Guiding More Good is a one-day conference in Corvallis that brings together nonprofit leaders, board members, and volunteers to learn together and share their stories and experiences of working and volunteering for nonprofit organizations. Each year, Guiding More Good inspires attendees with expert speakers, robust conversations, practical resources, and cross-sector networking opportunities. This jam-packed conference is the perfect opportunity to re-connect with your peers, learn about how to navigate current issues that are top-of-mind today, and create new relationships with other nonprofits. 

More than anything, Guiding More Good focuses on nonprofit governance for both staff and board members including sessions on difficult subjects like recognizing embezzlement, burnout, management, fundraising during a recession, and moving diversity, equity, and inclusion work into meaningful action.

For accommodation requests, please contact us at Advanced notice of at least 10 days is appreciated.

COST: $115 NAO Members and $175 Nonmembers

A limited number of scholarships are available. Please fill out this form to be considered for a scholarship for 50% off registration fees.

REGISTRATION CLOSED: Thank you to everyone who attended NAO's 2022 Guiding More Good.

LOCATION: CH2M Hill Alumni Center (OSU)
725 SW 26th Street
Corvallis, OR 97331

Saturday, September 10, 2022 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT.

 Time    Session

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Get checked-in, say hello to new and old colleagues, and grab a light snack and coffee before settling in

9:30 - 10 a.m.

Opening Address with Romanita Hairston, CEO of M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

The Promise of the Nonprofit Sector – Serving the Common Good Through Moments of Historic Change

10 - 10:20 a.m.


10:20 - 11:50 a.m.

Breakout session
1 options: 

Option A: Safeguarding Charitable Assets – Helping Nonprofits Avoid Embezzlement
Presented by: Susan Bower, Oregon Department of Justice

Option B: LOIs That Make the Best First Impression
Presented by: Breanna Polacik & Hannah Cortez, The Dotted i Fundraising

Option C: Secretary, Treasurer, and Pres, Oh My!
Presented by: Cordelia Daniels, Center for Nonprofit Law

Option D: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Action - It Starts with your Board!
Presented by: Miriam Cummins, MGC Consulting Services

11:50 - 1:20 p.m.


1:20 - 2:50 p.m.

Breakout session
2 options:

Option A: Creative Ways to Build on your Fundraising Efforts
Presented by: Chris Quaka, Benton Community Foundation

Option B: Preparing Your Finances for a Recession
Presented by: Lesley Bennett, CFO Selections

Option C: Tending the Soil: A Natural Way to Approach Mental Health & Resilience
Presented by: Erica Briggs, NAO

Option D: Navigating the Media: Pitching Your Story, Navigating Misinformation, and Addressing Negative Coverage
Presented by: Colby Reade, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

2:50 - 3:10 p.m.


3:10 - 4:40 p.m.

Breakout session
3 options:

Option A: Recession-Proof Your Fundraising Through Outstanding Stewardship
Presented by: Laurel McCombs, The Osborne Group

Option B: Board Management: Avoiding Common Pitfalls on the Road to Success
Presented by: Jenn Clemo, NAO

Option C: Meet the Funders!
Panel: Benton Community Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, and more!

4:40 - 5 p.m.

Closing Remarks

 Adjourn 5:00 p.m.

Opening Address
9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

The Promise of the Nonprofit Sector – Serving the Common Good Through Moments of Historic Change

Speaker: Romanita Hairston, CEO, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

As Chief Executive Officer, Romanita oversees all program activities of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, one of the largest private, nonprofit funders in the Pacific Northwest. An accomplished team builder, convener, and leader, Romanita draws on more than two decades of experience in the nonprofit, for profit, philanthropic, and board service sectors to help steward the mission of the foundation.

A graduate of the University of Washington, Romanita built her career in the nonprofit sector at World Vision, where she served for two decades, including ten years as vice president of U.S. programs. In 2016, she joined the Murdock Trust as a program director before moving to Microsoft in 2018 where she led skilling efforts focused on increasing employability and building greater technical competence in global partners, customers, employees and future generations.

Romanita earned her MBA from Eastern University (in Philadelphia). She has served on various boards prior to taking her new role such as Global Women, India Partners, Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, Urban Alliance, Urban Impact, and Impact Latin America.

Description: Across sectors, communities, and geographies, the nonprofit and philanthropic communities are navigating significant change. While these changes bring a sense of the unknown, they also bring a great power of opportunity. Opportunity to rethink how we work, how philanthropy and nonprofits partner, and what we really mean when we say we serve the common good. These topics are top of mind for Romanita Hairston who joined the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust as the foundation’s 5th CEO this summer. In this conversation, Romanita will bring her unique perspective, blending more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit space and her current role leading one of our region’s largest funders. She’ll share a bit about her early observations and how the Murdock Trust is approaching this new normal and discuss what she sees are some of the key matters that will face the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in the coming years.

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Breakout Session 1 Descriptions
10:20 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

Safeguarding Charitable Assets – Helping Nonprofits Avoid Embezzlement

Presenter: Susan Bower, Assistant Attorney General, Oregon Department of Justice

Susan Bower is an Assistant Attorney General in the Charitable Activities Section at the Oregon Attorney General’s Office and a past Chair of the Nonprofit Organizations Law Section of the Oregon State Bar and member of the board of the National Association of Charity Officials. She joined the Oregon Department of Justice in 2006.  Prior to joining DOJ, she worked as an attorney in private practice, specializing in estate and trust administration and litigation. Ms. Bower graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon and obtained her undergraduate degree in biology from Indiana University. 

Description: Susan will provide an overview of DOJ’s oversight of charitable entities and fiduciaries and discuss one of the most common and troubling issues DOJ sees – embezzlement. Discussion points will include: 

  • Uncharitable headlines: tales from the trenches and why nonprofits are ripe for fraud
  • Prevention: how to reduce the risk of embezzlement
  • Detection: what to look for and how to root out embezzlement
  • Recovery: what to do when embezzlement occurs

LOIs That Make the Best First Impression

Presenters: Breanna Polacik, CEO, The Dotted i Fundraising & Hannah Cortez, Grant Specialist, The Dotted i Fundraising

Breanna Polacik, Founder and CEO of The Dotted i, has been Grant Professionally Certified through the Grant Professional Certification Institute since 2011 and she has been writing successful grant applications since 2008. She has a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Development, Family Consumer Sciences from Montana State University. Her strengths lie in crafting a budget that tells a story, tugging at the heartstrings of funders, and finding those hidden grants that are gems. She’s multi-passionate so her clients’ passions become hers too – making it easy for her to use that fuel to earn those grant dollars! 

Hannah Cortez has a background in human development, education, and community health which gives her a well-rounded approach to grant seeking for nonprofits and building relationships with funders. She joined The Dotted i team in 2017 and supports nonprofits through thoughtful project development and successful grant writing. As the daughter of a journalist, her investigative spirit lends itself to thorough research and identifying the details that will really sell your organization’s story! Her passion shines when she’s educating others which is why you’ll often find her presenting at nonprofit conferences or leading trainings. 

Description: Join us as we cover the common elements of a Letter of Interest (LOI) and discuss what funders are really looking for in your response. In this session, you can expect to:

  • Understand what funders look for in your in your narrative
  • Learn tips on how to make your LOI stand out from other applicants! 
  • Learn how to find mission alignment with funders and tweak your existing content for different funder’s needs.
  • Create an answer guide to use for future LOIs and grant applications.

Secretary, Treasurer, and Pres, oh my!

Presenter: Cordelia Daniels, Attorney, Center for Nonprofit Law

Cordelia Daniels is a nonprofit law specialist and one of the three attorneys with the Center for Nonprofit Law. She focuses on helping nonprofits achieve their goals while staying mission consistent and compliant with state and federal nonprofit laws. She believes building better boards with the tools they need to succeed is essential to a functioning nonprofit. Cordelia is deeply motivated toward nonprofit work and knew early in her career that she wanted to work with people who share a drive for helping others and contributing to the efforts that make our world a better place. In particular, she has committed her time and is passionate about environmental protection, public radio, and animal rescues.

Before joining the Center for Nonprofit Law, she served as the Director of Legal Services for the nonprofit Pacific Northwest College of Art, where she was their in-house legal counsel. She also previously interned with the Department of Justice in the Environmental and Natural Resource Division, the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Land Law Section, and the California Public Utilities Commission. Cordelia is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law and is a member of both the Oregon State Bar and the California State Bar. She has extensive experience in the areas of nonprofit law, employment law, contract law, and intellectual property law.

Description: Join us on the yellow brick road for a journey through Oz that will touch on the general responsibilities of board members before diving deep into the job descriptions of the officers – the President, Treasurer, and Secretary – to gain a deeper understanding of how those roles can be used to support a nonprofit’s adherence to the law and best practices, with just a bit of courage, brains, and heart.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Action - It Starts with your Board!

Presenter: Miriam Cummins, Consultant/Owner, MGC Consulting Services

Miriam was born in Zamora, Michoacan, and immigrated to Oregon when she was 8 years old. Her pronouns are She/Her/Ella, and she identifies as a Latina Immigrant that works in incorporating Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in her personal and professional life. She is a mother, advocate, friend, and LGBTQIA2S+ ally. She lives in Albany, Oregon, with her two beautiful-wonderful children.

She is a highly motivated and experienced bilingual professional with knowledge and experience in implementing policy change and outreach to underserved/marginalized communities using an equity lens. She has experience in providing strategic counsel in addressing inequities in the educational and state government settings while at the same time working with them in finding solutions in how to implement and sustain Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in the workplace. She has over 8 years of EDI collaborative work experience, training and facilitating conscious/unconscious bias for businesses and agencies, board relations/leadership training, organizational development, and strategic planning and execution. She has a B.A. in Spanish and French from Oregon State University and received her Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace certificate from the University of South Florida Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education. 

Description: Securing the support and guidance of the board of directors is crucial for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in your organization. In this session, we will explore what EDI looks like in smaller organizations and how it is best implemented by having a board of directors that is engaged in the process. We will compare and contrast what different organizational processes and procedures can look like before and after EDI principles are put in place, and how we can take the first steps in incorporating EDI practices into our work. We all have the capacity, regardless of how big or small the organization, to lead with an EDI lens and outlook.

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Breakout Session 2 Descriptions
1:20 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.

Creative Ways to Build on your Fundraising Efforts

Presenters: Chris Quaka, President and CEO, Benton Community Foundation

For nearly 20 years, Chris has partnered with nonprofits across the country to strengthen local communities. After graduating with a B.S. from Southern Illinois University in 2001, Chris joined AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, a US-based national service program. In the month after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Chris was hired as staff by the NCCC, later coordinating the disaster recovery efforts of thousands of volunteers in regions affected by Katrina, Rita, and Ike. In 2010, Chris moved with his family to Redmond, Oregon, and began a career in fund development at NeighborImpact. This community action agency offers support to Head Start families, assistance to people using food bank resources, and provides advocacy efforts to local anti-poverty programs. Chris moved to Corvallis four years later, taking on the position of Development Director for Community Outreach Inc., a local non-profit providing wrap-around services and shelter to people experiencing homelessness. In 2017, Chris was selected as the President and CEO of the Benton Community Foundation where he is fortunate to be surrounded by a talented team of community leaders focused on improving Benton County through philanthropy. Chris continues to give back today, volunteering as a Rotarian and serving on the Board of Directors for the Imagine Corvallis Action Network.

Description: Chris will help you master the basics of running your donor mail campaign, provide tips for entering into internet fundraising, and cover creative methods of expanding your donor database.

Preparing Your Finances for a Recession

Presenter: Lesley Bennett, CFO Consultant, CFO Selections

Lesley is a versatile accounting and finance professional with over 15 years of experience in public and nonprofit sectors overseeing compliance, payroll, bookkeeping, forecasting, audits, and budgeting. She has broad knowledge of policy, research, project management, board development, and community relations. Prior to joining CFO Selections, Lesley was the Director of Operations and Finance at the Latino Network. There she served as a member of the organization’s Leadership Team and managed a $6.8M annual budget. She brings a unique and dynamic perspective to each organization, benefiting from her diverse experiences throughout her career in organizations such as the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Department of Education, and various non-profits throughout Oregon such as Willamette Partnership, Oregon League of Conservation Voters and Bicycle Transportation Alliance. 

Description: Coming soon!

Tending the Topsoil: A Natural Way to Approach Mental Health & Resilience

Presenter: Erica Briggs, Nonprofit Education Specialist, NAO

Erica is a facilitator of learning, DEI consultant, community caretaker, creative artist and author. In each capacity she is a storyteller, sharing stories related to developing a more transparent and fluid identity, embracing culture, and aligning with nature to better heal, grow and sustain mental health and well being. Though born in Oregon, Briggs has lived and worked across the country and overseas. Currently, she serves as a Nonprofit Education Specialist at NAO; Facilitator of Learning for the Anti-Defamation League; and is the founder and CEO of a small, arts and nature nonprofit based in Troutdale. As a single mother, she earned a BA in Communications at Mills College in Oakland, California and a Master's in Africana Studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where she studied the social construction of race in America. For over 25 years, she has served in various roles in asset-based community nonprofits, and both traditional and alternative learning environments from elementary through college. When she is at play, you will likely find her wandering in her garden, making a mess in her art studio, or hiking with her children to the nearest body of water.

Description: The resilience of nonprofit organizations is being tested, challenging us to overcome and recover from extreme disruption and change. As individuals, we now live and work in a present-day that can feel unsafe and uncertain. This can create feelings of dread and anxiety, making it difficult to make strategic decisions about the future. Mental and emotional burdens can seep into the cultural foundation of an organization, sowing burnout, “quiet quitting,” and difficulty hiring new staff. 

How do we find a new normal when the foundation keeps shifting? How do we honor the mental health care needs of the people in our organization and still get the work done? We start by building good ground to grow - as an organization in a complex world, and as complicated humans creating the culture in our organization.

By the end of this session, you will:

  • Identify the cultural composition of your organization and how it impacts the daily workload.
  • Build up a foundation from which to stand more firmly during challenging times.
  • Increase awareness of the obstacles that weaken resilience. 
  • Discover a model of mental health care that is aligned to both organizational and human capacity.

Navigating the Media: Pitching Your Story, Navigating Misinformation, and Addressing Negative Coverage 

Presenter: Colby Reade, Director of Communications, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust 

As Director of Communications at the M.J Murdock Charitable Trust, Colby is responsible for facilitating conversations between the Trust and the community. This includes amplifying the work of grantees, engaging in discussions of philanthropy and connecting potential fund recipients with grant application resources. Colby began his career in communications in the early 2000’s and brings a unique blend of expertise working with national brands, such as Microsoft, Avangrid Renewables and JELD-WEN, as well as several nonprofits, including Willamette Valley Development Officers, REACH CDC and SMART. A proud alum of the University of Oregon Honors College and Portland native, Colby loves giving back to the organizations that make the Pacific Northwest thrive. 

Description: Favorable media coverage can be a valuable resource in your fundraising toolbox. But the rapid evolution of digital platforms has created a slew of new challenges that every organization must consider and prepare for. 

In this session we will look at the fundamentals of pitching your organization’s story to land favorable coverage by influential voices. We’ll delve into how organizations can better navigate the tides of misinformation that may involve your nonprofit or the sector you serve. We’ll also dig into some key strategies for crisis communications and how to respond in the event of negative coverage. 

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Breakout Session 3 Descriptions
3:10 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.

Recession-Proof Your Fundraising Through Outstanding Stewardship

Presenter: Laurel McCombs, Senior Philanthropy Advisor, The Osborne Group

Laurel McCombs brings 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector and a passion for the role philanthropy can play in changing the world to her work as a consultant, partner, and trainer.

Laurel has worked closely with clients on a variety of topics, including donor retention, development operations, planning, donor management, board development and more. Current and recent clients include the National Minority AIDS Council, Council of Michigan Foundations, La Clinica de la Raza and the University of Missouri. In addition to well-received workshops at national conferences, such as Junior Achievement and JDRF, Laurel has presented at the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference, AFP Congress, CASE-NAIS, and several local development professional associations.

Prior to joining the Osborne Group, Laurel worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America where she was responsible for the coordination of capacity building resources and support to more than 350 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country.  She also spent time as a Program Officer in healthcare philanthropy and began her non-profit career at the Girl Scouts of Monterey Bay where she was the Director of Development and Communications. 

Description: Retaining donors should always be an important goal for not-for-profits, but in times of uncertainty it is an absolute necessity. A base of loyal donors not only helps sustain the organization but also fuels your major gift pipeline. But most organizations are tapping into only a fraction of stewardship’s power. In this workshop, we’ll discuss retention, communication, and engagement strategies that weave stewardship into everything you do. You’ll walk away with an action plan, fresh doable ideas, and tons of inspiration and motivation to help you close out the year.

Board Management: Avoiding Common Pitfalls on the Road to Success

Presenter: Jenn Clemo, Director of Nonprofit Leadership & Learning, NAO

Jenn is a nonprofit professional with over 16 years of experience in the sector. Jenn possesses a diverse set of skills in nonprofit management, with expertise in fund development, marketing, program design, and evaluation. Prior to NAO, Jenn served as the Executive Director of the Center for Nonprofit Stewardship, an organization that provided training and resources to nonprofits across the region before it joined forces with NAO in 2020. Jenn has also worked as an independent consultant providing nonprofit capacity-building and grant writing services to a variety of clients in the Willamette Valley and across the country. Jenn is a graduate of the University of Oregon and holds a B.A. in English Literature.

Description: Board service can be challenging to navigate! Without a road map, we all run the risk of becoming distracted, disengaged, or downright dysfunctional. In this session, we will discuss the finer details of board management including: how to differentiate the role of staff versus board, tips for running effective meetings that move the work forward, and an exploration of how to have productive conversations amongst our various teams - especially when those conversations generate conflict. 

Meet the Funders

Facilitator: Jim White, Executive Director, NAO

Description: This is your chance to learn from and engage with representatives from prominent Oregon foundations. Come with questions and leave with connections!

This year, our panel includes:

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If you have any questions or trouble registering contact



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