Highlights From The Annual Affiliate Conference 2012: June 8-10, 2012

Highlights From The Annual Affiliate Conference 2012
Held from Friday, June 8 to Sunday, June 10


Over the June 8-10 weekend, 18 (of 22) national ING affiliates convened in Silicon Valley for three days of training, networking, and capacity building as grassroots non-profits. The heads of each bureau attended from Illinois, New Jersey, Georgia, Arizona, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Colorado, Northern and Southern California, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Massachusetts.

ING affiliates are independently incorporated non-profit organizations across the United States that undertake ING’s work of countering prejudice and discrimination against American Muslims by teaching about their traditions and contributions in the context of America’s history and cultural diversity in their regions. While each bureau implements this work through the lens of its particular local environment, all the bureaus utilize the same content, presentations, and programs that have been developed by ING for both education and interfaith engagement. Sample American Muslim topics; Sample interfaith panel topics.

Over the three days, affiliate directors participated in lectures and roundtable discussions around three key themes that centered on developing their capacity as non-profits and as non-profit leaders. The three primary themes were Nonprofit Governance, Developing a Sustainable Financial Model, and Programmatic Development and Sustainability. The participants gained access to resources, experts, and knowledge that they will take back to their regions to use to further develop their affiliate bureaus.

More Pictures Here: www.ing.org/affiliateconference2012

Program & Speakers:
There were a total of ten training sessions over the three days and two informal sessions, including a keynote address by Imam Aladdin El-Bakri over Friday night dinner and a show and tell by a number of affiliates over lunch.

Speakers Included:
Imam Aladdin El-Bakri, West Valley Muslim Association
Javed Patel
, CEO, Gridlron Systems; Board Co-Chair, Islamic Networks Group
Sabahat Rafiq
,Investment Banker; Board of Trustees, Islamic Networks Group
Maha Elgenaidi
, Executive Director, Islamic Networks Group
Dr. Rafik Beekun
, Professor of Management and Strategy, University of Nevada
Molly Polidoroff
, Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Non Profits
Mahvash Hassan, Consultant for
One Nation Bay Area
Diane Stair
, Business Strategy Consultant
Jason Van Boom
, Grant Writing Consultant, Islamic Networks Group (ING)
Soumaya Khalifa
, Adjunct Faculty, Emory University, and Director of Islamic Speakers Bureau in Atlanta
Zafar Siddiqui
, former President, Islamic Resource Group
Ameena Jandali
, Content Director, Islamic Networks Group (ING)
Henry Millstein
, Programs Coordinator, Islamic Networks Group (ING)


Session Highlights:

1.    Principles of Leadership from an Islamic Perspective
Dr. Rafiq Beekun, Professor of Management and Strategy, University of Nevada
•    Defining leadership
•    Characteristics of effective leaders in Islam
•    Best-practice model of effective leadership

Key takeaways: There need to be checks and balances within a non-profit because the head of the organization must serve the goals of the organization as a whole. In order to do so, a Muslim leader should integrate the principles of justice and equality, trust, righteous behavior, keeping promises, and striving towards self-improvement.

2.    Elements of Effective Leadership: Board and Management
Molly Polidoroff, Executive Director, Center for Excellence in Nonprofits (CEN)
•    Non-profit leadership challenges
•    Characteristics of nonprofit boards
•    National non-profit trends

Key takeways: Non-profits have certain obstacles to consider in striving for sustainability and success of their missions. These include high turnover rates of executive directors, boards unequipped to support new leaders, and financial instability. There are, therefore, eight key factors to consider in non-profit leadership development: finance and business savvy, continuous learning, shared leadership, connections for policy advocacy, multicultural and cultural competency, ambiguity of work-life boundaries, the role of boards in adding value, and the role of constituents or members as thought partners.

3.    Mechanisms of Governance: Ensuring Programmatic Alignment with Mission
•    Identify and include stakeholders in the planning process
•    Assess your program: SWOT
•    Determining impact: Surveying
•    Analyzing the data

Key takeaways: Each Islamic Speakers Bureau must keep track of the key indicators for success, primarily through evaluations and surveying. ING utilizes a rigorous, multi-tiered surveying process to determine the impact of its programs in changing perceptions and attitudes about Islam and Muslims.

4.    Grant Writing: Local Community Foundations
Jason Van Boom, Director, Nicholas of Cusa Institute and former Fund Development Manager, ING
•    How to approach community foundations
•    Four-step process
•    Letters of inquiry and full proposals

Key takeaways: An understanding of the different kinds of grant makers, particularly community foundations, is essential to successful fundraising. Affiliates received specific information on how to approach community foundations, including how to write letters of intent and full grant proposals and how to leverage the specific areas of strength for ING affiliates.

5.    Donor Development
Diane Stair, Business Development Consultant
•    Understanding what your donors value
•    Matrix mapping your impact and value
•    Communicating your value to donors: Build your case for support

Key takeaways: ‘Value driven’ donor development is key to developing relations with current and prospective donors. This session defined how to understand what donors value and reviewed in detail how to identify target donors, determine donor areas of priority, and prove value to a potential donor by assessing programs and activities.

6.    Volunteer Development: Recruitment & Management
Zafar Siddiqui, Director of Interfaith and Civic Relations, Islamic Resource Group (ING Affiliate), and Henry Millstein, Programs Coordinator, ING
•    What volunteer skill set do we need?
•    What other criteria do we look for in recruiting volunteers?
•    What can non-speaker volunteers do?
•    Volunteer engagement

Key takeaways: People have various reasons for volunteering that must be leveraged to engage more volunteers with the right skill s
ets. Volunteers not appropriate for or not interested in public speaking can undertake numerous key functions.

7.    Engaging with Community Partners
Soumaya Khalifa, Adjunct Faculty, Emory University, and Director of Islamic Speakers Bureau, Atlanta (ING Affiliate)
•    Rules of engagement
•    Benefits of partnership
•    Seven steps to forming strategic partnerships
•    Best practices

Key takeaways: Community partnerships offer many benefits for non-profits, including opportunities for new funding and sharing resources. This session reviewed the seven key steps to forming new alliances, including how to approach partners. Some of the best practices for engagement presented by the group include active listening, dedication, sincerity, professionalism, treating everyone as equals, building and establishing trust, following through on commitment, and showing interest in the partner organizations’ work.

8.    Developing a Communications Strategy
Diane Stair, Business Strategy Consultant
•    What is a communications strategy?
•    Selecting the right communications media for your message
•    Measuring impact and effectiveness of your communications
•    Tools and resources available to you

Key takeaways: A communications strategy can help a non-profit achieve its mission-based objectives. Key principles of such a strategy include learning and appealing to your audience’s core concerns, selecting the communications media that best suit your audience, defining your message, and measuring well to guide you toward your objectives.