Webinar Wednesdays gets into gear, Wednesday, Oct. 5, with insights from Heather McLeod Grant, co-author of Forces for Good

The Webinar Wednesdays program, one of the exciting offerings in AJLI’s robust new membership-wide online learning initiative, gets into gear Wednesday, October 5, with a featured presentation by Heather McLeod Grant, senior consultant at the Monitor Institute and co-author of Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits.

Grant, who possess an in-depth knowledge of the AJLI organization and membership as a result of having helped guide the organization through its Strategic Roadmap planning process over the past few years, will draw on the themes of her book and share key insights from her nonprofit research, including newly updated material relevant for local nonprofits. Her presentation will begin with an overview of each of the six high-impact practices and include an explanation of how they can serve as valuable tools for increasing community impact. In addition to soliciting audience participation throughout the session, the one-hour webinar will include ample time for questions and answers.

How it works

Junior League members who participate in Webinar Wednesdays, which take place on the first and third Wednesdays of every month, will view virtual presentations on topics related to civic leadership and community impact by featured speakers in real time via laptop or desktop computer—and over the phone for those who do not have access to a computer. Audio will stream over a participant’s computer or the participant can request a toll-free number in order to listen over the phone.

Designed to be interactive and engaging for all members—Provisionals, Actives, and Sustainers–the webinars will rely on interactive components such as chat boxes, polling, hand-raising and Q&A in addition to illustrative presentation slides and speaker narration. Registration for each webinar opens two weeks before the scheduled presentation.

“Webinar Wednesdays are different from AJLI’s  Web workshops, which track comprehension  against specific learning objectives and are accompanied by a Participant’s Guide with pre- and post-work,” says Becki Fleischer, AJLI E-Learning Consultant.

“Instead, the webinar format presents an opportunity for a more informal and casual style of learning that enables participants to broaden their horizons by learning about  strategies other organizations and individuals are using—and how those strategies might be applicable in their own community impact work and personal leadership development.”

Fleischer emphasizes that webinars are free and available to all Junior League members.

One Junior League that is taking the all-member approach to webinar participation very seriously according to Fleischer is The Junior League of Greenwich, which has arranged for members to participate in the October 5 webinar as a group. Following a brown bag lunch the League will project Grant’s presentation on a large screen, submit questions and comments from members, and discuss the material at the conclusion of the presentation.

According to Fleischer, the seed of the idea for what would become Webinar Wednesdays was planted during work completed as part of the Roadmap for the Future research and strategic planning initiative in which the Sustainer Design Team responded very favorably to the possibility of continued education and training.

Keeping it real (and relevant)

To develop webinar content subsequent to the Design Team’s work, Fleischer initiated AJLI’s foray into the practice of online polling known as crowd-sourcing by activating an Idea Marketplace with All Our Ideas. An online venue for collecting and evaluating participant feedback, All Our Ideas provides a method for maintaining the timeliness, relevancy, and meaningfulness of ideas to a specific audience. (AJLI’s All Our Ideas Idea Marketplace will re-open on October 5.)

Following her announcement in April at AJLI’s 2011 Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Fleischer’s initial list of suggestions for Webinar Wednesday speakers generated 24,000 responses from AJLI members, and as a result, crowd favorites such as Amy Eisenstein (author of Fifty Asks in Fifty Weeks, A Guide to Better Fundraising for Your Small Development Shop!) and Shar McBee (author of To Lead Is to ServeHow to Attract Volunteers and Keep Them) have been slotted into the Webinar schedule on December 7 and April 18 respectively. Dana Perino, the second female White House Press Secretary in history, was another top pick who’s been confirmed as a presenter.

Fleischer explains that in addition to voting on speakers and topics suggested by AJLI Staff, AJLI members can also submit their own ideas for subject matter or experts they think would be useful to the membership, and in turn, invite fellow members to vote on these suggestions. Several of these member-originated submissions have already been incorporated into the schedule.

Other upcoming speakers of note are John Bridgeland, President & CEO of Civic Enterprises and the first Director of the USA Freedom Corp, who will present The Civic Marshall Plan, 90% High School Graduation Rates by 2020 on October 19 and Linda Tarr-Whelan (author of Women Lead the Way: Your Guide to Stepping Up to Leadership and Changing the World), who will present on November 16.

What you need to know to sign up

To sign up for the October 5 webinar with Heather Grant, as well as all future webinars, visit the Member Area of the AJLI website, click on the “Training & Meetings” tab, select “Online Learning,” and click on the “Webinar Wednesdays” box.

There is no fee to participate, so sign up now to reserve your spot—and be sure to stick around until the end. Rumor has it, one lucky participant in each webinar who demonstrates her staying power will walk away with an exciting giveaway.

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Webinar Wednesdays
Wednesday, October 5
1:00 p.m. Eastern
Heather McLeod Grant, author of Forces for Good.