2019 Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness

Attendees joined us on Friday, March 1st, 2019 at the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, Ariz., and learned to unlock innovative thinking across their teams.

Our 20th Annual Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness was a chance to:

  • Strengthen and sustain your purpose-driven organization
  • Meet and mingle with nonprofit professionals, board members, philanthropists, funders, community volunteers, and business leaders
  • Learn from the best while networking with the best

Whether your organization’s mission involves direct services, grantmaking, serving members or other purposes, leading in today’s operating environment requires the innovation and discipline of new thinking and actions. Why? Daily we find ourselves interacting with our staff, various volunteers, board members, donors, grantees and other stakeholders to help move our missions forward. Increasingly it is understood that the nonprofit leaders that are the most successful are those who have mastered both “high touch” as well as “high tech” approaches to leading, managing and communicating.

So in this world often dominated by tweets, sound bites, webinars, crowdsourcing platforms, and other high-tech approaches, we revisited the value of high-touch leadership that inspires and reminds us all of the promise of coming home to human connections in real time.

The 2019 Forum kicked off with special remarks about "The Opportunities for Nonprofit Leadership in an Age of Disruption" from Robert F. Ashcraft, Ph.D., the executive director of the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation and Saguaro Professor of Civic Enterprise for the School of Community Resources and Development at ASU's Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Opening session

"YES, AND!" Improv Concepts to Inspire Nonprofit Leadership

Will Hightower

Most well-known in relation to comedy, improvisation is the art of practicing in-the-moment creativity. But improv is more than entertainment; it is an intentional system of collaboration and connectivity shared by influential leaders. Using the creative genius of improvisational techniques, you can unlock innovative thinking across your team. This truly unique, interactive presentation enabled participants to learn and practice important improvisational concepts that empower anyone to become a better leader and communicator. Participants took away a toolbox of skills to help their organization become better innovators through analog collaboration in a digital world.

About our keynote presenter

With over a decade of experience, Will Hightower is a performer and improviser for audiences around the country ranging from national charities to corporate leadership organizations. As a professional performer and graduate of Arizona State University's acting program, Will is featured in national commercials, television shows and McGraw-Hill's A Speaker's Resource: Listener-Centered Public Speaking. He is currently pursuing his Master of Education in Educational Leadership. In the community, Will is found serving as a board member for a local professional nonprofit theatre and developing resources for artist organizations as the founder of Theatre Think Tank. Will is the recent recipient of an AriZoni Theatre Award of Excellence for Best Actor in JOHN at Stray Cat Theatre and was recognized as an up-and-coming arts professional in AZ Central's Who's Next list. In 2017, Will joined the board of directors of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN Phoenix).

Learn from the best nonprofit community experts

Forum attendees chose from a variety of highly engaging and unique workshops, presented by experts in their fields. Topics included data-driven decisionmaking, digital marketing, personal development, donor proposals, telling your story and more!

See the workshop lineup

Luncheon Presentation & Panel

Civic Leadership: Responsibility of the many and not the privilege of a few

This thought-provoking luncheon conversation delved into civic leadership as the responsibility of the many and not the privilege of a few. Attendees came away inspired and informed as they learned from a variety of perspectives while contributing to the results to be captured and disseminated following the Forum. Building communities from the inside/out is about valuing the experiences and voices of those in any community and holds promise for advancing civic life, not just for some, but for all.



This session is brought to you in partnership with Greater Tucson Leadership.


Thank you to the generous support of our sponsors:

Gold Sponsor Bronze Sponsor Bronze Sponsor Bronze Sponsor

Tucson Foundations

Desert Willow

Your Part-Time Controller


Tucson Foundations

Desert Willow Conference Center

Your Part-Time Controller


Bronze Sponsor Content Partner

AZ Tax Credit Funds

Greater Tucson Leadership

AZ Tax Credit Funds

Greater Tucson Leadership

For more information, please contact Nicole Almond Anderson via email or 602.496.0185.


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