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09/Sep/2019

Every now and then, we like to give folks a peek behind the curtain on what’s going on in the membership world. Afterall, we really don’t want NCN to be the best kept secret. So, what are people talking about? What information is being shared? Would you benefit from this community? The answers are “a lot” and “yes.”


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03/Jun/2019

It’s been a long winter in Denver…and yes, I know it’s June! But within my son’s last 2 weeks of school, it snowed at least 3 inches, and we received an epic middle of the night hail storm. My plants were already struggling to grow even before they were pummeled. But finally, the sun is peaking out, and it’s beginning to warm up. New growth is around the corner, and I can taste sandal weather. It seems nonprofits and local leaders are coming out of hibernation as well lately. NCN has seen quite the uptick of people inquiring about our services, joining our network, considering building spaces or wanting to learn more about shared services. What gives? Here is some of what we’ve been hearing lately:


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29/Apr/2019

Last week we gathered for another Ask-NCN Live member-only call to discuss evaluation.* Despite this being a requested topic, there was a tangible fear that kept people from submitting their questions on the registration form. But this is not new to NCN, and we don’t blame people! We purposely sought out an evaluation expert for NCN’s Evaluation Project 2 years ago and brought the same organization – Laura Sundstrom of Vantage Evaluation - in for our call. (These have always been member-only calls, but we knew this call would need some outside support!) We get it – who’s got the expertise, the time to execute, the human power to get it done and what do you do with the data once you’ve got it? Can we just stick to operating spaces and improving collaboration? Yes, you can. But it’s all connected. Evaluation is not just for reviewing what’s working or not working. It informs your next steps – your offerings to your tenants and your programming for future collaboration. So, I’m sorry to report that we should be doing this more. But, where do you start? Here are a few tips around what to focus on, how to do it, and how to advocate to your community and funders the importance of evaluation. What to focus on?


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15/Feb/2019

I may have lost some of you already with this title. Thanks to free online tools, it’s extremely easy to make and distribute surveys, which also means many surveys land in our own laps. We know many surveys out there gather important information. I mean, without surveys, we might not know that, “Individuals age 75 and over averaged 51 minutes of [leisurely] reading per day whereas individuals ages 15 to 44 read for an average of 10 minutes or less per day.”1 Which means, I better wrap this up quickly. But what about this statistic from 2013? “Nearly 70 percent of full time American workers hate sitting, yet 86 percent do it all day, every day…an average of 13 hours a day and sleeping an average of 8 hours resulting in a sedentary lifestyle of around 21 hours a day.”2 I think half of you just walked away from your computer. The article adds, “30 percent even responded that they would rather go without coffee for a week to stand.” Okay, this is a serious problem. Our NCN State of the Shared Space Sector Survey will be coming out shortly, and I’m sorry to say, it will involve some reading. And it will not be able to help you have less coffee or more exercise (unless you use a standing desk with a stair stepper.) Surveys about taking surveys tell me that only 30-40% of you will respond to us,3 but here are 5 reasons you should fill out ours:


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08/Jan/2019

what should be the ideal amount for a Building Reserve Fund? They charge $1 per square foot back to their tenants to contribute to this fund, but wondered if they should cease doing that if they reached a certain number in their reserves? This generated multiple responses on how to be financially prepared if, or really when, issues arise – because they will! So, whether you own your own building or are planning to purchase/build one, read on to see how those in our network are thinking ahead.


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14/Aug/2018

This is our final week of taking a trip down memory lane to our 2017 gathering, Sharing Innovation, as a way to get psyched for 2018’s event in October. Whether you missed last year or need a little convincing to attend this year (as if!?), check out the final of our four Sharing Innovation 2017 Blog Video Series below.  With two speakers each over last year’s themes of Technology for Collaboration, Adaptive Partnerships, Smart Growth and Sustainability, we’re certain you’ll walk away with not only some fresh innovative ideas, but also the desire to (re)connect with the NCN community this October!

We close with our final theme:

Theme: Sustainability

Applying Biomimicry Principals for Shared Space Innovation

Katy Sheehan and Summer Hess

Community Building, Spokane, WA

The Community Building Campus is a nonprofit center and small business incubator focused on fostering growth and measuring success outside of traditional metrics.

AC to DC Conversion

Sandy Vanderstoep

The Alliance Center, Denver, CO

The Alliance Center has served as a community working at all levels to create a more sustainable world. Now with the AC/DC Conversion project, the building itself will be a model for future commercial to reduce their energy consumption.

Did you miss the previous videos or need to review? Head here to catch all 8 presentations!


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29/May/2018

This week we dive back into our trip down memory lane to our 2017 gathering, Sharing Innovation, as a way to get psyched for 2018’s event in October. Whether you missed last year or need a little convincing to attend this year (as if!?), check out the second of our four Sharing Innovation 2017 Blog Video Series below.  With two speakers each over last year’s themes of Technology for Collaboration, Adaptive Partnerships, Smart Growth and Sustainability, we’re certain you’ll walk away with not only some fresh innovative ideas, but also the desire to (re)connect with the NCN community this October!

This week’s focus is:

Theme: Adaptive Partnerships

How can Nonprofit Centers Foster Catalytic Collaborations? Reflections from the OpenGov Hub

Nada Zohdy

OpenGov Hub, Washington D.C.

Zohdy describes a framework she helped develop to think about nonprofit collaboration (called “Catalytic Collaboration”), and how OpenGov Hub has put this into practice and what they are learning so far.

Transactional to Transformational – Building Trust to Strengthen a Community

Kathy Lanni and Allison Schultz

SEFCU and Siena College (Respectively), Albany, NY

A case study of how a funder and a university moved from a transactional relationship to a deeper transformational partnership to build trust among a competitive nonprofit community.


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21/May/2018

I love that NCN is a peer resourced community. We gain so much through our members sharing their experiences and knowledge with each other. Our new, member only Ask-NCN Live Zoom calls continue to build on that premise. In March, we focused on building buzz: what makes your space the place people want to be? The multiple employees representing seven organizations, from development stages to highly established, had lots to share - from clever nuggets to big picture. Here are some of those noteworthy takeaways. When groundbreaking is delayed, how do you communicate that things are still happening? Centre for Social Innovation talked about the pop-up space they had at their New York location before and during construction. This likely helped market the coming space and gave the community a taste of something to look forward to. Two spaces also gave tours or threw a mini party, with hard-hats as necessary, as soon as the space was safe to enter, but before completion. This produced some great photo-ops and having your Governor (John Hickenlooper) in the pic ain't bad either. Posner Center for International Development shared one of their marketing strategies: photos of what the space was before; for them it was a horse barn turned storage facility for horse-drawn carts and trailers. You can see some of these below.


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07/May/2018

As we prepare for Sharing Innovation 2018 in October, we thought we'd take a trip down memory lane to our 2017 event. Whether you missed last year or need a little convincing to attend this year (as if!?), check out the first of our four Sharing Innovation 2017 Blog Video Series below. With two speakers each over last year's themes of Technology for Collaboration, Adaptive Partnerships, Smart Growth and Sustainability, we're certain you'll walk away with not only some fresh innovative ideas, but also the desire to (re)connect with the NCN community this October! So without further ado, this week we focus on…


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25/Feb/2018

“Open for you, and you and you…” is the tagline for one of our Canadian members, Community Door in Brampton, Ontario. It is a fitting message for so many of our centers (and centres!) across North America. A place where you can find healing for what ails you. A place that takes you in as you are and diligently works to keep you as safe as possible. This last statement was the theme that emerged from our first Live Ask-NCN Zoom call for members that was focused on Risk Management. I actually expected the conversation to steer more towards the somewhat dull, but necessary details of what it takes to manage a space, filling vacancies, collecting timely rent and more. Instead, improving safety was the top concern for most spaces. People wanted to know how best to communicate imminent dangers, how to report incidents, and how to keep communication lines open with tenants and community.  One member is witnessing the opioid epidemic first hand in their very welcoming and open community space. While their bathrooms provide an opportunity for someone off the street to clean up, other times it is a collection site for needles from their illicit substance usage.  All participants stressed the need, and struggle, for their space to be both open and safe. Here are the suggestions that emerged:


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