits do not have a budget for that. 

She said having the Avedis foundation provide them is invaluable. 

“The workshops not only provide training, but they also provide another opportunity for local nonprofits to collaborate and continue to build relationships,” she said. “Most of our nonprofits have a very small staff, and most of us wear multiple hats, which typically means learning new skills.” 

Community Renewal Communications Coordinator Maile Hopkins said she always learns something new and sees the trainings as valuable and worth the time.

“The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits always does an amazing job at providing concrete, real-world tips and tricks about how to run the best possible organization,” Hopkins said. “I've utilized so many of the resources they provide to write policies, make grant applications stand out and garner success, and help grow our social media platforms.”

She said The Avedis Foundation has done something truly special by helping unite nonprofits.

“Because of these trainings, we are able to get to know each other, work together and explore partnerships,” she said. “The culture of the nonprofit community in our town has changed significantly over the past few years and I believe it is mostly because of Avedis' efforts through these courses and other offerings of support that have helped nonprofits work together.”