Annual conference on Nonprofits to focus on innovation

Innovation will be the focus of the College of Southern Maryland’s (CSM) Ninth Annual Nonprofit Institute (NPI) Conference Feb. 21 at CSM’s La Plata Campus. Representatives from the region’s nonprofit organizations are invited to attend this event that is designed to spark ideas of how these organizations can derive greater values from their resources.

“This year’s NPI Conference will introduce attendees to ideas, methods and resources that will help to stimulate their thinking and lead them to discover new ideas or new ways of solving old problems,” said Charles County NPI Coordinator Cara Fogarty.

Morning breakout sessions will focus on leadership, strategic planning, management, fundraising and marketing. The conference will feature local and statewide exhibitors who offer programs, grants and resources for nonprofit organizations.

Time will be set aside after lunch for attendees to meet with exhibitors. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Professional Services Hub, a joint program of NPI and Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) offering basic legal, accounting/financial and insurance-related counsel from LSM alumni.

Keynote speaker will be CSM Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute Director Thomas Luginbill.

“There are so many great nonprofits in Southern Maryland, and they are all doing wonderful things for our community,” Luginbill said. “My goal for this conference is to motivate innovative action … It’s hard for all of us to do a critical self-assessment on how we can make improvements in our personal and professional lives. New strategies, innovative projects and reprioritization in an organization’s programming can be seen as unnecessary; however, breaking out and thinking innovatively is necessary to push an organization forward into the future.”

In addition to focusing on new approaches and innovation, this year’s conference is also designed to be an opportunity for area nonprofit representatives — nonprofit board members, chief executives, staff, sponsors, volunteers, community and business leaders, young professionals and consultants — to step back for a day and rethink their organization’s direction while networking with others who are dealing with similar challenges.

“Throughout my career, I found it very valuable to attend conferences. I found that taking a break and listening to others helped to stimulate my thinking,” said St. Mary’s County Coordinator of CSM’s Nonprofit Institute Harriet Yaffe. “At the close of many conferences, I left with a renewed sense of optimism and creativity.”

Exhibitors and organizations participating in the conference include Leadership Southern Maryland/Nonprofit Institute Professional Services Hub, Volunteer Maryland, Maryland Governor’s Grants Office, Rural Maryland Council, Community Foundation of Southern Maryland, Foundation Center/Foundation Directory, the Small Business Development Center, WorkForce Center at CSM, Senior Community Service Employment Program, Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium, the Charles County Charitable Trust, the Maryland Insurance Administration and Community Mediation Centers of Southern Maryland.

The Ninth Annual Nonprofit Institute Conference will run from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at CSM’s La Plata Campus, Center for Business and Industry, at 8730 Mitchell Road. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. For information and registration, visit

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