Conference Classes

This year we are offering five specialized conference tracks. Follow the track or move easily between topics throughout the day.

Blue TrackStrengthening Your Nonprofit—Boost your nonprofit’s capacity and gain tools to make your organization even healthier.

Red TrackIncreasing Capacity With Volunteers—Learn how to attract, manage and create a safe environment for fabulous volunteers.

Orange TrackGrowing Your Emergency Food Program—Innovative solutions for food sourcing, connecting with clients and local farms.

Green TrackBuilding The Future Through Fundraising—Experts share tips on writing grants, engaging your board and creating programs that bring in the food and financial support you need.

Yellow TrackTake Action—Learn how to share your message and be an authority on hunger, even in a disaster.


2:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Green TrackThe 90-Minute Grant Proposal: Speed-Thinking Your Way to a Clear, Compelling—and Fundable!—Project Concept
Maryn Boess, Founder of GrantsUSA LLC
Do you have a great grant idea you'd like to create, but not sure how to start? Join us as we show you how to develop and test a fundable project concept in about an hour and a half. Dozens of organizations like yours have won grants of up to $10,000 and more with a one-page, fill-in-the-blanks form. It’s called the Project Profile/Planning Worksheet—and you’ll discover how to put its power to work on behalf of your organization, right away. Come with your own good idea! You'll leave with a head start on a clear, compelling project proposal—one that grantmakers can fund. *Space is limited to 50 people.

Orange TrackShopping System Distribution: Tour The Maple Valley Food Bank’s New Client Choice Model
Lila Henderson, Executive Director of Maple Valley Food Bank
Maple Valley Food Bank just changed over to a new and improved shopping system that looks like a grocery store. Join us for a tour of the Maple Valley Food Bank and an overview of the process from changing from a client choice model to a shopping model. Lila will walk you through the initial planning phases with the board and volunteers and how they have tweaked the model over time to make it a success. This is chance to not only learn the challenges and successes of the model but to ask questions and dive deeper into the details of client distribution, training volunteers, getting clients used to the system and learn how to the change has impacted the types of food that the food bank purchases and distributes. We hope you can join this fun, informative and lively tour!

Orange TrackBehind The Scenes: Tour FareStart’s Kitchen and Innovative Program
FareStart is a culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. Since 1992, FareStart has provided opportunities for nearly 7,000 people to transform their lives, while also serving over 6 million meals to disadvantaged men, women, and children. Learn about the program, tour the kitchen and hear some food safety tips. FareStart also runs a restaurant with a Guest Chef Night with proceeds going directly back into the program to support the FareStart job training and
placement programs. Since 1994, Guest Chef Night has raised more than $4.5 million. *Space is limited to 20.


9:30 - 11:00 p.m.

Blue TrackEffective Succession Planning – Ensuring Leadership Continuity
Yvonne Freitas McGookin, 501 Commons and Leon Brauner, Ocean Shores Food Bank
Succession planning, particularly for volunteer-driven organizations, is essential to ensuring not only the future of your organization, but the health of the communities you serve. This type of planning guarantees that the services your communities depend upon will not be disrupted by the unexpected absence or departure of key volunteers. In this interactive session, you will become familiar with the basic elements of effective succession planning; gain some practical implementation strategies and tools; share ideas with your colleagues; and begin the process of developing a succession plan for your program.

Red TrackVolunteer Management 101: Building Strong Volunteer Programs as Part of a Community Engagement Strategy
Elizabeth Jennings, Community Engagement Manager for Community Action of Skagit County
Come learn about how volunteer programs be redesigned to build capacity for your entire community engagement strategy, including leadership development, philanthropy and advocacy. You will leave with answers to the following questions: what are the key
elements of a robust volunteer management program, and how can we empower volunteers, customers and donors to help us build it? What are local and regional resources throughout the state to help food programs with volunteer management training, support, volunteer recruitment and more? How can your food program help get more resources into Washington State to fund volunteerism and build volunteer management capacity? Learn what Volunteer Centers of Washington, Washington Nonprofits and other associations are doing to help you better mobilize volunteers.

Orange TrackCommunity-Driven Food Sourcing
Jack Koran, Community Outreach Meal Coordinator at YouthCare’s James W. Ray Orion Center; Jerry Jones, Food Services Manager at Tri-City Union Gospel Mission; Rita Ordóñez, Community Food Access Manager for Community Action of Skagit County
Creative food sourcing can be enhanced by making new community connections. Businesses, schools, organizations and individuals focused on food and agriculture can be important allies when looking for innovative ways to source food. This panel will shed light on creative connections and inspiring innovations that each are doing to strengthen their allies, their communities and their programs. This talk will also serve as an igniter for your ideas by spending time talking in small groups about what creative endeavors you can be doing at your program.

Green TrackCrafting A Can’t-Miss Issue Statement: It’s Not About the Post-Hole Digger
Maryn Boess, Founder of GrantsUSA LLC
No part of our organizational messaging is more important than how we answer the question: What specific issue or opportunity in the community does our organization address? Articulating the most compelling case possible for why our work is significant is key to connecting with resources to support that work. In this lively hands-on session, you’ll learn how to get straight to the “heart” of the matter and craft an issue message that can’t miss.

Yellow TrackPreparing For The Future—Make a Plan For Your Agency and You
Tracy Connelly, Community Preparedness Planner, Seattle Office of Emergency Management
Do you have an emergency preparedness plan for your agency? In an emergency, we know that your organization is one of the first places people will turn to for help. This session will focus on creating an agency plan that meets the needs of the community with realistic expectations. A template will be provided and you are encouraged to fill in the blanks provided and/or highlight what you think your agency should focus on. You will not only leave with an official agency preparedness plan, but the energy to get others in your organization on board.


11:10 a.m - 12:10 p.m.

Blue TrackPlan Building—Why Is It Called Strategic Planning?
Nancy Bacon, Learning Manager for Washington Nonprofits
Tony Airhart, Executive Director of Coastal Harvest

Plan Building takes nonprofits on a journey from why they were created to what they want to be in the future, providing tools that help organizations articulate the internal structures and external resources and partners they need to deliver on their mission. Over the course of the workshop, participants will understand how effective planning happens, learn where “strategic” enters the planning process, and leave with a planning map and strategic planning workbook. You will hear about Coastal Harvest's experience building a plan that shifted its strategy and strengthened its long term sustainability.

Red TrackPolicies and Procedures for Volunteers—What You Need to Know
Kara Craig Staff Attorney for Washington Employers, Inc.
Many of you have wondered what policies and procedures you need to have in place when dealing with volunteers. Join Attorney Kara Craig for an overview of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and what distinguishes an employee from a volunteer. You will learn about Washington law’s governing non-profit volunteers and best practices for avoiding liability under federal and state law. There will be time for questions and answers!

Orange TrackCooking Together—Engaging Clients Through Nutrition
Kristen Svoboda from Jewish Family Services Food Bank
Rebecca Finkel, Registered Dietitian at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic
At Jewish Family Services food bank in Seattle, clients learn how to prepare nutritious and delicious meals in under 30 minutes, usually focused on the foods that available in a food bank. Food bank clients are able to ask a nutritionist questions and learn strategies to manage health concerns like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Participants also receive recipes, information and fresh produce to take home. Join us and learn how to set up a similar program at your organization, see a cooking demonstration first hand and ask the nutritionist questions!

Green TrackCreative Programs That Bring Results
Mary Nadar, Executive Director of North Kitsap Fishline
People like to give when they can connect to the cause—a general "ask" is no longer as effective as it once was. By building specific programs that market and brand your work with a focus on impact, donations will increase and you will build connections. Learn how to identify possible programs for your non-profit and create marketing programs that engage donors in a whole new way.

Yellow TrackSocial Media 401: Social Storytelling
Anthony Gomes, Communications Manager, Northwest Harvest
You have (at least one) social media account. You know the password. You know how to post updates, but you wonder if you’re doing enough to engage your audience. This is the class for you. We’ll review concepts of basic storytelling and challenge you to adapt those concepts to your brand and audience. Fairy tales, the silver screen and social media all require strong story telling techniques. Come learn to leverage these traits into a strong online engagement.


1:50 - 2:50 p.m.

Blue TrackThe Language of Impact—Using Language to Make a Difference
Erica Mills from Claxon Marketing
Join our keynote speaker for an even more in-depth conversation about how you can increase your impact through language. You will learn more concepts and tools to talk about your organization in a manner that is compelling and innovative. You will learn from your peers and have time to ask questions!

Red TrackVolunteer Management 201: Designing Volunteer Job Descriptions that Do Your Recruitment for You
Elizabeth Jennings, Community Engagement Manager for Community Action of Skagit County
Come learn about what motivates community members to volunteer and how volunteer needs and interests are different now than 10 years ago. Join us to talk about how we can craft volunteer job descriptions to appeal to diverse volunteers and learn about the key elements of compelling volunteer recruitment messages. How can we reframe the same volunteer job description to recruit volunteers for one-time, ongoing, internship, group, and volunteer leader positions? What resources exist locally and statewide to recruit capable, dedicated volunteers? Bring one or more of your current volunteer job descriptions to re-work during the workshop (or you can use one provided by the trainer).

Orange TrackGrowing Connections
Mike Cohen, Executive Director of The Bellingham Food Bank
Robert Coit, Executive Director of the Thurston County Food Bank, Canyon Little, EFN, Mother Farm
Gael Treesiwen, Providence NEW Hunger Coalition

Ever thought of starting a farm to benefit your food bank? Have you wanted to contact your local farmers for donations? Learn from the best, learn the success and mistakes of your peers as they implemented similar programs for their food bank. Attending this class will give you tools and confidence to start new agriculture programs in your area.

Green TrackPetting the Whale: How To Get Your Boards More Engaged In Fundraising
James Plourde, Senior Consultant at Collins Group
You can see it in their eyes whenever the topic is brought up. Some board members would volunteer to do anything but help you raise funds to move your mission forward. Collins Group senior consultant James Plourde, CFRE, will share his considerable experience working with volunteer boards both as a development officer and trusted adviser to myriad non-profits in the Northwest. Come hear his practical advice for turning your board into an asset instead of a liability in the fundraising arena.

Yellow TrackAdvocacy 101
Claire Lane, Claire Lane Consulting and Christina Wong, Public Policy Manager at Northwest Harvest
This session will help you gain the very most basic knowledge and skills needed to effectively communicate your ideas and concerns to legislators in order to influence decisions which impact the well-being of your clients. This will teach you about the legislative process, the best ways to get face time with your legislator, and how to communicate with them effectively. We hope that you will leave this session much more comfortable with the process, and excited to join us next year for Hunger Action Day to test your new skills!

Class Sessions

Maps and Directions

Session Materials
Handouts and Resources