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Topics Below

Ethics Issue
Confidentiality Agreements

See also Values Statements


Ethics Issue

Ask-NCN Conversation 10.30.17


Patricia Woroch, Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia
We have a number of tenants, both other NGO’s and private businesses, in our building. We are wondering if anyone has had to deal with ethical issues and how you did that, particularly with private business. If we identify that a practice/s they are using is unethical and impacting our clients, we need to address it. Our lease does not speak to such issues and yes, we did discuss it with them directly. We do have our mission/values statements posted. Any ideas, suggestions welcome. Thank you!


Pam Mauk, Together Center
Just a couple thoughts for setting a plan of action. Your lease should have the ability to make rules that are reasonable for your. You could use that mechanism to ask for specific behavior from all tenants. Your submittal of 990 to IRS may have you signing off on specific ethical financial behaviors for yourself and related parties, if that’s an area of concern, which may give you a reason for creating rules for all that meet ethical standards for a nonprofit.


China Brotsky, SumofUs
Patricia, i suggest that you consult with a good real estate lawyer that hopefully has some experience with the nonprofit sector. Without knowing the ethical dilemma, it’s very hard to provide advice.


Confidentiality Agreements

From Ask-NCN 2/1/6/18


Andy Neal, The STAR Center
Do any of your groups use Confidentiality Agreements and would you be willing to share an example?


Katherine Moore, The Jefferson Avenue Center
We do not. I have tenants who handle data protected by HIPAA rules, but they operate by their own policies and we don’t get involved. Sorry if that’s not what you meant…I’m trying to imagine another sort of confidentiality issue, and haven’t come up with one.


Alexandra, Urbanowski, SVCreates
We used a confidentiality clause in our MOU’s during the facility development. Also a NDA for potential new partners. Would you like to see either of those?


Charlene Altenhain, Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
We don’t have our tenants sign a confidentiality agreement. We do have a confidentiality policy that our board members sign. This is included in a larger board governance policy packet. Below is the confidentiality excerpt:


The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center, a Florida based non-profit organization based in Sarasota Florida, relies upon its Board of Directors, management and staff to guide its operations.
In the normal course of operations, it is common and necessary for Board members, management and staff to work with documents prepared by and relating to the organization, and to have discussion about issues that are sensitive in nature.
It is understood and agreed that when executed below, all documents and discussions concerning The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center should be considered “confidential” and are protected under this confidentiality agreement, thereby protecting the interests of The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center. It is further understood that this Confidentiality Agreement shall remain in force after Board service or employment with The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center is concluded.


Valerie Hill, Center for Social Change
We have a section on Confidentiality in our Agreements with members.
6. Confidentiality
a. You acknowledge and agree that during your participation in and use of the Services you may exposed to Confidential Information. “Confidential Information” shall mean all information, in whole or in part, that is disclosed by the Center or any participant of user of the Services or any employee affiliate, or agent thereof, that is non-public, confidential or proprietary in nature. Confidential information also includes, without limitation, information about business, sales, operations, know-how, trade secrets, business affairs, any knowledge gained through examination or observation of or access to the facilities, computer systems and/or books and records of the Center, any analyses, compilations, studies or other documents prepared by the Center or otherwise derived in any manner from the Confidential Information that you are obliged to keep confidential or know or has reason to know should be treated as confidential.

b. Your participation in and/or use of the Services obligates you to maintain all Confidential Information in strict confidence; not to disclose Confidential Information to any third parties; not to sue the Confidential Information in any way directly or indirectly detrimental to the Center or any participant or user of the Services.

c. All Confidential Information remains the sole and exclusive property of the Center or the respective disclosing party. You acknowledge and agree that nothing in the Membership Agreement, this TOU or Community Norms, or your participation or use of the Services will be construed as granting any rights to you, by license or otherwise, in or to any Confidential Information or any patent, copyright or other intellectual property proprietary rights of the Center or any participant or user of the Services.


Online Resource Center

NCN Webinar – All Access: Inclusive Design for Shared Spaces
NCN Webinar I Space for All: Inclusivity in Building Communities
Centre for Social Innovation’s Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Discrimation Policy

Family Services Center of NY: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan 2019-2020

Glasser-Schoenbaum Human Services Center’s Board Statement Supporting Diversity/Black Lives Matter – June 2020

Topics Below

Promoting Inclusive Shared Spaces

See also Values Statements

Promoting Inclusiveness

From an Ask-NCN Conversation, 2/2/16


Katie Edwards, Nonprofit Centers Network
Hi NCN members,

Diversity, equity and inclusion are hot topics in the nonprofit sector, and it’s come up in several of my recent conversations around shared space. How are we trying to promote these principles in our spaces and make them welcoming to people from all walks of life?

I’m looking for examples of initiatives in your centers that intentionally bring in more people from socially diverse groups to use your spaces. I’m also interested in efforts that haven’t been so successful. Why do you think they failed? What could we do better? What resources do you need to make this happen?
Thanks for your feedback!


Pam Mauk, Together Center, 2/3/16
In some areas we have some results. We have programs directed at different groups:

  • A “cultural navigator program” assists immigrants and others speaking Spanish and languages of India (and at a partner location Russian and Chinese).
  • A senior program run by Indian Association of Western Washington is off our lobby.
  • Our Advocate office by the lobby has a program for domestic violence survivors run by a major agency supporting the Spanish-speaking.
  • We will soon have a Muslim Cultural Resource Center (information, referral and counseling) one day per week in our advocate office.

The staff members of these organizations participate in our campus meetings and social events.

A group that was designed to address needs of immigrants and refugees (ERIC) has operated as a network and discussion group for a decade, and come up with some good solutions, such as the cultural navigator program. It is now working to get its own IRS nonprofit status: in the meantime Together Center is its legal sponsor. Once relaunched, it hopes to advise widely to businesses, government and nonprofts on the issues you mention. I mention them because the loosely organized group has some impact, but did not greatly impact local nonprofits. We are hoping that a group invested in the cultural competency mission might have greater impact on us and the community (ours is a very diverse community in the area of immigration and language: over 1/3 speak another language in the largest nearby city). A suggestion is then to bring in an organization in some capacity that has this expertise and mission.


Angela Baldrige, The Plantory, 2/3/16
We believe that the best way to invite diversity in is to be diverse. So we intentionally build a diverse and inclusive community. We subsidize our membership with fundraising. When we realized prices were still too high for a lot of social justice activists, we began providing sponsorships for organizations that meet missing factors of diversity in our space, and then work with these orgs to connect them to opportunities to support their sustainability and continued use of our space. For example, we connect groups with free social media management, donors who sponsor their membership, and interns. We also have an advisory council that helps with our program development, and that group represents various factors of diversity including client bases served by our populations. We involve our members in developing programming. We have a values statement as part of our ethos, and it is shared with all members when they apply. We host panel discussions on controversial topics and feature people from various perspectives and micro and macro levels. And we facilitate regular community interactions that are fun to support the building of relationships. Our staff interacts intentionally with diverse community members in and outside of the center, taking walks, getting coffee, etc. to build the relationships that we believe make the difference in understanding each other. We also call on the experts in our center to advise us (we are home to groups that are experts and advocates in LGBTQ issues, violence, education, access for people with disabilities, and more). Their advice is invaluable in shaping our approaches. We have an anonymous feedback system in addition to open channels to encourage free feedback.


Philip, CommunityWise Center, 2/19/16
Hello (and sorry this is a bit of a ramble)

This is a really important topic/issue. CommunityWise is developing an equity framework taking into account multiple factors to determine everything from how much rent we charge to different groups, who has and needs access to the space (and why), and to address barriers to participation from members in the governance of the centre. The last bit kind of sounds like the classic “why don’t they come to my meeting/event” when really CommunityWise needs to be better in tune or relevant to the needs of our very diverse members (some more than others). It’s a problem of the Non-profit Industrial complex as well. At this stage we want to be transparent with our members and ensure that thier contributions have an impact on these decisions and that it isn’t tokenization.

Through research focusing on our centre and from developmental evaluation of our own community development programs to members we are exploring ways in which to support specific groups and communities wich face systemic challenges, oppression, and limits to access to resources where other perhaps more mainstream or charitable organizations do not. It’s been really interesting at the board, committee, and community level to have these conversations over the last little while.

One way that we can do this is through developing a rental equity policy. Right now we are reframing our office rental costs for all of our tenant members. It has, in the past, been based almost entirely on the size of the space. What we find though is that it is not groups that would benifit the most from space that get it but rather well resourced groups that can use greater amounts of time and social capital or existing relationships with communitywise administration staff/board to persure vacant or more desirable space in our centre. This is a social problem broadly that may also appear in other non profit centres as well. We are working to now take into account additional things like relative access to funding, what the group uses the sapce for, levels of inclusivity within their own organizations, need etc. when determining cost of rent and access to vacant space in the centre. Not directly related to rent but in other forms of support and services we provide this has been something of an informal practice but now, with staff and board succession planning in mind, we want to solidify this in a tansparent manner.

With Equity in mind are there things that others have tried or policies applied when deciding who gets space and how much they pay for it?


Alan Ziter, NTC Foundation, 2/19/16
I appreciate your inquiry and I hope this information will be helpful.

1. NTC Foundation has stewardship over 26 historic buildings. We renovate them and then lease them out to a range of nonprofit, for profit and sole proprietor tenants.

2. With regards to leasing:
a. First off, lease rates are established based on 1) how much money we need to collect to financially operate the buildings and have a maintenance reserve and
pay debt service. The rates are aligned with the current market for similar space.
b. Generally we have a nonprofit rate, and a commercial rate. Rates may vary based on the size of the lease space, just as in the commercial real estate market.
c. There are many groups – that are nonprofit and commercial – that we wish to have in the ARTS DISTRICT, however they cannot pay the rent that we must
charge to stay viable.
i. For those groups, we provide a Rental Subsidy from grant funds we have secured that will allow them to be in residence for the first two years at a subsidized rental rate, in the hopes their being here will help them to grow their earned income or better engage their donors. Of course there are some groups that we continue to subsidize with annual rental grant
ii. The lease is structured to show the “regular lease rate” we would normally charge, but allow for a “rental grant” rate from which they pay.
iii. This is a win-win because the NTC Foundation will then ‘pay itself’ from the grant funds for the differential.
iv. Each year we ‘grant out’ over $300,000 in rental subsidies, but we are a much more diverse and successful Arts District by doing this….and our building stay well maintained and secure and 100% occupied!


Topics Below

Virtual Reception/Visitor Management
Room Booking / Meeting Space Tools
Maintenance Management
IT Support
Shared Client Management
Human Capital Management
Database Software for Case Management
IT Needs for Shared Space
Paperless Security Desk Sign-in
Online Conference Room Calendar Scheduling
Managing/Limits on Room Bookings through Credit System

See also Room Booking Etiquette

Online Resource Center

NCN Webinar | Spaceware: Problem Solving Software (Dec 2014)
NCN Webinar | Beyond Shared Calendars: Room Scheduling Software Options (Jun 2014)

NCN Webinar I Software for Shared Spaces  (March 2020)

Virtual Reception / Visitor Management

The Receptionist Helps guests to your space quickly connect with the right people
EnvoyCollect guest information, capture their photos and have them sign legal documents—all on the iPad.
Salto – Enhances the usability of virtually every building environment by securing nearly every door and enabling the monitoring and control of every user.

Room Booking

WUN Happy Desk A new meeting space management system that combines online booking and e-commerce capabilities with robust reporting.
Event Pro Software Used by Mansour Center – “A single system where the Venue Booking, Event Management and Catering Management components are all seamlessly integrated so they can easily stand alone or be used all-in-one and anything in between.”
Room Booking System Used by Saskatoon Community Service Village
Nexudus – used by cSpace, Literacenter, Tides Center, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia, and Center for Social Change

Novus Insight – used by Jessie Ball duPont Center, CT Community Nonprofit Alliance
CobotMember Mangement, Invoice and Payments, Booking Calendar, Wifi Integration, White Label – Customization, Business Reporting

Proximity, Inc.

TeamUp – used by Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Commerce

Caterease – used by David Brower Center (room reservations / event bookings, staffing, account management, and payment processing. It integrates with Quickbooks, Sage 50, and Google Calendar)


Ask-NCN Discussion 10/23/14
Zach Lifton, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia
It’s been asked before, but maybe someone has an update. We really struggle with how to allow members to book rooms, without abusing that access or being generally inconsiderate. Right now we just use Google Calendar, but we’ve outgrown it. Ideally, in dreamland, we need a system that allows members to see availability, prevents over-booking, limits amounts of time members can book, and requires a “check-in” for the reservation… which gets deleted if not used.

We’re [obviously] willing to pay for this type of software: any suggestions?

Karen Maciorowski, CT Nonprofit Center
We created a survey monkey to capture all of the information needed to book a room and will be making the view function of the calendar public so they can choose an available time. On top of it we have to manage cars on site and keep them under 50 for meetings held at the same time.

Looking forward to any ideas. It is starting to become a full-time job!

Saul Ettlin, Tides
Tides and the Thoreau Center recently engaged to license their conference room management system (currently used by David Brower Ctr., Marin Space and others). We liked this option because it is a single license agreement without the ongoing fees that come with many of could based offerings. We did invest in some development to make some tweaks to meet our needs. My understanding is the work we had done on the system constitutes a new build so the features we added should be available to others.
NEW’s system has the ability to have a login for specific users where they can only book for themselves and cannot override another users entries. The system also provides a notification to an administrator (administer can override all bookings) that a booking request has been made (and which can then be approved by the administrator). The systems does require a web server or it can be hosted on the developer’s server for a nominal fee.
We’re planning on running two instances of this system with 8 conference rooms in San Francisco location and 6 conference rooms in our New York offices. While we haven’t yet deployed the system (launching in the next two weeks), it has been great to work with NEW’s team and their developer. We selected this system after attending and NCN’s webinar on conference management systems and more research on the options available.
I’m sure you could contact Marin Space or David Bower center to see how the like it.
The contact person at NEW is:
Yodit Mesfin Johnson
Chief Relationship Officer
734-998-0160 x238

Jennifer Pedroni, HealthSpark Foundation
We have used this system developed by NEW as described below for a few years. I am happy to talk with folks about our design and implementation process and current use of the system. It has worked very well for us and we review, modify and refine it about once a year. You can see it on line on our website here.

Pam Brems, Mansour Center
We have been users of EventPro for many years, and we are highly satisfied with its features and, in particular, their outstanding customer service. However, we run a full service conference center, booking outside entities with rooms and catering, AV, etc. It is not a “self-serve” kind of booking arrangement. I’m not sure if EventPro has that capability.

Brandi Stanley, Posner Center for International Development
I’ll be honest in saying that in all the work we’ve done to research this, even though there are some models (probably like NEW) that work well enough, we have yet to find one that meets all of the needs and variables we have. Perhaps it’s worth starting with some needs and working up over time, but we haven’t found that value yet. And, I’m probably a bit strange because I come from a design/web background, but I have yet to find one that’s also intuitive/easy to use, and beautiful (and, one that can be branded into our website, rather than being the one hideous thing that sticks out like a sore thumb). We’ve even looked into helping others develop a completely new one because we’ve been so frustrated elsewhere.

In the end, we’ve still found Google Calendar (along with Spanning for Google, to help retrieve any accidentally deleted dates) to be useful enough, and it doesn’t require money or the time to train on/search for/or develop a new or revised platform. The only thing I wish that it had for sure was an ability to track time so that we not only knew what rooms were being used, when, and how often, but by whom (so that we could cap their usage and/or charge for more).

Jodie Semkiw, Sasktaoon Community Service Village
For the past two years now we have been using a web based software called Room Booking System out of the UK. We have been really happy with it! The interface is very user friendly for our agencies and has a number of options for the Administrator. It does have a options for tracking the highest user and the room that is used the most etc. There are 3 or 4 levels I believe. We use the most basic. They also offer a discount for Nonprofit organizations.

Zach Lifton
Excellent! — and similarly, we were pointed toward Cobot: still looking into, but has many robust features specifically designed for coworking spaces. Their free trial has been enlightening.

Deeter Schurig, cSpace
Just curious whether you decided to commit to Cobot or not? We have been frustrated with another option and are now looking at Cobot. We are interested in features of invoicing, direct billing (ie paypal or stripe) booking of hotdesks, etc. Your perspective is appreciated.

Zach Lifton
Hi Deeter — sorry to take a bit to get back to you on this: we were actually in direct conversation with Cobot last week about some last minute questions so I figured I’d wait to update you until we found out a few more answers.

So while we haven’t implemented their service yet, it seems very (very) likely that we soon will as long as our finances come together to have it make sense.
If you haven’t already, I would just suggest setting up a call with them: they are extremely nice and very helpful. They can also set you up with a trial version so you can poke around a bit. As an FYI they are based in Germany so there’s a six hour time difference (from EST): just takes a little advanced planning to set an appointment.
Aaron Cruikshank, CRUICKSHANKI’m implementing Nexedus at a coworking project next month. Haven’t started using it yet but when we did our scan of available solutions, it looks ideal. Lots of coworking spaces use it. Super powerful.

Deeter Schurig
Thanks for your response and no worries. We are moving along with Nexudus and seem to be making good progress. There is significant flexibility and plenty of variables that can be utilized which add to the setup. We are interested in integrating print management all into one portal and this is all a bit of an experiment for the time being, but seems possible…

Misha, Engagement Lab
This is my first post to the Nonprofit Center Network. I’m excited to be part of this community and both offer any wisdom and tap into yours.
I’ve been hired to run The Lab, Oakland California’s newest co-working space dedicated to social change agents. This is the brain child of Citizen Engagement Lab a social change accelerator and incubator. Check us out at We are slated to open at the beginning of March.
Right now I’m looking into co-working space platforms to manage our space. I’ve been looking into the two recommended here Nexudus and Cobot. If you all have been using these and now have some feedback I’d love to hear.
Doug Barrington, HNS Life Center
We are just digging into Happy Desk. It looks promising thus far.

Jimmy Martin, Chicago Literacy Center
We’re looking into Happy Desk, as well, and I can say that they seem to have very reasonable pricing and excellent customer support. We’re still in the testing phase, but it does look promising

Meeting Space Tools

From an Ask-NCN Discussion 11/19/15

Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Centers Network
A huge number of centers use Google Calendar to manage their meeting rooms. We know it’s not a perfect solution, but many folks have found ways to make it work for them. I want to gather information about HOW you set up your Google Calendar for your center. Did anyone document the process as they set it up? Are you willing to share that documentation? Have you found any plug-ins or add-ons that have been super helpful to your space? Also, I’ve heard that some groups prefer to have every meeting room on a separate calendar, others have all rooms on one calendar. What did you decide to do and why?

Karen Maciorwoski, The CT Nonprofit Center
WE are moving to a specially designed room reservation system for nonprofit centers! It handles room reservations, user log-in, confirmations, technology assignments, daily wifi, and hot-desking. Our technology consultants who are also a 501c3 organization, created the system for a local library and then customized it for another nonprofit center, and are now currently customizing it for us. We were able to get a grant to pay for the customization and licensing and the annual cost is reasonable. We are currently using google calendars and survey monkey to make requests, but the work load it added to our staff outweighed the cost to purchase something more sophisticated. We got caught off guard with a few meetings that were double booked and this system will allow for greater user interface and customer service.

Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
We use Google Calendar for all of our meeting rooms and it works great. We have 8 meeting rooms and 30 tenant organizations. We try and only give add and manage capabilities to one person per organization but everyone can have read only access plus ours is public so everyone can view it on our website. We have found that color coding works the best for us so you can look at a glance and know which rooms are being used. So the Order at the top in the meeting line is ROOM NAME / ORGANIZATION NAME / MEETING NAME and it is color coded to the room. For Example Regions room is green, Hancock is blue, Topazi is orange and so on so I can glace at a week and see what is open when and then if I need to know more I can open it up and get details. Also we will reserve the room for set up for a meeting but put set up so if there is a conflict or someone else needs the room then they will know there is flexibility on the use of it that day since it really isn’t a “meeting” just set up for the next day. It also helps our janitorial staff know which rooms had events in them that day so they know which need extra attention etc. I attached a picture of what next week looks like on our calendar. There of course are mistakes but the good thing is you know who set a meeting because it will say the email that added it but we have very few double bookings. The biggest mistake we will have is that people will save it to their personal calendar instead of the public Knight calendar that everyone can see so they see it on their calendar but no one else does but that doesn’t happen very often. People usually only make that mistake once. I go through and glance ahead every once in a while and just check and make sure people have set them right and correct any color changes that need to be made but most people caught on to the color code system pretty fast. However, we do not charge our tenants for the meeting rooms, it is part of their rent so I can see where google may not be enough if you needed more than just reserving the room.

Vicki Jay, Midland Shared Spaces
At Midland Shared Spaces we use MRBS – Meeting Room Booking System for our reservations. We have it on our website and ask that everyone (within the building and outside) submit their requests online. There is a calendar to view availability, a reservation request form and pricing. Once it is submitted, it is then confirmed by a MSS Staff member who places it on the master calendar. The master calendar is available on line as well as displayed on the Wayfinder display information board at the front of our building. The Wayfinder includes room assignments and maps. It is web-based free software and it is accessible 24/7 to anyone. It also handles recurring events. We have been very pleased with our system.

If you want to view ours, please go to the website: or There is a SPACES tab, then ROOM RENTALS that explains the process. At the bottom there is a MSS Room Calendar you can check dates and availability. There is also a Room Reservation Form tab.

I’d be happy to share with you what we’ve experienced with Nexudus. Just to lay a ground layer of perspective, my organization consists of a number of member organizations. We don’t allow individual memberships, so any “members” are organizations represented by individuals.

We opened a new facility last May and I worked directly with Adrian Palacios from Nexudus on getting it set up. Adrian has always been as helpful as he can be, but he does seem to be the only person from Nexudus with whom we’ve interacted.

I could ramble on and on, but I figured I’d just lay out pros and cons as far as how they relate to our organization. This is neither an endorsement or an indictment of their service, but rather how we’ve experienced it. You may have a completely different setup that would work differently with the software.

– It can be used right out of the box with just a bit of personalization.
– It has many features included in one package that you don’t see in many other programs, including a CRM tool, billing, room reservations and a member directory.
– It’s constantly being updated to accommodate client needs.
– Support responses are usually very prompt, no matter what time zone Adrian is in.
– It can be customized to a great deal by a web design professional, allowing you to create your own front end for members on their software.
– It can sync with Google for calendar integration.

– The terminology requires a bit of a learning curve. “Members” and “Users” are confusing in that they both refer to the same person, but “users” applies more to the back end of things. For my organization, “Members” are whole organizations, while Nexudus views them as individuals. There is a “Team” option, but because (at the time) billing was based on the individual and not the “team” we decided to handle billing on our own. We have never used the billing/accounting feature in the software. They seem to have made modifications to accommodate team billing, but we don’t want to go back, at this point, to find out whether or not it works for us.
– Billing is set up to occur automatically and without much personalization. We have a large number of members and a large variance in the items we bill each member. We have four different member levels and each member level has different benefits & charges. Due to the size of the effort and intense interest in controlling our billing process, we opted to do it ourselves.
– Automatic emailing – by default, as soon as you enter someone’s email address in the system, even to test, they start receiving emails from Nexudus. We found this out the hard way when we were getting set up. There are a few steps you have to go through in the settings to turn off much of the automatic emailing that occurs. If individuals are signing up on their own, it’s probably perfect. Again, since we’re not dealing with individuals, it wasn’t right for us.
– Google calendar integration: We use this feature to sync with the iPad room display software we use. There’s an iPad outside each meeting room, displaying what meeting is happening. Nexudus offers their own iPad display, but it’s just a website and it doesn’t offer any control over the iPad, specifically the ability to turn the display off at night. While the Google integration does work, most of the time, the sync occasionally drops without notice and we don’t know it has happened until members mention that their name isn’t on the iPad outside their meeting. This leads to confusion with their attendees and others who are looking to book a room last minute.
– CRM functionality – this is a mixed bag. It might work just fine, but our development director did not feel confident in its abilities, so we opted to go with another piece of software for that.
– Cost: We have over 355 users within our 79 member organizations or “teams.” This has pushed our monthly rate from $110 eight months ago to $375. It is based on the number of “members,” so as we grow, we’ll pay more and more. That’s not ideal from our perspective.

To sum it all up, it hasn’t been the best fit for our organization, but it’s done the job of supporting a member directory, a community board and room scheduling for us, admirably. There are a lot of other people who use it quite well with few issues. We are looking into Happy Desk, I can tell you, because it looks like a powerful option that will allow us to grow and not cost us more. For 600 users, we’re only paying $299 a month. That’s a pretty stark difference. We haven’t been able to do much with it, yet, but unless we find any major roadblocks, we’ll probably change over.

Maintenance Management

MP2 – Used by the Jones Trust
Qube Global Software US (bought Vision Software)
Qube Global Software CA

IT Support

NEW’s npServ Used by Tides, Thoroeau Center, and HealthSpark Foundation
Beyond consultation and system setup, NEW’s npServ acts as your remote IT Department, providing ongoing IT support and training for your organization.”

Shared Client Management

Aunt Bertha – Used by Serve Denton (Helps to coordinate and track cross-agency referrals with ease)

Human Capital Management

Asure Software: HCM is an all-encompassing tool providing businesses with payroll & tax solutions, benefits administration, human resources, talent management and ACA healthcare reform software solutions. Included is our suite of workplace software, hoteling & hot-desking, move management solutions and business utilization analytics.
Our new PEOPLE SUCCESS PLATFORM is the only global technology designed to empower people by providing companies with the solutions needed to increase employee empowerment, engagement and productivity. We are streamlining office logistics & operations to significantly increase your ROI on your most valuable assets – space utilization and people compliance and performance.”

Database Software for Case Management

From Ask-NCN 3/9/2017

NCN Question: What Database Software for Casement Management do you use in your center?

Vincent Tilford, Luella Hannan Memorial FoundationWe use AASC online, but are looking to move to Apricot. Would be interested in what people think who have used Apricot.

Brenda Roush, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
At my previous employer, The Gathering Place, we used Efforts to Outcomes from Social Solutions. We found that it allowed us to track nontraditional metrics along with traditional metrics and narrative.

Misha Palin, The Lab Director
I just found that there’s a google app called Streak that is an integrated CRM/sales pipeline database with your google mail. I haven’t had the time to fully explore it, but so far the one part I’ve used (marking emails to return to me within a certain time if no response) has been useful. I’m sure it’s not as robust as some of you need, but it could be a very good cost effective solution for those that can’t afford to spend a lot of money on buying and learning a Case Management software system.

IT Needs

From an Ask-NCN 5/25/2017

Irene Lehrer Sandalow
This is a very broad question. What are the IT needs for a shared space? I know we need very fast internet. Some organizations have their own servers. What else should I be thinking about? What kind of services do I need?

Misha Palin, The Lab
We offer segmented wifi, meaning each organization gets their own network and password which helps with keeping their data secure and we put in a lot of hardwire data lines in our walls. If the wifi gets slow they can plug in. We also bought firewire adaptors when we were having problems with our wifi so people could plug in.
We do not offer IT support nor space to put their servers since servers can be as small as one computer to as large as a rack or a room. We encourage all orgs to move their data to the cloud if they haven’t gotten their yet.We also chose not to put in phone lines, only data lines for VoIP, if they want hard wire phones since most of our people use their cellphones or computers.As far as other services:We offer 2 professional grade printers one color and one black and white that people can access through the network.In the conference rooms we offer big screen monitors and Headless MacMini computers that people just transfer files onto or just pull up their files off the internet so there’s no need to deal with adaptors and such. We also just have a zoom account that anyone can use for videoconferencing with a quick link.We have one person who has basic IT skills and a good troubleshooter but we also have a contractor that we call for higher level IT problems.
James Thompson, New Path Foundation
So at both our locations we have access to Ethernet ports and have server rooms which our subcontracted I/T staff team (3 folks) look after. Most tenants are connected to our internet and telephone systems so that helps spread out the costs. Wifi is readily available throughout, our meeting rooms have projection screens and LCD televisions available; we also have lcd projectors available through reception for folks to use if needed.

Anything over and above, we negotiate with our tenants on their own specific needs…for example, some have jointly purchased SMART Boards for use in two of our meetings rooms; while they have priority usage, other tenants can also access through scheduling.

Paperless Security Desk Sign-in

From Ask-NCN

Sarah Reidy, Children and Family Services, Inc.
We are in the process of converting our guest/employee check-in from paper sign-in to an electronic system. Has anybody had any success with any cost-effective security measures/systems? (We do have a staffed security guard on site now.)

May Mui, East Bay Local Asian Development Corporation
We use Paycom for staff sign in, time sheet, pay check process, and staff performance reviews.

Valerie Hill, Center for Social Change
I am curious about this as well. We open ourselves to members almost 24/7. We are looking at two systems. Kisi and Salto. Has anyone tried either?

Online Conference Room Calendar Scheduling

From Ask-NCN 2.26.18

Elin Ross, Federated Charities
I’m trying to find a reliable and straightforward online calendar that I can invite partners to so they can reserve our conference room. Any suggestions?

Karolina Anderson, Fort Worden
Partners reserve our conference space using Google Calendar – which has worked well so far.

Sarah Glendening, The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
I looked for a free option last summer, but came up empty-handed. Probably the most straightforward option is to use a Google Calendar that you can share. The problem is that if they can reserve their own space, they can also delete other reservations, which could happen on accident pretty easily.

We have a form on our website where agencies can make requests, which includes a link to the conference room calendar, which we published online (instructions here). The downside is that all bookings still must be done by the administrator of the calendar. But at least requestors can see the calendar before requesting space that isn’t available.

Here’s an article about using conference room calendars in Outlook – not sure what platform you use, but maybe it’s helpful.

If anyone has a better (free) option, I’d still love to hear about it!

Sarah Reidy-Jones, Children and Family Services Center, Inc.
We currently use outlook calendars for our conference rooms. Non-agency tenants are given an email address that allows them access into our IT system.

Thaddeus Squire, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia
We currently use Nexudus, which is a great platform – it does conflict busting as well.

Nancy Osborn Nicholas, Together Center
We use Google Calendar – and make sure the settings allows the person scheduling the time be the only one who can delete the date (like they change their mind). It has worked well for us.

Russ Dahms, Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations

Managing/Limits on Room Bookings through Credit System

From Ask-NCN 3.12.18

Nada Zohdy, Open Gov Hub
Here at the Open Gov Hub in our 5 year history we’ve always offered unlimited, first-come first serve access to all our many meeting rooms (23 in total! including call rooms up to a large event space), to our full-time members, completely free of charge.

But because our membership has grown and we have a lot more demand on meeting spaces now, we have decided to roll out a new credit system from April to manage room bookings and help ensure more equitable access across the community, proportional to the staff size/presence here of our various organizations.

How do you all manage shared meeting rooms? Do you do monthly credits? Bill hourly? What have you found to work effectively – without being a big administrative burden to manage – and what do you recommend we avoid?

As you probably know our meeting rooms are one of our most valuable shared resource so we want to be very thoughtful about how to best make this change!
Kerry Lynn-Wilkie, LangsWe provide a meeting room for ½ day each month, as part of a partner’s lease of a 5 day per week office/full time office lease. The ½ day of meeting room space needs to be used in the month and not carried forward. We find this meets some partners needs fully (ie those who meet as a team monthly) and then they can always book additional space for a nominal fee. Rooms are booked in allocations of 4 hours of time – generally in the $25-50 range, based on room size.

We do try to maintain regular bookings for partners – ie if they always have a Monday afternoon group, we would then book other one time requests after confirming regular bookings for partners.

Valerie Hill, Center for Social Change
We have different hourly and day prices for each room. Most of our members get 8 hours per month in our conference room. That equates to a monthly credit in our system of about $320 that they can apply to any room.

If they go over their credits, they pay hourly at the member rates. Hours/credit do not roll over month to month.

Most of our memberships receive 8 hours per month and private offices receive 16.

The most important thing in my mind is allowing/requiring members to book their own spaces directly, not through one of your staff people. This way there can be no denying it is first come first serve as far as reservations.

We have higher hourly/day rates for non-members as well.

Sarah Reidy-Jones, Children and Family Services Center, Inc.
We offer our partner tenants (those that have 10 year leases) unlimited use and 5 free hours for all of our other tenants. We charge a nominal hourly fee based on the room size for anything over 5 hours. We used to allow offsite groups to use the space, but due to increased demand, they must have a direct affiliation with our agencies to qualify for space.

We use outlook calendar for all meeting rooms other than our board room, which must be approved by our administrative office. We only allow tenants to book their own rooms/modify reservations rather than having our administrative staff book for them.

Sharon Lovett, Center for Social Innovation
We have different hours of free meeting room time for members based on their membership package in our 4 locations in Toronto. We have our own in-house booking system that allows members to book rooms themselves and to view the availability of different rooms. The monthly total hours booked are calculated quarterly (so the hours per month are tripled). Anything above their free amount (Overage) is calculated at a fixed rate that is a discount from the rates we charge external bookers. We are working on reducing the significant time it takes to invoice the overages.

External bookers create a profile in our system and at this moment must contact our staff to book rooms but they can view availability. We are working on changing this so they will be able to book regular meeting rooms themselves in the future.

In addition we have several large event rooms that are not included in members’ free booking hours but they have discounted rates and must be booked through event staff .


Topics Below

Gender-Neutral, Male/Female, Family Friendly
Restroom Safety & Security

Restrooms – Gender-Neutral, Male/Female, Family Friendly


From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 5/3/16



Dominic Lucchesi, The Brower Center, 5/3/16
With the recent events in North Carolina and elsewhere, the issue of providing gender neutral restrooms has come up recently in our space here at the Brower Center. Our building is fairly dynamic with members of the public, private event guests, and building tenants all sharing the building each day.
Each floor currently includes separate male/female restrooms.
I’m curious to know if anyone in the group has had any experience with transitioning to gender neutral bathrooms. Has the conversation come up in your space? How have you tried to balance the needs/beliefs of all building users?



Juliane Mayne, Arts Habitat Edmonton, 5/3/16


Doug Vilsack, Posner Center for International Development
We have gender-neutral restrooms downstairs at the Posner Center, mainly because we didn’t have enough space to have decently-large male/female restrooms on each floor. There are no urinals, only small rooms with locking doors. The restroom on the second floor was supposed to be gender-neutral as well, but a group of women in our building revolted about not having their own restroom when we opened and that was not a battle I wanted to fight! Our experience with our gender-neutral restroom has been positive, and most folks in our building are very used to it by now. That said, it does cause some stress for our many visitors from developing countries where unisex bathrooms are unheard of and not culturally appropriate.


Tonya Surman, Centre for Social Innovation
We only do ‘All Gender” Rest Rooms now… they are awesome… create amazing collaboration and connection, save space and are truly inclusive…a little word… we have had lots of politcal drama’s up here about the topic and have arrived at “All Gender” instead of Gender Neutral… cause actually, all genders are welcomeA key to the solution was the creation of a ‘super elite’ universal access rest room where people who use wheelchairs, need showers or prefer more privacy can still find it in the mix.
works like a charm.


Faisal Abid, The NonProfit Center of Boston
At the NonProfit Center of Boston, we have a male and female restroom on each floor. In an effort to be more inclusive, we built out a separate single occupancy/gender neutral restroom on one of our floors that is also fully ADA compliant. We added signs in each of our existing restrooms that notify visitors and tenants that there is another option if they are more comfortable.
We have had this now for about two years and have found that it is appreciated by tenants and visitors to our center alike. It’s also directly next to our mothering room and doubles as a changing station when needed. We’ve had no issues whatsoever with any of our tenants since they still have the option of using gender specific restrooms. Highly recommend having one available!


Dominic Lucchesi, David Brower Center
Here is a look at the signage that we placed outside all of our restrooms this morning:
Inline image 1
Inline image 1

I think there is some more work to be done, but hopefully this is a step in the right direction. Any feedback would be most appreciated!


Misha Palin, Citizen Engagement Laboratory
When we opened in March we were asked by one of our potential tenants what we could do to have more inclusive restrooms. As we were remodeling we spoke to the architects, general contractors, and building owners to see what would be our options. We have multiple stalls in each bathroom and we were not allowed to have all gender bathrooms according to building code.Our solution was to place a sign inside and out of each restroom and I offer keys to single use bathrooms on different floors for anyone who would feel more comfortable using single-use bathrooms.
Thank you for all the examples of signs and videos. They would have been helpful as we navigated this territory.Here are the resources I consulted:

Inline image 1
Inline image 1


Dustin Barrington, HNS Life Center
We are in a more conservative community, so no one has expressed much interest in gender neutral restrooms thus far.Assuming, however, that this could happen, we do have a “single use” restroom adjacent to the Men’s and Women’s restrooms that also has a changing table and is designated for Families. Our original intention was to serve parents of either gender who may need to change a diaper. By default, it is available for anyone that feels more comfortable not sharing a restroom regardless of their reason.This provides a useful hygiene option without requiring us to define a position.


Angela Baldridge, The Plantory
We have gendered (male/female) restrooms with individual stalls in them (no urinals) so people can have privacy but can use the restroom that best fits their identity, and we have a single unit restroom with a shower and changing table so that folks have another option if they don’t identify with the binary genders, or if they just want to use a single bathroom. Our staff intentionally uses the single unit one so that use of that bathroom isn’t some sort of signifier. We were required to have separate restrooms by code, but we are changing our signage soon to make them more inclusive as well.

Restroom Security & Safety


From Ask-NCN 2.23.18


Remy-Anne Viajar, Sobrato Family Foundation
We are interested to hear what other groups have done to address restroom safety, security and access at any of their centers/ buildings.
Due to an increasing amount of serious safety/ facility related issues (including tenant complaints) surrounding our restrooms, we are considering having all of our restrooms locked and requiring punch code to gain access.

To make things a bit more interesting, here are some of our fun facts about our building:

  • We operate a 2 story, multi-tenant (13) building, a little over 100,000 sq.ft
  • We only have 1 FTE onsite (M-F from 8am-5pm)
  • Within this building we operate a very busy conference center, that outside organizations also use.
  • On any given day, our Center hosts government and community leaders and our tenants’ clients, which include families, children, individuals with developmental disabilities, individuals in homelessness, and people struggling with mental illness.
  • We are also located adjacent to a tent camp for homeless individuals

We strive and want to keep our environment warm and welcoming to all, but unfortunately seem to have reached the tipping point where controlled access is now needed. Look forward to your feedback and welcome suggestions!


Judy Lind, Kukui Children’s Center
We operate a similar center in a similar neighborhood.
All of our restrooms are locked. Every employee has a key and we keep keys in the conference room.
That has worked well for us.
As for access, the front door is open from 7:30 to 5pm, 7 days a week. All tenant ED’s have a key which allows them access before and after those hours. There is a gate to the parking lot that automatically opens at 7:30 am(earlier on days the garbage company comes) and closes at 6:30 p.m. Anyone in the parking lot can still exit. There is a code which tenants have to operate the gate manually if they need to let someone in.
There is an intercom to each office by the front door. If someone needs to come in after normal operating hours, the person calls the program who comes to open the door. We don’t open it remotely because we want to see who is coming in.
We also have video cameras all around the building. When there have been incidents, the police can access the video which has happened several times. The recordings self erase every 30 days and can be accessed by our property manager.
Hope this helps.


Valerie Hill, Center for Social Change
We are dealing with the same tipping point….
We occupy about 3 floors of an 8 floor office building.All of our members have nearly 24/7 access to the space, so we needed solutions that are secure but not prohibitive to easy use of the space.

We installed cameras only facing entrances/exits as to intrude as little as possible. The blink cameras were bought off amazon and send video to a cloud when triggered by motion. We only have them set to record outside of staffed hours at this point. You can also purchase very cheap fake cameras with AA battery powered blinking lights to look real.

We have schlage locks from home depot with codes on our bathrooms and main doors. All of the bathrooms have the same simple code which is posted inside our space. I highly recommend this over physical keys as they were always getting lost, left in bathroom, etc.

For the main space entrance doors, I would not recommend the code solution we have, too easy for people to share. We are about to take the next leap to access control with Salto systems, built for co-working. Each person with have a key fob which we can deactivate easily if needed. Soon they will upgrade the system and people can use a phone app for entrance instead.

As far as guests, I am working on reusable guest lanyards that would list which org the person is visiting. Looking for other ideas!


From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 5/11/16


Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Centers Network
We’ve gotten a request for more information about how centers collect fees on late rent payments.

1. Can you share your clause from your lease or license about late fees?
2. How much do you charge? Is it a flat fee or a percentage of rent?

Please share any insight you have into this process!


Alan Ziter, The NTC Foundation
See the clause below from our Lease Agreement that outlines Late Fees for late rent payment. We encourage any Resident Group that may need to pay late to notify us in advance regarding the circumstances as we want to work with them to stay current. This is more for those that casually or habitually pay late without notification.


“Late Charge: With the exception of Real Property Taxes paid as Additional Rent which carries a higher late charge pursuant to Section 13, if any payment due hereunder is not received by the 5th day after the date the payment is due, a late charge in the amount of 5% of the payment amount shall be charged to, and payable by, Resident Group.”


Nada Zohdy, OpenGov Hub
Our rent is due from tenant members on the first of the month but we always offer a one week grace period of them to get payments in. After that time a late fee takes effect, which is always 10% of the total amount due.


This is the stock language in our licensing agreements:
“Licensee shall pay all fees to Licensor on April 1, 2016, and by the first of each month thereafter. Licensor will offer a one-week grace period each month to collect license fees. If Licensee fails to make any payment of the License Fee by the seventh day of each month (after the one week grace period ends), then Licensee shall pay Licensor a late charge of ten percent (10%) of the amount of such payment.”


Pam Mauk, Together Center
Our clause says the following, and I don’t think in 26 years we have used it, although we have mentioned it a time or two.


4.3 Late Charge. If any installment of rent is not paid within ten (10) days of the due date, a late charge of five percent (5%) of the rents owed with a minimum of fifty dollars ($50) shall be added as additional rent. In the event that any installment of rent or any late charge is not paid in full on or before the thirtieth (30th) day of the month, interest on the unpaid amounts shall begin to accrue at the rate of eight percent (8%) per annum until paid in full.


Online Resource Center

Policies for Public Room Rentals:

NEW’s Conference Room Policies and Procedures, Detailed
NEW’s Conference Room Policies and Procedures, 1 page Summary
Room Rental Policies for the Community Resource Center of the United Way of Houston
Mansour Center’s Rental Policies
Space Usage Agreement and License – The Alliance Center for Sustainable Colorado
David Brower Center Event Contract Agreement
David Brower Center License and Use Agreement
See also Insurance and Liability


Marketing Event Space

Mansour Center’s Conference Center Marketing for Corporate Events
Mansour Center’s Conferene Center Marketing for Wedding and Social Events


Topics Below

More to come…. 
What to Charge for Program Space
Equipment Needed
Furnishings – Chairs
After Hour Pricing for Venue Rentals


Email if you have anything for the topics below:
Operating Procedures, Design/Layout, Square Footage, Other??


For Themes and Strategies for Gatherings, head here.


What to Charge for Program Space

From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 8/9/16

Irene Lehrer Sandalow, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
We might have found a space for this project, but we need to figure out the fee structure and I am hoping you can help with our thinking.

The space has three components:
1. Full and part time hot desk spaces
2. Permanent spaces for organizations working there every day, including closed office spaces
3. Program space: this space will be open to community members. However, for two of the organizations, the program space is their office space. (These organizations train people of all ages, including Rabbinic students to study Jewish texts in the original language) One organization will likely use it Monday – Friday from 10am – 2pm and occasional evenings and the other organization a couple of afternoons a week. They are using the largest space on the floor. This program space will also serve as Jewish library for community members.

I have a tentative fee structure for the hot desks ($400 f/t and $250 p/t) and permanent desks, but I am not sure how to calculate the fee for using the program space.

Thaddeus Squire, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia
One considering in pricing and commons spaces – everything except your desks – is whether you wish to upcharge it to member or include it in the “fully loaded” cost of the desks and transient membership rates. We do the latter, but we restrict the use of common spaces depending the level of members (Full, Light, Basic, etc.). Up-charging internal stakeholders for commons can feel a bit like the airlines charing for baggage – feels like nickel and diming.

The other consideration is whether you rent the common spaces to non-members (outside groups) or retain those spaces as a benefit of membership. To have a membership contract and let our your spaces erodes the value of membership, in my opinion. So we never let our spaces out to non-members. It also keeps the spaces available for use by members.

Erin Prefontaine, The Jerry Forbes Center Foundation
We have a similar situation: 40, 000+ ft2 of office space that includes closed offices, cubicles, hot desks, open collaboration spaces, a communal kitchen, small, med & large meeting and board rooms, a class room and a 4200+ ft2 event space.

We’re doing a couple of things to help with the cost calculations, which for us determine the price calculations:
– We’re working with a commercial property management person to help us ensure our leased space is charged at a rate that is well below commercial lease rates in our city (we’re aiming for -40%), that the rate includes everything (there is no base rent as the building is free-hold title, but utilities, operations staff costs (communications, property management, reception), and contribution to a capital reserve fund and an operating reserve fund)
– We are allotting the meeting spaces to each tenant, proportionate to the amount of lease space each has. We don’t know exactly what that would look like, but an example would be: If you’re renting 3500 ft2 of space, you receive 10 hours of meeting space per month.
– We are enabling the tenants to trade their free allotment of time: tenant A has 10 hours per month, but routinely only uses 6, they can donate their additional 4 to tenant B who only has 2 hours but needs an additional 4.
– Because of our funding agreements/model, we are not able to charge a membership to the Centre, so we are considering all charities in our City members of our community and charging a reduced rate (TBD) per hour to them for meeting space.
– We are charging a premium, hopefully still below market value, to for-profits wanting to rent meeting space.
– We are also brokering leases to those charities that only need large spaces for part of the year: charity A needs 3500 ft2 for 4 months, then only a third of that for the rest of the year. We would then encourage other tenants who are hiring summer students, or part-time workers to lease form said charity to help off-set costs. We are encouraging them to rent the hot-desks (which we will charge out a premium for) for times when they need to: financial audits, etc.
– We are encouraging any charity leaning toward a hot-desk for part-time work to rent a full-time cubicle, as they are cheaper overall.

If you have the opportunity to work with a property management person (I highly recommend seeking one for your board, or those of your tenants), that will really help you determine what you need to charge to be fair to the tenants, but that will ensure the Centre is fiscally sustainable.

Essentials for planning an Event Space

From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 9/9/13

Janna Six, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
The Alliance Center building in Denver is undergoing a major renovation to make capital improvements AND to expand and activate our event space and make it more useful for tenants and the public. We will have 3,000 sq ft of event space available on the first floor (of the 6 story building).

In order make the event space the best it can be, we’d like to hear from you. What features/ equipment are essential? What lessons have you learned? How do you charge tenants for use of the space? Please share your thoughts by replying to my email. If you have produced your own event space procedures manual, would you be willing to share that too? Thanks! Once we get ours figured out (in January?), we’ll post our event space procedures on the NCN website.(See policy and marketing documents above.)
Pam Brems, Mansour Center
Some suggestions of “must have’s” for event space rental:

  • Event Management Software – not only to keep the calendar but to allow you to run reports, showing utilization, invoicing, receivables, setup information, communications with rental customers, etc.
  • Tables on WHEELS, preferable that bend down, to eliminate the need to lift and stack…tilt and roll, so to speak
  • Chairs WITHOUT arms to accommodate all sizes of participate and allow easier stacking. Also avoids damage to the arms from being shoved under tables and improper stacking.
  • Adjustable lighting, particularly near the front of the room/screens, so the front lights can be dimmed when presentations are being shown, but the attendees still have light at their work stations/tables.
  • Wireless internet – with adequate bandwidth for many guests, each of whom may have 2-3 devices (smart phone, tablet and laptop)

Tom Olivas, Girls Scouts Orange County
Good ideas, I would like to add to the comments below, durable wheels/castors on the chairs are also a great feature and be sure the chair back and seat are of a material or fabric that is easy to clean.

Thomas Gaylon, The Center for Family Resources
If renting space to outside groups make sure you have a contract and get a damage deposit.


From Ask-NCN Discussion

Vicki Ireland – Posner Center for International Development, 12/6/16
I am the Office Manager at the Posner Center for International Development. We are looking to purchase a bulk amount of chairs to live in our Common area for daily use as well as events held in the space. We are looking for something sturdy, stackable, and comfortable! I figure this is something that a lot of you might have in your space. Any recommendations on where to purchase at a good price point?

Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
I got these recently at Sams club and they are nice and comfortable and only $20 each. I have some black ones that were purchased forever ago and was trying to add to them but some of the similar black stackable ones were over $60 and some over $100 which is so expensive. These chairs were the best look and value I could find. Not sure the picture will show but trying to attach one.

Rebecca Landau, Urban Land Conservancy
Check with Merchant furniture. They often have very good used furniture. We have been very happy with what we got for Curtis Park and Tramway.
Similar to this:


After Hour Pricing for Venue Rentals

From Ask-NCN 10.23.17

Tarshea Sanderson, Center 4 Social Change
Hi, I am the venue rental coordinator at my workplace. I would like to know how best to price venues at our location after normal business hours. Can anyone give me a pricing guideline. I would certainly appreciate it!

Marc Kondrup, Midland Shared Spaces
We add $20/hour for anything after 5:00pm or on weekends. We don’t have an event coordinator on our staff, so this does not include an MSS staff person to be on site, just extra for lights, HVAC, etc.

Mike Gilbert, The Jones Trust
It is important to understand what your added cost is for after hours use of space. Things to consider:

  • Cost of security or maintenance staffing
  • Cost of utility consumption
  • Cost of heating/cooling
  • Cost of housekeeping (if any)
  • Is the price the same for a tenant partner as it is for an outside agency?

The big thing is how do you staff and what does it cost? You need someone in the building to be able to respond to emergency if a sprinkler head breaks, fire alarm goes off, etc.
Staffing cost is the big starting point and then utilities. I would expect that your true cost for extended hours with 1 staff person is somewhere near $30-$35 hour.


Topics Below

Fee and Facilitating Conference Rooms Space


Ask-NCN Conversation 10.10.17


Debbie Shoemaker, Community Foundation of Southern Arizona
I am helping an organization that is developing a new nonprofit community center. They are currently Developing their business model and are looking for any input on facilitating the conference room space? Is there any charge for tenants or co-working members? What fees are you charging? What would be the fee for outside users? Do you have individual fees for conference room AV equipment etc.? How do you handle after hour events. Does your Onside Manager help with after hour events? I would appreciate any input on this subject. Thank you
Shelby Bradbury, Nonprofit Innovation Center
At the NIC we only charge for after-hours usage, anything on the weekends or after 5 pm on weekdays. It’s a $50/hour charge. We only allow tenants to use the common space at NIC. We have a conference center next door for nonprofits in our community, free of charge. We provide A/V equipment to our two large meeting rooms.


Charlene Altenhain, Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center
Free conference space is a benefit extended to our tenant nonprofits. They can use the space any time and they are responsible for set up, clean up, and if used after hours, they are responsible for securing the building. We also provide A/V at no charge. Community partner nonprofits can use the space during the day, but they have to be sponsored by a tenant to use the space after hours. Then the tenant is responsible for securing the building. Our staff handles scheduling and making sure the rooms are clean and ready to be used.


Sarah Reidy-Jones, Children and Family Services Center, Inc.
We offer unlimited conference room usage for our partner tenants (10 year lease). We have 10 conference rooms that seat from 6-100. Non-partner tenants get 5 free hours of usage and a nominal fee ($15/$25/$50/$100 an hour depending on size of room).
Due to the popularity of these rooms, we limit outside usage to groups that are specifically working with our partner tenants. We do require off-hours security guards (approximately $25/hour) if outside our normal security guard staffing. We have an IT staff that assists with A/V equipment but no off-hours manager. We provide spider phones, projectors and microphones/speakers at no cost but on a first-come, first-serve basis. We use Outlook Calendars to book our meeting room spaces.


Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
We consider meeting and banquet room space a tenant benefit so we do not charge tenants but do charge anyone else that is not a tenant including nonprofits and for profits. There isn’t really a restriction on tenants except there is a limited amount of times the banquet room can be used by the smaller tenants to keep people from renting the smallest suite and monopolizing the meeting rooms so just a fairness check on size but never had an issue with it to date. After hours is different I even charge tenants for afterhours especially weekends. I determine what is “after hours” by if I have to extend when the air is on, have housekeeping make an additional trip or extend security. Tenants can NOT sponsor non tenants if a non-tenant goes through a tenant to make a meeting reservation so they don’t have to pay I charge it back to the tenant. Partnership meetings are of course allowed but if the tenant is not really part of the meeting they can’t sponsor by giving away space. We found that some of our meeting rooms were not being utilized as much as they could be so when we started charging outside groups it really helped utilize the center, spread the word about the center because it was good marketing having outside groups come in, and was a nice revenue stream that allowed us to add extra benefits for the tenants.


Kim Jones, Nonprofit Village

At the Nonprofit Village, we also do not charge current members for use of meeting space. However, we have started to put a limit on the number of hours based on whether the organization is virtual or full service. They all book their own time online, and at the end of each month we draw the results of the number of hours used. Then we severely punish and publicly humiliate those that go over the limit (just kidding). We charge them back for the extra hours used. It seemed to get everyone in control because we haven’t charged in months.

Nonmember organizations are charged $25/hour, lower than the rate for most county space. Evening and weekend rates are higher. Members cannot sponsor nonmembers unless the member is a part of the meeting. All equipment is included in the room usage (phone line, speaker pod, TV with HDMI cable, screen and projector. No laptop is included though. Free wifi is available. We do not offer assistance, except to answer setup questions, even for nonmember groups. Hope this helps. Feel free to contact offline if necessary.




Free Trainings

NCN Webinar – Security and Your Center: Safe Shared Spaces (from American Red Cross) (from the US Government)


Paid Trainings

Alice Training (Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate)
Disaster Resistant Communities Group


Documents From Our Community (from the Online Resource Center)

Emergency Management Manual – Denver Shared Spaces/Urban Land Institute
Emergency Response Plan – Family Partnership Center
Emergency Response Plan – David Bower Center
Loitering Policy – David Bower Center
Safety Policies – Together Center
Tenant Emergency Guidelines – ECB Management Services, Inc.
Bomb Threats, Fire & Tornado, and Medical Emergency – Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation
Emergency Action Plan – The Alliance Center
Tenant Template for Emergency Procedures – The Alliance Center


 Topics Below

Emergency Communications System Suggestions
Health and Safety (Committee) in Co-operative/HUB
Approaching Troubled Individuals in Your Space
Security Protocol
Emergency Manual/Loitering Policy
Safety, Lockdown and Confidentiality
Use of Nonprofit Center During Disaster Response
Password Management
Security Systems


Additional Resources

Mental Health First Aid

Emergency Communications Systems – Suggestions?

Ask-NCN Discussion on 6/1/16

Megan Devenport, Denver Shared Spaces, 6/1/16
I’m helping a partner of ours price out options for an integrated emergency mass communications system that would allow them to communicate with all staff in the 5 shared spaces and commercial buildings they manage. Does anyone have recommendations for systems or vendors of this type of system? We are starting to price out options and are looking first at Omnilert, but would love to have any insight other folks might have.

Michael Kennedy, Specialty Legal Clinic Modernization Project, 6/2/16
I would highly recommend pulling together appropriate stakeholders to pin down the fundamental functions you are trying to achieve with this system prior to exploring products. Even if it is only a a short list. This list of needs can then become the basis by which you evaluate potential products (along with price, usability, etc). For a former client of mine, taking this early step helped them realize that they could achieve the one way communication requirements they had by simply enabling the paging function on a few key phones within their integrated VoIP phone system. Saved money and time in the end.

Olivia Markham, The Commons, 6/2/16
We use electronic communications for our emergency communications through It’s primarily designed for teacher student correspondence but we were able to adapt it to suit our needs. It a free service and is user driven meaning our tenants and their employees decide if they would like to receive notifications via email, text message or both and sign themselves up. Our tenants can reply back and ask more questions when needed. Their questions are just sent out to the “class” owners which is our building’s emergency communications team. Each tenant is grouped in the system as a class. We can choose to send out messages to just a few tenants or all tenants with just a few clicks or screen taps. We’ve never had to use it during a true emergency but it works great for quarterly drills and false alarms. I’ve downloaded their app to my personal and work cells and can be anywhere in the building or even out in the community and responding to events occurring which is pretty cool since I don’t have to be near my computer if an emergency does occur.

Our local fire and police departments are in full support of this system as well as private consultants brought in to review our emergency response plan for the building. Furthermore this system frees up the lead safety officer’s phone line for communication with the emergency responders as well as our national alarm monitoring company.

If you want any more info. feel free to reach out.

Dominic Lucchesi, David Bower Center, 6/2/16
We use a service called Club Texting for our emergency communications. Folks who work in the building can opt in to the service on our website by inputing their name and phone number. Users can also be entered manually and grouped into categories (i.e. emergency, suite 210, house staff, etc).

It’s pay-as-you-go and not very expensive.

Jaime Engbrecht, The California Endowment (from 12/15/15) We’re in the process of implementing a center-wide emergency communication system early next year. To do this, we’ll be using a web-based software called Send Word Now which allows anyone with a link (that we’ve provided) to opt-in to our database by providing a cell phone number. In an emergency situation a text message blast, recorded voicemail, or e-mail can be sent out to everyone on the list.

Karen Maciorwoski, CT Nonprofit Center, 12/15/15
Fantastic resource, thank you! We implemented a site-wide VOIP system but a few tenants opted out and negated our ability to connect with everyone.


Health and Safety (Committee) in Co-operative/HUB

Ask-NCN Discussion on 6/28/16

Anne Newman, Co-operative of Specialty Community Legal Clinics of Ontario Inc.
Does anyone have experience creating a Joint Health and Safety Committee a hub environment, where multiple service providers in one location form a committee together? As I understand it, each organization would have their own responsibilities to the Act, but somehow collaborate over and above legislated requirements, or perhaps support one another to meet the requirements?
Any experience would be helpful….thanks!

James Thomson, New Path Foundation
At our common roof locations we have an overall Health and Safety Committee made up of a representative from each organization – usually someone from their own specific Health and Safety Committee. This way there is a link between each organizations committee and the overall one for the common roof. The overall committee looks at facility related items that are brought forward such as MSDS reporting, repairs and maintenance related items, etc.

Dustin Barrington, HNS Life Center
I am glad to see this topic on the listserv. Health and Safety are a high, but often a neglected priority. Thanks for bringing it up!

If I understand you correctly, the role of your committee would be to collaborate on safety efforts beyond legal requirements, correct?

It is important to understand and comply with what local regulations define as your legal responsibility as a center (e.g. Fire suppression, egress, emergency response protocols to XYZ…). I would not involve a committee in anything that your center is legally obligated to provide. To keep things simple and clear we made facility safety a key priority for my position

However, it is very important that everyone be on the same page and pulling in the same direction in regards to health and safety. Culture creates context. A safety committee is a great way to move forward with awareness, shared training, emergency preparedness, coordinated responsibilities in response to an event, business continuity planning, etc. Aligning vested interests is a key to synergy.

Our approach to safety has been to foster a common mindset by communicating our priorities, providing common resources, coordinating efforts and championing safety generally.

We prioritize all of our Operations efforts through a simple rubric of Safety, Security, Operations and Experience. In other words, at our shared facility, our team prioritizes activity and effort to ensure that:
1. people don’t get hurt
2. people don’t suffer loss
3. that everything works
4. people have a pleasant and positive experience

We are coordinating with outside sources to provide shared resources to all our partners. We are in the process of integrating our Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) for the center with the COOP plans of all our partners so that we will have a coordinated response to certain significant events. Integration is easier if all of your partners use a common resource like or (these are US resources, but there may be equivalents in Canada).

As a center we are taking the lead with programming life safety training (CPR, AED, First Aid) for staff and setting schedules for drills (fire, tornado, hostile intruder). We are using our Tenant Advisory Group to press this agenda forward and hope to get more traction on this in the coming months.

All this being said, it is ultimately the responsibility of each organization to be prepared. Getting a committee together provides some comradery and accountability for a very important but otherwise abstract task that often gets set aside.

I hope that helps!


Approaching Troubled Individuals in Your Space

Ask-NCN Discussion on 10/13/15

Katie Edwards, 10/13
So many of our buildings are public spaces, and that means they are open to people from all walks of life. While we want to create a welcoming environment, sometimes that means we are inviting people into our space that may pose a danger to our staff and the staff of our tenant partners.

What policies and procedures have you developed around approaching people who don’t seem to be working with any of your tenant partners that may pose a threat to your building community (i.e. someone who appears to be mentally ill)? How have you tried to compensate from any innate biases around race, gender, and class in your approach?

Thaddeus Squire, CultureWorks on 10/14
We don’t have any specific policies, but we do make people aware of what to do if there is an emergency or disturbance – the procedure of calling the police and building security, do’s and dont’s. We generally cultivate a neighborhood eye-out culture where everyone is motivated to be vigilant and that has worked for us, even through a couple incidents. We’ve not had any theft, vandalism, or assault even though we’re open 24/7 to members.

We are, however, in a 24/7 secured building, which helps a lot as a front line of security.

Jennifer Pedroni, Community Partners Center for Health and Human Services, 10/14
We don’t currently have any official policies or procedures at this point, although this is an issue for us. We are currently investigating providing Mental Health First Aid training for all of the employees in our center later this fall.

Dustin Barrington, HNS Life Center, 10/14
Here at the Life Center, we are in the process of creating/revising policies and procedures related to potentially dangerous individuals.

I recently attended an ALICE Active Shooter training seminar (

The content was specific but very applicable to all forms of threat response. The biggest takeaway for me was that planning and training (before an event) coupled with increased communication and empowerment to make decisions/be proactive (in the midst of an event) is the most effective way for the people in your facility to minimize the threat to themselves and others.

Particularly, in dealing with a person who clearly has the intention to harm others… having a plan, responding quickly and minimizing their ability to manage/control the situation are all important.

Responding to intentional violence should be a integral component of every disaster preparedness plan. (You need one of those too!).

I think that we should work on a basic template that Shared Spaces could just adapt to their specific situations.

Hillary Brooks, David Brower Center, 10/14
Part of the David Brower Center’s difficulty in handling these situations is that in our mixed use space, there is an art gallery open to the public and visitors attend events and meetings. We want to keep staff safe, but at the same time make sure that staff has the guidance they need not to leap to conclusions about whether someone belongs in the space or not. Sometimes implicit bias can unconsciously lead humans to conclude that certain folks are dangerous when they’re not actually dangerous and should be welcomed. We’re grappling with how to balance all the issues at hand.

James Thompson, Common Roof, 10/15
As we act as the landlord and facility manager in partnership with our organizational partners, the following “Security Enhancement Protocol” was developed as an addendum to our building security policy (Entry, Staff/Public Access, Alarm, locking of doors, etc.) which, for public access, rests with our reception staff and the lead staff from each organization…

Due to the nature of services offered, and location in the community, there may, from time to time, be a need for enhanced security at The Common Roof. This may be due to situations such as a distraught client currently obtaining service, a previous client that may be upset and visiting the site, an individual from the community creating problems on site, or perhaps persons continuing to trespass after being asked to leave. In all of these cases, every attempt should be made to ensure that the client’s agency worker, or other staff member from the agency, assumes responsibility for de-escalation work with the individual(s). Should the individual be unknown, then Reception will attempt to calm the individual(s). In all situations, attempts to calm the individual(s) should only be undertaken at a level of safety that is acceptable to the Agency staff or Reception. Should the safety level be unacceptable, a Common Roof Security Enhancement will occur after the Agency staff person or Reception has sought authority from their Agency Executive Director / CEO (or delegate) in the case of Agency staff, or Supervisor (or delegate) in the case of Reception. It is at the discretion of agency Executive Directors / CEO (or their delegates) as to whether law enforcement is required. Any one Agency Executive Director / CEO is authorized to determine and initiate Security Enhancement. This may include the locking of all outside doors and notifying all staff working at the Common Roof of the Security Enhanced measures, the projected duration, and that individual staff members are responsible for greeting their clients personally at the main reception for scheduled appointments. Elements of Security Enhancement may include measures in addition to the locking of outside doors depending upon the situation. In all situations, should a situation be deemed unsafe and require an immediate response from enforcement, a call to 911 will be made.

Security Protocol

From an Ask-NCN Discussion July-Aug 2015

Cesar Gaxiola, J. Walter Cameron Center in Hawaii, 7/18/15
Has anyone developed protocols for security/safety concerns?

What happens when a person walks into an agency and creates a concern for the agency staff? Would the agency call the police or the agency calls the Center main office to solve the problem?

Would a violence situation have the same protocol as the smaller concern?

Any of you has security staff on board or hires a firm to provide security? Which creates additional costs with liability, insurance, training, etc…

Can you please share any information you may have including policies, committees or anything else you have done to deal with the above?

Shelby Bradbury, Nonprofit Innovation Center, 7/28/15
No written policy but…


  • At the Nonprofit Innovation Center we subcontract a security company for the entire campus. Also, every guest checks in with security or reception, logs into a sign in sheet and waits in the lobby for the person they are here to see.
  • We also have a panic button installed at reception and the security desk that shuts down entrance to both buildings if there were ever a need.
  • We have security cameras across campus as well.



  • We have a committee that meets quarterly to discuss safety concerns around campus.
  • We have designed emergency evacuation instructions (partnered with local fire department for guidance) and have bi-annual emergency drills.
  • Because we have shared workspaces and kitchens we have put together MSDS binders for each area.
  • When a new tenant or staff person arrives we schedule orientations and safety tours so that they know how to operate gates and doors manually in the event that power is cut.
  • We also have an emergency contact sheet that includes both management and executives of each organization in the event of an emergency we can contact each other even when off-campus.
  • Because we are located on the banks of the Sacramento River, when it rains good we sometimes flood so this prompted us to take an even deeper look at emergency situations for our campus.
  • We keep first aid kits in each break room, first aid disaster kits on each floor and each org has a small package with flashlights and other items available to them.
  • Many tenants and staff are CPR, First Aid and AED certified. We have two AED machines on campus.


Pam Mauk, Together Center, 8/3/15
We have previously worked with agencies so all should have emergency preparedness plans and information, and this is distributed around our campus.

We have had some more specific safety issues recently related to loitering and other serious issues. We reviewed a lot of standard landlord language and tailored it to meet some of our concerns in the attached policy. It is certainly not the be-all, but might help others get started. We worked with our local police on some of their expectations in its development.

I just sent our new safety protocols. I would add that police have had to train us in terms of our bias toward helping everyone. They note: we don’t approach anybody that is causing concern by ourselves. We come in pairs or more. Your staff (at our 20 agencies and at our front door) should call 9-1-1 when they are uneasy, and not try and handle everything from the point of view of “helping others.” Safety first.

We hire a security firm, but this is for night-time checks. We like knowing that people will not end up sleeping inside overnight in our strip mall setting of three buildings, so they check all doors one time, move people along if they are sleeping outside, and do a walk through the buildings one time. This is paid in the property expenses (NNN/CAM) by tenants. We did price having more security for night-time events, lobby presence, but that would gravely impact costs.

Megan Devenport, Denver Shared Spaces 8/4/15
We helped our partners the Urban Land Conservancy develop a template Emergency Management Manual that they can modify for each of their commercial properties. It touches on some of the issues raised in the initial questions.

Emergency Manuals/Loitering Policy

From an Ask-NCN discussion in March 2016

Megan Devenport, 3/17/16
Here’s the excerpt from the Emergency Manual we helped Urban Land Conservancy develop. It’s not necessarily the end all, be all, but tried to strike the balance between compassion and security.

“In the event of suspected trespassing in the building, please notify building management. If this occurs after hours and they are not in the building on official business, you may ask them to leave or call the Denver Police Department at the non-emergency number 720-913-2000. Be prepared to share the description of the person and their location. If it appears that the person may be in need of support from homelessness services, you can alternatively call the Denver Police Department Homeless Hotline at 720-913-2000 and share both description and location. Please keep in mind that Tramway provides a wide range of services in a diverse neighborhood. Do not automatically assume that the person you encounter has no official business in the building.”

Dominic, The David Brower Center, 3/17/16
We’ve updated our policy regarding loitering on the premises. I think we were successful in striking a balance between compassion for all community members and the realities of running a private work space.

DBC Loitering Policy

Safety, Lockdown and Confidentiality

Ask-NCN Discussion, Oct 2012

Kim McNamer, Deschutes Children’s Foundation, 10/24/12
Our facilities promote a community of services for children and families and because of the populations our partners serve, we sometimes have situations where clients become aggressive and the partners need some assistance either calming the situation down or calling the police. I thought we had a good set of policies and procedures in place to cover these situations, but one that recently occurred has brought those procedures into question, particularly around how we do a lock down if necessary and how we handle the confidentiality of the client who may be the issue. Each partner has their own confidentiality policies and we have one as well, but I have found they don’t always work together and it concerns me when the safety of the entire building occupants is called into question.
Does anyone have some good samples of what they are using for lock down procedures and confidentiality policies? Thank you!

Claudia Anderson, Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation (which runs the Donald W. Reynolds Community Foundation), 10/29/12
The safety of our non-profit staff and clients as well as visiting community members is a top concern of ours. We have the following “systems” in place to assist should any “intruder-type” emergency arise.

  • We have security cameras throughout the building’s common areas which can be viewed in real time as well as a viewed later as a recording
  • All of our alarm key pads can be used as panic buttons which will summon the sheriff
  • Our receptionist also has a panic button that will summon the sheriff
  • Of course, we can always call 911 on our phone system as well
  • We have a loud speaker system that is a part of our phone system for which we have created a special code word that any resident agency staff can use to alert all building occupants to an emergency (note, if it was a fire it wouldn’t be necessary to use the code word. The code word is more for an intruder-type emergency). Once the code word is heard, all non-profit staffs are trained to lock down their offices –our building manager handles common areas
  • Our domestic violence group also has an alarm pad with panic button in their office as well as bullet proof glass for the windows.
  • We have a sign in sheet for guests to the building located at the receptionist’s desk so in case of an emergency we have an idea of who might be in the building at any given time.


None of these are particularly high-tech, but we continue to review with building staff to ensure awareness. We review the systems annually with all EDs of resident agencies. With the amount of non-profit staff turnover that we have, we also continue to emphasize emergency training with each new hire at every organization. Luckily we have not had any incidences in our 11 years of operation.

We feel very strongly that once a situation escalates to such an emergency, our first concern is safety, not confidentiality. Therefore, we focus on keeping everyone safe first and foremost. Any after-the-fact confidentiality issues are the responsibility of the agency handling the client. We would assist the agency, if necessary, in this process. If the intruder was not visiting any particular organization, this would be our responsibility.

Use of Nonprofit Center During Disaster Response

Ask-NCN Discussion, Jan-Feb 2014

Pat Smith, Serve Denton
Serve Denton is a 32,000 health and human services center in Denton, TX. We have a large parking lot, and some large interior spaces for events that could be used for a shelter or staging area for a disaster. We have been approached by an assistant city manager to consider if our facilities could be used in a disaster response…strictly planning at this point.

I was wondering if any other centers have been involved in disaster response, or established an agreement with a local municipality to be available. Any thoughts, experience, or planning documents would be appreciated.


Amanda Herbert, Wood Buffalo Community Village I run a small non-profit centre in Northern Alberta, Canada. Randomly, I’m also Certified Emergency Manager, have a disaster studies degree, and I have five years of experience leading Red Cross and municipal responses to people evacuated in emergencies so I’m feeling kind of uniquely qualified to respond to your email!
A couple things that popped into my head when I saw your email…
· insurance/liability considerations – For example, what if the building burns down while it’s being used as a shelter? Check your policy. You might want to have additional insurance. Is this going to result in additional costs to your agency? Would the municipality willing to cover those costs? Do they have insurance that will cover you? I’m not sure how this would work in the US.

  • 24 hour 365 access – How are they going to get access to your facility after hours if they need to? Are they expecting someone from your agency to be on-call just in case? If so, do you have at least three people that are willing to share that responsibility? It’s too much to expect one person to be available 24/365. What about over Christmas holidays? Emergencies happen at any time of day and any time of year. People go on vacations, and go camping for the weekend, and whatever agreement you make with them, make sure you understand what their expectations are.
  • I’m guessing they would go through a facility check list with you guys to make sure your space is appropriate. Does your facility have wheelchair accessible washrooms? What about showers? Does it have cooking facilities? For a shelter, my municipality required these in a potential facility. Of course, we might still use facility as a staging area or evacuees drop-in centre or recovery centre even without those things.
  • Building cleaning & maintenance when there is an emergency – Who is taking care of the washrooms, entrances, etc. Their volunteers? Your staff? Who is providing toilet paper, cleaning equipment and supplies? Them or you? Are you expected to absorb these costs or will you be reimbursed?
  • What about things that are wrecked in process of the facility being used as a shelter? Like a window gets broken, or a cup of coffee gets spilled on your photocopier? It’s a good idea to go through a facility walkthrough with shelter manager and note anything that is broken or damaged before the shelter takes over. Do it again when they leave so that it’s documented. When I worked for my municipality, we agreed we would reimburse those costs to facility. I’m not sure how it would work down there, but it’s something to think about.
  • Security – if it’s being used as a shelter, are they going to take responsibility for ensuring the security of the all the agency offices and whatever you have in your facility on a 24 hour basis?
  • It might be worth asking how many other facilities they’ve identified and where you fit on that list. Are you a backup to the backup of the backup facility? Or is your facility exactly what they are looking for and going on the top of their list? You might go 10 years without a call or you might get called on three times a year for smaller evacuations.
  • What will the impact be on your facilities day to day operations? What could your resident agencies expect in terms of being able to continue with their day-to-day activities? Will there be only minor inconveniences or will their offices become inaccessible for the time that the municipality is using it? Depending on the work they do, it’s good to keep in in mind that they might also see a surge of demand for their services as a result of the emergency.


All that said…in reality, emergency powers would likely give the municipality the right to access your facility with or without your permission. When I was looking at spaces for my municipality, we signed agreements to make connections with people in advance, to be polite and build relationships. The hope was that we’d never have to take anything by force, but we knew were able to if we needed to under an declaration of emergency. Usually emergency powers give authorities the ability to use any piece of private property they wish to in order to respond the emergency. I believe this is the same in the states, although I’m less sure about municipal emergency powers…Ok, I just checked the Texas Emergency Management Statutes. Definitely the state can commandeer resources, but I couldn’t find anything extending this power to the municipal level. Here’s the power I’m talking about…

external image image001.png?part=0.1&authuser=0 pg. 11
It might be that in the US the municipalities aren’t granted this power, or it could be that they’re granted the power in a different piece of law, but that gives you the idea of what I’m talking about. They assistant city manager should be able to clarify this point. Regardless, even if the municipality can’t do it, the state could take over your space whether or not you signed an agreement if they really wanted to. Unlikely to happen, but still good to know!

I don’t know if any of that helps but I wanted to share it in case it did.
If you have any questions feel free to get in touch.

Pam Mauk, Together Center
The response from Amanda below is certainly very comprehensive. I thought I’d pipe in only because this was an arena we had board members and others pressing for us at one point. It seemed so obvious to them, and for a number of years many thought we would be a natural for hosting people during an emergency because we had a food bank, medical services etc. We finally closed down this discussion after some significant work:

1) The local city emergency response person is the one tapped to state where emergency shelters would be during a time of crisis (we don’t self-identify).
2) Our food bank noted their food is part of a larger system of emergency response and would not be necessarily available just because it’s handy.
3) Our health clinic said they would be following their own crisis protocols, which includes worrying about their staff.
4) Beyond this: we don’t really have the space or staff capacity to deal with significant numbers.


Password Management

From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 1/25/17

Owen Bailey, Eastern Land Shore ConservancyWe are organizing our disaster recovery plan and part of it is management and access to company passwords. I’m having a hard time finding a solution. Have looked at some of the password protection websites like dashlane. Does anyone have experience or advise on this?

Erin Prefontaine, The Jerry Forbes Centre
We use Meldium, it’s fast and easy to use, free for up to 5 people and I even installed it on my personal computer so I can work remotely if need-be. I like it.

Security Systems

Ask-NCN 10.25.17

Lucinda Kurschensteiner, Center 4 Social ChangeHello! We manage 3 floors of shared space in a building occupied by other tenants. Main doors on each floor are currently controlled by keypads. We are contemplating a more secure access system (fobs?) and/or other security measures. Would appreciate input from centers that have multiple floors. Thank you!

Pat Smith, Serve Denton
Most security experts will steer away from keypads because codes can easily be shared. Fobs, if stolen, can easily be deactivated.

Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
And it is a good way to monitor who is coming in the building and when and you can run reports ect. You can also control access where some fobs have more rights than others and it allows you to set door schedules of when they lock and unlock for public use. The ones we use are pretty small and can go on a key chain but you do have to audit them somewhat often because of agency turnover and try and make sure the right names are attached to the right fob ect.

Mike Gilbert, The Jones Trust
Agree, We have fob access and issue fobs with signed agreement by each user that sharing the fob means loss of fob privilege. We log each fob to the individual.

Tom Olivas, Girl Scouts of Orange County
We have multiple floors, with fob readers / electronic locks at all external ingress / egress points and several internal doors. Fobs can be programmed for specific doors, time frames, individuals, etc. We use a program called Stanley Pac that also allows us to generate reports on fob usage, control multiple buildings and lock and unlock doors remotely.


From an Ask-NCN Discussion 9/28/16

Christopher Bowyer, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
Over the past several months we have been making some modifications to our security and accessibility procedures and processes. One piece that has resulted is a definitive need for policies related to visitors of the building so that our tenants know what to expect in certain circumstances. Our elevator and stairwells are locked to visitors and we do not have a convenient location to place a concierge or security guard, thus our staff takes the brunt of validating the purpose for a visitor coming to the building, escorting and/or allowing access to visitors.


Do any of you have established policies currently in place that you have found work (or others that do not work) for visitors coming to your building for meetings, delivery personnel such as UPS/FedEx or for visitors who simply want to meet a representative of one of your tenants?


Jimmy Martin, Facilities Director, Chicago Literacy Alliance

We have a unique situation in that our main entrance, an elevator, opens directly into our space. There’s no holding area for visitors, so we’ve honed our process over the past year and a half to structure and control guest entry. We’ve found that a combination of a dedicated personal presence, in our case a community manager & coordinator, and a digital visitor kiosk have handled these needs quite well. Without a dedicated person or persons to receive and direct visitors, things would quickly devolve into chaos.


When a visitor arrives, they’re acknowledged and greeted. The guest signs in on our iPad and, if the person they’re here to see is in our “employee” list, that person gets a text message notification their guest has arrived. This also automatically creates an adhesive name badge that shows their name, optionally a photo and the name of the person they’re here to see. The system we use, Envoy, is very customizable, and I can’t recommend it enough.


The visitor badge policy is only as good as its enforcement, however. The iPad setup wouldn’t work terribly well without our welcome team ensuring all guests go through the process. Guests generally get it when they come in, though, and once a policy is established and well enforced, people respond pretty well to the structure.


I don’t know the specifics of your facility or the kind of guests you receive, but I’m guessing a dedicated physical presence plus a digital check-in would be a good start.


Misha Palin, Citizen Engagement Laboratory

We have a reception area but to cut down on our receptionist having to manage guests we signed on with iPad Receptionist which recently changed to (Found out about this through NCN!)


Pros:+people walk in and see they need to sign in+it’s fairly self explanatory +our receptionist doesn’t have to run around looking for people much of the time+it sends a text and email to the person who the guest is coming to see+it provides a report of people who are in our space+if you get the package it comes with a frame for your iPad so someone wouldn’t just walk away with it.


Cons: -It has a delivery option but most delivery people don’t expect to have to use it…so if our receptionist isn’t there, they still wonder around looking for someone to sign for the package.-if someone isn’t paying attention to their phone or email then they don’t know the person has arrived and either they are left waiting or the receptionist has to go find them anyway.-not everyone feels comfortable signing in electronically.


Things we wish it would do:>collect emails for event lists easily>mass text option in case of emergency


Online Resource Center

The Jefferson Avenue Center


Please email if you have a Conflict of Interest Policy that you would be willing to share. Thanks!


Centers with Tenants on their Board of Directors
From Doug Vilsack on 1/13/16: Posner Center’s conflict of interest policy is different from other conflict policies because we expressly note that Tenant board members do not create a conflict, even though there is quite clearly a conflict of interest on it’s face. There’s really no other way around it than to acknowledge the conflict and then say it doesn’t matter. Tenant board members still have to vote on the budget, for instance, even though that has rent implications for their own org. (Policy available by request from Posner Center Executive Director)

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