ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Current nonprofit sector research and recommendations for effective day-to-day practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 2:37pm
posted by
Sarah Hipolito
Program Coordinator, Senior
ASU Lodestar Center

If I've learned anything in my brief six years, 10 months, and 27 days of marriage, it's that, in addition to love, communication is key in growing and maintaining a good relationship. Funny thing is, I learned the exact same thing in just one day while attending the ASU Lodestar Center's 2011 Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness. Well, we all care deeply for the missions of our organizations and those we serve — you might even call that "love." But, without good communication, we may fall short of our goals. With keynote speakers Travis Manzione (Director of Assessment Tools for The Center for Effective Philanthropy) and Charles Best (Founder and CEO of, and a panel representing local nonprofits and funders (including Ear Candy, Phoenix Youth at Risk, SRP, and Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust), you could not miss the message: Ongoing communication between grantees and funders is an absolute must.

Over the course of the day, there was so much communication going on — networking between nonprofits; sharing of ideas, knowledge, and experiences; and, maybe most thought-provoking, grantees and funders empathetically listening to each other's stories and gaining a glimpse into the "other side" of the process. Many of the participants left the day motivated to keep that communication going — beyond the request for money and the call for reports.

So, as I anticipate the celebration of my seven-year wedding anniversary (in one month and three days), I am reinforced in my belief that communication is key — not only in marriage relationships, but in all relationships. And, just as I have yet to master communication in my marriage (and neither has my husband, for that matter!), we mustn't forget to keep this communication going. The connections you made at the Forum, the messages you took home, the plan you created — don't let them fall to the wayside. Maintain them and help them grow through communication!

Didn't attend this year's forum? Don't worry! Take a look at the video below in which participants answer the question, "What does the forum mean to you?" And while you're at it, check out some of our other forum videos on the ASU Lodestar Center's YouTube Channel.


Love the post, Sarah! When I was interviewing people at the Forum for these videos, the general consensus was that everyone really loved having a space where they could meet on mutual ground and just talk about the issues they were having with communication. So, it's fantastic to hear that the Forum's message really resonated.

Thanks for the post! It's great to hear that folks were able to have such good communication and networking between nonprofits. Will students be able to attend (if it's even only to observe) the 2012 2011 Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness? I think many students would benefit from witnessing the panelists and the conversations that follow.

Great post. I must agree that communication is such a key component in every aspect in life but at the same time it is not practiced enough, especially in the nonprofit world. Boards, CEOs, staff, and donors, must focus on this to make sure the mission that is trying to be reached gets accomplished

Christian - it's wonderful to see students interested in learning more about communication and networking in the nonprofit sector. I hope we can say that this is a sign of bigger and better things to come - stronger communication and collaboration within the sector from these young emerging leaders! In the video in my blog there is a student giving testimony to how beneficial the forum was to her. I agree, students can definitely benefit from witnessing the types of conversations that are taking place not only at our Spring forum, but at our Fall conference as well.

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