By Ben Olson
One of the biggest challenges of a nonprofit is to find a way to become sustainable. It’s an issue Bob Over knows all about.
Over, the Director of the Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program for the University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene campus, has been working to help these necessary organizations grow for over 40 years. He has hand-tailored a program called the Nonprofit Retreat that aims to help nonprofit professionals network and grow their skill sets.
“We have two goals for the event,” said Over. “One of course is to work on hardcore and personal skills. The other goal is to get people together to collaborate and get to know each other. There are a lot of strengths when collaboration happens. People can pool resources and funding. They are able to secure more funding because funders like to see nonprofits collaborate.”
In its second year, the retreat focuses on a combination of keynote speakers and classes, followed by extra-curricular activities including yoga, boat rides, massage therapy and dance lessons.
“Last year was our first year,” said Over. “We did it down at City Beach … it was really successful. This year Cassandra at Forty-One South is giving us the restaurant the entire day, and the tent at the Lodge.”
There will be two keynote speakers for the day, Randy Russell and Terry Bacon, who both bring experiential knowledge to running a successful nonprofit. Classes offered cover everything from handling donations to legal issues to volunteerism.
The retreat is not just a chance to learn about how to improve nonprofits, but a chance to mingle with likeminded individuals during fun activities off campus.
“I’ve got a fleet of boats coming over that I recruited,” said Over. “We’re going to take people out for boat rides, to make sure everyone knows each other.”
For those who aren’t into a boat ride, there will be yoga instructors on hand, massage therapists, tile painting with Creations, or people can just hang out on the patio and watch the sunset.
“After that,” said Over. “We’ll gather and do a reception in the main area of Forty-One South. We’ve got live music and some great hors d’oeuvres.”
For Over, the retreat is a chance to showcase a passion he’s had for forty years. The program is hand-tailored by Over, who originally put it together for Fort Lewis College in Durango. When he first came on board at University of Idaho three years ago, the dean said he wanted to try the program.
“I gained pertinent knowledge and a confidence in myself and the ability to sustain my organization with efficiency and longevity as an important and necessary community nonprofit organization,” said Becky James, Program coordinator for Boundary County Youth and Domestic Violence Programs.
“This is a community affair,” said Over. “All kinds of people come together; partners and leaders. Everybody at the retreat volunteers their time for this. All the speakers, the yoga instructors, the boat people, nobody is charging anything.”
The retreat is sponsored in part by University of Idaho, Equinox, Northwest Community Foundation, Bonner County Human Rights Task Force, Forty-One South and the Lodge at Sandpoint.
“This is a one of a kind event,” said Over. “It’s the only one of its kind in Idaho.”
The Nonprofit Retreat takes place at 8 a.m. on Friday, September 18. The cost of the retreat is $115 per person, and groups of three or more from the same organization get a discounted rate of $90 each. For more information, call 208-667-2588 or visit uidaho.edu/cda/nonprofitretreat.