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11/Jan/2016

Many nonprofit centers I’ve visited do a lot to reduce their carbon footprint, from putting in super-efficient HVAC systems and bio-walls to replacing your trash-can with a recycling bin. Since approximately 20% of office waste is organic matter, the next step for many groups is to start an office composting program. Both centers I’ve worked out of, the Thoreau Center for Sustainability in San Francisco and The Alliance Center in Denver, have run successful composting programs for years. Here are some tips your space.


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04/Jan/2016

According to NCN's 2015 State of the Sector Survey collaboration is a goal that most nonprofit shared space centers share, yet few feel they have achieved the level of collaboration among tenants that they expected. For this reason, I found The Myths and Reality of Nonprofit Collaboration: Observations from Six Years in the Trenches by John MacIntosh, Partner, SeaChange Capital Partners and Lois Savage, President, The Lodestar Foundation interesting and relevant for our network. Although this article deals with nonprofit collaboration outside of the colocation model, I think they highlight many issues that shared space centers face.


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14/Dec/2015

Are we doing what we set out to do? Is this model worth it? Developing evaluation models for shared spaces is currently a hot topic in our community. One of the factors we see that makes this process a challenge is that many centers haven’t taken the time to clarify their mission. When your lease is expiring and you’re in the process of drawing up plans for a new shared space, setting forth a mission for your space can seem like a luxury. Other centers spend too much time wordsmithing their mission statement into something lofty, inspirational, and all too often vague.


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07/Dec/2015

I've been curious about the Ford Foundation's new organizational strategy, FordForward. The Ford Foundation is changing how they do their work and shifting their focus to the addressing inequity. The Ford Foundation has supported shared spaces in the past and their support for arts-based nonprofit centers looks to be in doubt for the future, but their pronouncements have even broader implications for our field.


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23/Nov/2015

Every so often I benefit from a reminder that Nonprofit Centers Network members are awesomely forward thinking. Recently, this happened while I was talking to member Tom O’Connor from Al Sigl Community of Agencies in Rochester, NY. Al Sigl has been providing high quality work space for nonprofits for 47 years. The organization works tirelessly to accommodate new nonprofits who want to reside at Al Sigl. With so many eager hands knocking at Al Sigl’s door, Tom and I wondered: What’s the draw for nonprofits to inhabit shared work space?


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16/Nov/2015

More and more workplaces are inviting people to bring their furry friends to work with them, and shared spaces are no different. We have several members in the Network where every day is “Bring Your Dog to Work Day.” Dog-friendly workplaces can be a huge benefit to employees, because they don’t have to pay for dog walking services or doggie day care. The Center for Disease Control, among other researchers, has conducted studies that indicate having dogs around can reduce employee stress and boost morale. In my experience at The Alliance Center, dogs are also a great conversation starter.


Brandi Stanley
09/Nov/2015

“Shared space” is still a relatively new way to work. Because of it’s “newness,” we just don’t have a lot of formal research or guides to show us how to do it well. At the Nonprofit Centers Network 2015 Building Opportunities Conference in June, I spoke on two panels: The first on Community Animation, where I was joined by several other “animators” from spaces across the U.S. and Canada; and the second, on branding for shared spaces. In those two talks, it became incredibly apparent to me how intertwined community animation and branding really are.


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02/Nov/2015

This report sums up what so many nonprofits have discovered the hard way – that you often get what you paid for! $1 buildings aren’t the silver bullet they seem to be and need to be evaluated just like any other facility project. Acquisition costs are often just a small part of the overall development cost.


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26/Oct/2015

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, because it’s all about community engagement. There’s no other time of the year where you go out and knock on your neighbors doors – anyone with a porch light on is extending an open invitation. Halloween festivities in the workplace also invite people to reach out to people they don’t know very well and start a conversation, whether it’s an autumn happy hour, a lively costume contest, or simply gathering around the candy bowl in the first week of November.


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