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Five Weekly Sessions via Zoom

Thursdays - November 3, 10, 17, and December 1 and 8
2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. (PT)

Event Description

Building Systems that Streamline, Strengthen and Scale Our Work

Cohort Facilitator
Sarah Spangler, Nonprofit Education Specialist, NAO

From fundraising to program management, to volunteer coordination, and beyond – all of our work is powered by systems. But what is the difference between a system that propels us forward and one that bogs us down? Join Sarah Spangler, Nonprofit Education Specialist at NAO, as we take a close look at the unique processes currently in place in each of our organizations. With the help of peer-to-peer discussions, guided exercises, and other tips and tricks, you will learn how to take inventory of your systems, determine which ones can and should be improved, evaluate the performance of your systems on an ongoing basis, and understand how to strategically scale them through periods of growth or change. 

Learning Outcomes

Participants will be able to:

  1. Approach their project, program, and people management from a systems-based point of view 
  2. Evaluate the tools, individuals, and processes that make up their systems 
  3. Introduce greater efficiency, resiliency, and effectiveness into their processes through additional training, new tools, automation, outsourcing, etc. 
  4. Explore and understand the connection between strong systems and high performing teams
  5. Make strategic decisions about scaling their systems up and down 


Session 1

Nov. 3       

Welcome, introductions, and group agreements. 

Define – Points > Processes > Systems > Organizations 

Identify – What systems already exist within your work? 

Session 2

Nov. 10

Evaluate – How do we know when our systems are not serving us? Are there processes or systems in your workplace that feel like sources of frustration, disagreement, time-wasting, or disorganization? How do we troubleshoot these issues and improve our workflow? 

Session 3

Nov. 17

Streamline – Are there points in our systems that act as bottlenecks, black holes, or that generate additional work/confusion? How much labor is required to run this process, and can any of it be outsourced or automated? What tools are available to us that will ensure our work is flowing steadily forward? 

Session 4

Dec. 1

Strengthen – What are the weakest points in our systems? How well do they hold up during workload or staffing changes? Does your team rely on the system, or do they simply comply with it? How do we ensure that our systems do the heavy lifting for us and not the other way around? 

Session 5

Dec. 8

Scale – Why, when, and how do we scale our systems up or down? What is the impact on our program quality, team morale, and efficiency when we adjust the scale of our work? 

Additional Guidelines

  • This learning series is specifically targeted at rural nonprofit organizations across the state of Oregon.
  • This session is applicable to any nonprofit staff, board member, or volunteer who coordinates processes, projects, programs, or teams. Ideally, participants have some level of authority over the systems in place at their organization and could implement changes to them. 
  • Participants make a commitment to all sessions so we can collectively work together for a full inventory, analysis, implementation period, and evaluation of our systems. 
  • Limit is 15 individuals per cohort with no more than two representatives from one organization. 

About the Cohort Facilitator

Sarah Spangler, Nonprofit Education Specialist, NAO

Sarah Spangler is a Nonprofit Education Specialist at NAO. Sarah has worked in the nonprofit sector in different capacities for almost 10 years; as a nonprofit volunteer, committee member, program coordinator, development director, executive director, and board member. Sarah is an active community member and feels at her best when she is surrounded by others who are passionate about building stronger, more equitable, and more compassionate communities.


Thank You Funders and Sponsors

Thank you to the following FUNDERS and SPONSORS who are supporting NAO’s online events and communications during these challenging times. Their support is vital in helping NAO to bring much-needed resources and information to Oregon’s nonprofits – thank you.

Funders: Meyer Memorial Trust, The Ford Family Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, The Kinsman Foundation, The Carpenter Foundation, and The Roundhouse Foundation
Partner Sponsors: Columbia Bank, Nonstop, Heritage Bank, Kaiser Permanente, and Nike


$125 for NAO Members
$175 for Nonmembers

The NAO member discount will be applied after you select "Register Now" below. You must be logged in to your member account to receive the discount. 

You will receive a registration confirmation email. A link to access each weekly virtual cohort session will be sent to registered participants by the Cohort Leader prior to each session. Each cohort session will be recorded and shared with registrants.

If you have questions or trouble registering contact



November 3rd, 2022 2:00 PM to December 8th, 2022 3:15 PM
Online Event
Price $175.00
Event Particulars
City Online learning
NAO Event? Yes
Topic Operations & Planning
Event Region Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Metropolitan Portland, North Coast, Northern Willamette Valley, South Coast, Southern Oregon, Southern Willamette Valley
Programmatic Approach Capacity Builiding, Principles & Practices