Category Archives: Speaking Engagements

Event Spotlight: 2017 Indiana Coalition Summit

In this new blog series on community coalitions, we start by highlighting the recent Indiana Coalition Summit. Be on the lookout for future blog posts related to community coalitions!

In 2016, Transform Consulting Group managed the planning for the first annual Indiana Summit for Economic Development via Early Learning Coalitions (aka the Indiana Coalition Summit), hosted at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie, in partnership with Muncie BY5, Early Learning Indiana, and Indiana Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC). This was the first statewide event dedicated to bringing together early learning, business, education, civic, and other community leaders to understand the business case for investment in early childhood. As well, the Indiana Coalition Summit delivered ways to develop and sustain an early learning coalition in one’s community, whether rural, suburban or urban. That gathering attracted over 500 attendees across all sectors and 2017 Summit Attendee Infographic (1)affirmed the need for early learning coalitions in the state.  

Continuing with that momentum, Transform Consulting Group led the planning and execution of the second annual Indiana Summit for Economic Development via Early Learning Coalitions, this time held on June 5, 2017 at the Monroe County Convention Center in Bloomington. The Summit attracted close to 400 attendees, many of them connecting to the Summit for the first time. This year, Transform Consulting Group and the planning team, consisting of representatives from Monroe Smart Start, Muncie BY5, ELAC, and Early Learning Indiana, honed in on connecting the “soft skills” (or executive functioning skills) that employers desire in today’s workforce with investing in early learning.

Featured Speakers

The morning of the Indiana Coalition Summit focused on building awareness around the need for early learning support, especially for the non-early-learning professionals in attendance. Erin Ramsey with Mind in the Making, The Bezos Family Foundation kicked off the day with a presentation outlining how investing in early learning shapes the workforce, linking executive functioning skills in children to skills desired by employees (i.e. reflecting, analyzing, and evaluating). This was followed by a short presentation about the current landscape for economic development and early learning from the State’s perspective by Kevin Bain, CEO and Executive Director of the Welborn Baptist Foundation in Evansville and the Chairman of ELAC.

In his presentation, Bain highlighted information shared in the most recent ELAC Annual Report including the online county profiles (now available through the ELAC website) about where Indiana currently is related to key early learning measures, and what Indiana should do to improve.

IMG_6207The lunch presentations kicked off with Jeffery Connor-Naylor from ReadyNation debuting a recent Indiana brief outlining how developing social-emotional skills in early childhood positively impacts future workforce success. Particularly,  the necessity of employees being capable of developing and sustaining relationships. The keynote presentation was given by Dr. Tim Bartik from the W.E. Upjohn Institute in which he made the economic case for investing in early learning. He shared data such as per dollar invested, early childhood programs increase the present value of state per capita earnings by $5.00 – $9.00. Dr. Bartik also shared that the costs for investing in early learning are modest, giving the example of universal full-day pre-K for 4-year-olds costs about 4% of what we pay for K-12.

Community Coalition Workshop Sessions

The afternoon breakout sessions focused on supporting attendees who are developing community early learning coalitions. These sessions were framed around the forthcoming Community Coalition Building Toolkit being developed by the ELAC Provider Participation and Advancement workgroup.

Transform Consulting Group’s President, Amanda Lopez, led the session “Creating a Collective Vision/Plan”, utilizing her experience developing strategic plans and working with community coalitions. In her presentation, Lopez reviewed the four steps of strategic planning (detailed in this previous blog): 1) Collaborate; 2) Assess; 3) Facilitate Consensus; and 4) Create the Plan.

The Indiana Summit for Economic Development via Early Learning Coalitions is a shining example of an event that brings together stakeholders from different sectors for a common goal: to have thriving communities by investing in early learning. It laid the groundwork for how to have different, and even unusual, partners work together while also giving attendees the chance to network and receive training on developing their community coalition.

If your organization is interested in connecting with or starting a community coalition with a focus on early learning, check out the resources available from the Indiana Coalition Summit on the Indiana Summit Resource Page or contact us at Transform Consulting Group to get connected!

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Indiana Nonprofit Summit


IN Nonprofit Summit

The Indiana Nonprofit Summit (formerly the Governor’s Conference on Service and Nonprofit Capacity Building) will be held on October 1 – 2 at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Campus Center. The Summit is a gathering of nonprofit and community service members in the State of Indiana.

The Indiana Nonprofit Summit aims for a real-world approach for strategy among the nonprofit sector. This is the same practical “what works” approach that is embraced by Transform Consulting Group. This environment is designed to help implement new ideas and connect programs. Discussions will include the following topics:

  • Funding/Finance
  • Marketing/Communications
  • Collaboration
  • Volunteerism
  • Strategic Planning
  • Governance
  • Open Track
  • Social service agencies
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Neighborhood and community-based organizations
  • Libraries
  • Students and professionals entering the nonprofit field
  • Government agencies that work with nonprofits
  • Nonprofit consultants

In their own words, the Indiana Nonprofit Summit is “about helping organizations build capacity to meet human needs.” The Summit is an opportunity to share ideas and have meaningful dialogue with others who have similar goals. The event registration is open now.

Transform Consulting Group’s very own Amanda Lopez will be presenting Thursday (10/2) on Finding Grant Opportunities to Improve and Diversify Funding for Organizations. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend her workshop and all of the other great speakers at the Indiana Nonprofit Summit. Register today!



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Nonprofit Storytelling: Preparing Compelling and Engaging Presentations


PresentationsIn the first of this blog series on nonprofit storytelling, Transform Consulting Group discussed why organizations should visualize their data and how those visualizations can be used to tell a compelling story.  In this second part in the storytelling series, we’ll talk about how storytelling should be done. 

At Transform Consulting Group, we encourage nonprofits to tell their stories in a compelling way. If donors and other stakeholders don’t feel a connection to an organization or don’t understand how the organization is making an impact in the community, they aren’t going to open their wallets to invest in the organization.

But how many of us have sat through a boring presentation of information?  Staff’s ability to deliver a compelling and engaging presentation is crucial to a nonprofit’s success.  Community stakeholders, existing and potential funders, volunteers and board members want to know what you’re doing to fulfill your organization’s mission.

The eBook Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes, by Andy Goodman and Cause Communications, states that while stories are a terrific way to bring large issues down to ground level where people can get their minds (and hearts) around them, organizations must still back the story up with numbers that prove their case and research that shows how they are following best practices.  

The book also discussed how their research indicated a consensus around three characteristics that make an engaging presentation: 

        1. Interaction
        2. Clarity
        3. Enthusiasm 

Four other relevant qualities include: humor, use of stories, relevance, and well-produced visuals.  At Transform Consulting Group, we enjoy translating research and data into a compelling and engaging presentation for staff and attendees at conferences. If told a compelling story, people can become passionate champions for your organization.

Do you have a capacity gap in your staff or Board’s ability to be champions for your organization and share your compelling story in the community?  Contact Transform Consulting Group today and we’ll help you tell your story! You can also follow Transform Consulting Group on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn for the latest nonprofit industry news and information.



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