Community Development

Build Your Board — new online course available

Nearly every non-profit organization operates under a board of directors. Often the bulk of the organization's resources go to meet the needs of the clients, making it difficult to provide training to board members. And yet, the effectiveness of a board can make or break the organization.

"Build Your Board" is a new online course, providing training to board members who serve nonprofit organizations. The training was developed by University of Missouri Extension faculty to provide nonprofit board members with essential training. The course provides board members with a convenient option to receive credible training. Instructors have a combined 50+ years of experience working with dozens of nonprofit organizations. Supplemental materials are available for download, and instructors are available via email to answer questions. Sixteen lessons, organized into five modules, provide broad based information.

Register for the course at:
                Registration fee $80 per person


Community Development Programs

Organizational Development — Many local non-profit groups need help with their organizational structure. The most frequent challenge new organizations face is the possibility of becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. This IRS ruling can be a good tool for fundraising, but is also a lengthy and somewhat expensive process (filing fees are currently $850). Extension can help groups determine whether it’s a necessary step. And if they so choose, we can aid them through the process of developing bylaws, filing for state incorporation, obtaining a federal ID number, and completing and submitting IRS form 1023 — all steps toward obtaining 501(c)(3) status.

Board Training — Boards who direct the work of non-profit corporations are usually comprised of volunteers and have limited budgets for training. Yet those boards provide critical services to communities and can be responsible for large sums of money. “Board Basics” provides much needed training at an affordable cost.

Topics can include: 

  • Roles and responsibilities of board members 
  • Capacity based action planning 
  • Conducting effective meetings 
  • Understanding fellow board members 
  • Building consensus
  • Generational differences 
  • Corporate legalities
  • Managing conflict 
  • Teambuilding 
  • Sound fiscal oversight

Sessions are normally one hour in length and can be offered as a part of the board’s regular meeting.

Leadership Development — Vibrant communities depend upon local leaders to make things happen. Leadership development programs offered through extension can range from three month programs with multiple day-long sessions, to a series of four “lunch and learn” topics, or even a one-time presentation on an important topic. And they can target specific audiences such as emerging community leaders, women, youth, or persons with limited income. By providing people in communities with leadership skills, knowledge of the community, and self-confidence you not only train them, you help to ensure the economic viability of the community.

Strategic Doing — The benefits of strategic planning are well documented. But all too often, strategic plans become dusty documents that sit on a shelf. Strategic Doing is a more vibrant way to set goals for organizational action, and more importantly to see that those goals are carried out. Extension can help guide local volunteers through the process of identifying their assets, determining goals for the future, and creating and monitoring action plans to implement those goals.

Group Facilitation — Sometimes organizations and groups need an impartial outsider to assist them with their meetings. Perhaps they’re looking for a staff retreat focusing on teambuilding. Or maybe they are looking for a group process to help them set goals for the future. Extension Community Development specialists can provide those facilitation skills.

Public Deliberation — Many of today’s complex issues require the public and policy makers to come together to find workable solutions. National Issues Forums take citizens beyond debate, to a deliberative process that works to find common ground. As trained moderators, CD specialists can lead forums on a wide range of topics including racial tensions, health care and the achievement gap in public education.