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11/Sep/2018

Moving. You either love it or hate it. In the nonprofit world, it can mean a ton of hassle, and lengthy disruptions. I knew someone who had moved her organizations three times in two years due to changing lease terms, and she never wanted to go through that again. A huge benefit to sharing space with other organizations is that there is someone to show you the way. The wi-fi and copier are already set up. Whether you own a large multi-tenant shared space or you are just renting out a corner of your office to a partner organization, here are a few things to think about.


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30/Apr/2018

We are reviewing proposals for Sharing Innovation, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what innovation means to us at The Nonprofit Centers Network.  The dictionary definition of the word “Innovate” is to “make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.” Sharing resources is an innovation in and of itself. For so long, we have been told that success looks like a nonprofit with a large staff, a building, and a strong back office. However, based on our recent research, many nonprofits don’t need that degree of capacity.  Efficiency and effectiveness is about having the right tools for the job when you need them.


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19/Feb/2018

The Rose Andom Center opened the summer of 2016, as the first Family Justice Center in the Rocky Mountain region, with a mission to improve the lives of domestic violence victims by facilitating better access to the services and staff of community organizations and government agencies in a single, safe location. The Rose Andom Center is named in honor of successful Denver entrepreneur and former McDonald’s franchise owner, Rose Andom.

The innovative model of the Rose Andom Center brings together 7 city and 13 community-based organizations in one building, representing the forward-thinking, collaborative approach to provide ‘best practice’ services to some of our most vulnerable citizens. The staff of partner organizations provide a wide array of services, including domestic violence advocacy and counseling, crisis intervention, civil legal support, services for children, law enforcement services, information regarding the criminal justice system, assistance with public benefits, housing resources, and referrals for job readiness and job search assistance.

What is one interesting fact about your space?

In 2017, the Rose Andom Center was honored to receive a Downtown Denver Partnership Award, given to businesses that have made significant contributions toward creating a unique, vibrant, and diverse Downtown environment, and have left a lasting, positive impact on Downtown Denver. Since opening, we have had over 3,300 victims and 900 children come into the Rose Andom Center to access multiple services from our partner agencies. The building underwent a comprehensive renovation to provide a warm, welcoming, safe environment for the clients and to promote collaborative work among the partners. A centralized “nest” area provides comfortable interview rooms for private conversations with clients, as well as an open great room and kitchen for their use, and a playroom for the children to enjoy while their parent meets with service providers. The playroom includes a custom wall-sized Light Bright Wall, enjoyed by all who visit the Rose Andom Center!

What are your favorite resources that you would recommend to others?

Working with the Nonprofit Centers Network, Denver Shared Spaces and Oz Architects helped ensure we could think through our goals in developing the best shared space possible, that would meet our mission and be of benefit to our clients!

Center Name: Rose Andom Center

Location: Denver, CO

Center Website: www.roseandomcenter.org

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05/Feb/2018

For most nonprofits, office space is the second largest expense, after personnel costs. Most of the time we make do with what we can get our hands on – working out of our living rooms or a donated church basement. Too often, we let our office space work against us instead of for us!

You may be fighting your office instead of fighting for your cause if in the past year, you have

  • Had to reschedule a meeting with a community member to deal with a flood in your program space
  • Wrapped up in blankets to stay warm since your furnace couldn’t keep up while typing up your latest appeal letter.
  • Spent time shoveling the walk instead of filing grant reports
  • Lost connection to the internet and your cloud-based file storage because of old wiring

I challenge you to keep track of how much time you spend fighting with your office the next week. I think you’ll be surprised. You can also take it a step further and multiply that by your hourly salary to figure out how much your space costs your organization each week. If time is money, your board may be interested to see how much your “free” or “cheap” office space really costs.

What should you be paying for office space anyway? (Here’s a clue: the answer isn’t $0.) For a quick estimate, do this math: multiply 250 sq. ft. per person times the per square foot lease rate for Class B office space. You can find the average per square foot by searching for real estate market reports in your region (typically made public by major real estate firms like CBRE or Cushman Wakefield). For example, since NCN has two staff in Denver, we should be paying $11,595 per year. (Depending on the local custom, you might be given the square footage cost by the month, so pay attention and adjust accordingly.) You’ll still need to budget for utilities, internet, cleaning, security, etc., and more.

Sharing space allows us to achieve several thousand dollars in cost savings every year – not to mention the time of managing the internet, cleaning the office, keeping the printer up and running, and more! Think you might be up for running a shared space? Check out Virtual Nonprofit Centers Boot Camp today!


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18/Dec/2017

I’ve had several conversations with new NCN members just starting the process to see if a nonprofit center is the right thing for their community. People talking this project for the first time are some of my favorites to work with – the energy, the inspiration, the passion. Inevitably, at some point excitement transitions to overwhelmed, as leaders struggle to balance their vision with the growing workload. That’s where we come in! Because how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! We’ve helped so many people break down their shared space project into manageable chunks, making their dream a reality.  Here are my top tips for managing this process: Write down your why: Whether it’s an official statement of purpose or just the top three reasons you want to see a shared space in your community, this is your guiding principle as you go through this project. Form follows function throughout this process.


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23/Oct/2017

An Evaluation! Those two little words strike fear into leaders’ hearts. I hear “It’s too expensive!” or “We don’t have time!”  or “No one ever fills out surveys anyway!”  Earlier this year, we set out to help shared space managers tackle this question with the support of Laura Sundstrom and Elena Harmon of Vantage Evaluation.  Through a combination of structured learning webinars, peer learning and hands on homework, we worked with approximately ten different shared spaces to see what methods we could test. While we are still crunching the quantitative and qualitative data, here are my preliminary take aways. Have a clear goal for your collaborative work. What are you trying to accomplish through shared space? Break it down as simply as possible and unpack common jargon-filled phrases. Trying to show the impact of collaboration? Make sure you know what that looks like in your community?


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16/Oct/2017

The Discovery Center & Pier are a shared campus to five water-based nonprofit organizations in northwest Michigan: • Great Lakes Children’s Museum • Maritime Heritage Alliance • Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay • Inland Seas Education Association • Traverse Area Community Sailing The Traverse Tall Ship Company operates from the campus as an affiliate business partner. The organizations, while co-located on the 15-acre campus, largely operate from their own buildings. Obviously, having access to a deepwater port and more than 11,000 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline make this facility different and uniquely suited for organizations with boats and/or a connection to water. (Only Great Lakes Children’s Museum does not operate a boat.) The owner is a division of the local Rotary Club. It is mainly managed by the member organizations through a separate nonprofit. A plan is being developed for a new nonprofit center that would house most of the partners’ operations under one roof.


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18/Sep/2017

Langs began as a community development project close to 40 years ago. Today, the organization provides a range of social, recreational and health services for all ages. The Community Hub@ 1145 was made possible with federal and municipal funding; a successful capital fundraising campaign and bank financing. The 58,000 square foot facility was designed by Laird Robertson and built by Melloul-Blamey Construction in 2011. The organization is co-located with the William E. Pautler Seniors Centre which operates a frail elderly day program and health promotion programs for seniors. Langs is co-located with 20 community partners and is expanding the facility to include space for additional partners. Some current onsite partners include:


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05/Sep/2017

Like so many Americans, my heart has been with those in Texas after Hurricane Harvey made landfall over a week ago. Our coasts have seen hurricanes, but not like that. From my desk in the mountains, I’ve made donations and spread the word. A few of our NCN members closer to Houston have organized teams to go help with local efforts.  I can’t imagine the damage that our shared space colleagues down there have sustained. Whether it’s a hurricane in Texas, fires in Alberta, tornados in the Midwest or floods on the east coast, disasters can strike at any time. For those of us who have done all we can, events like Harvey serve as a call to action – are we ready for when disaster strikes? Are our buildings and communities ready?  Here are a few tips to make sure you’re as prepared as you can be:


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18/Aug/2017

Federated Charities was founded in 1911 and since the mid-1940s has offered professional, leasable space in an historic, 23,000SF building in the heart of downtown Frederick. We offer traditional 12-month and multi-year leases to 501c3 organizations and free space for emerging and small organizations in our co-work incubator. We also offer professional development, fiscal sponsorship and consultation for organizations at all stages of their growth. What is your favorite feature in your space? Our building is instantly recognizable because of the large iron statue of a dog that stands guard at our entrance and has done so since 1858 when the building was a private home.


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