Release Date: September 5, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nationally recognized experts will show local nonprofit leaders how to think like entrepreneurs and effectively use social media to advance their organizations at a conference this month hosted by the University at Buffalo School of Social Work and the UB School of Management’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL).
The daylong event, “Transformational Leadership and Entrepreneurial Thinking for Nonprofits: Moving from Surviving to Thriving,” will begin at 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 22, at the Amherst Holiday Inn, 1881 Niagara Falls Blvd.
Thomas Ulbrich, executive director of the CEL, and Beth Kanter, co-author of “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World,” will serve as keynote speakers and will lead interactive workshops to help participants implement new strategies in their organizations.
“Changes in our economic and policy environments have made it much harder for many nonprofits to survive,” says Nancy J. Smyth, dean of the UB School of Social Work.
“At UB, we are exploring how to help nonprofit leaders negotiate this environment more strategically.”
Smyth called the conference the first step in a collaboration between the UB Schools of Social Work and Management to educate these organizations on social media skills that can be “enormously useful” in this entrepreneurial environment.
“We will use this conference as a starting place for an ongoing dialogue with nonprofit stakeholders about other strategies to enhance leadership skills for the 21st century nonprofit leader,” says Smyth.
Smyth said School of Social Work educators were excited about this opportunity to learn from Ulbrich, a business owner and passionate advocate for small businesses, and executive director of UB’s nationally ranked Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, and Beth Kanter, an international author and leader in nonprofits’ strategic use of technology and social media.
“Using Social Media for Social Change: What One Can Do to Change the World,” a free seminar for all UB students, staff and faculty, follows the conference from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23, in the UB Student Union Theater, Room 201, on UB’s North Campus. The seminar features Kanter, who will explain how to connect with people online to make a difference in the world through volunteering, fund-raising or promoting a social cause.
Kanter’s presentation is a natural fit for the School of Social Work, says Smyth.
“Events in the U.S. and worldwide have illustrated the potential of social media to affect our society, ranging from the current ALS ‘Bucket Challenge’ to the Arab Spring in 2011,” says Smyth. “However, in speaking to students, I’ve found that while many are very knowledgeable about how to use social media to connect with friends, they often don’t know how to use these tools to achieve social change or social good. Social work has always been focused on promoting social good, social justice and social action.”
Ulbrich’s role in the conference will show how nonprofits can use the same basic concepts that make entrepreneurs and their companies successful to serve and engage more people. During Ulbrich’s workshop, participants will analyze their organization’s current planning process, identify gaps and draft a strategic plan.
Named a “Voice of Innovation for Social Media” by Bloomberg Businessweek, Kanter will discuss how nonprofits can build relationships, establish trust and thought leadership, and expand their impact through social media. Her workshop will teach participants to launch an effective social media strategy on a limited budget.
In addition, representatives from Community Connections of New York and the YWCA of Niagara’s Catering Crew program will present during a buffet lunch. The event will conclude with networking and cocktails at 5 p.m.
For more information or to register, visit http://socialwork.buffalo.edu/transform or call 716-829-5847.
Established in 1987, the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in the UB School of Management provides participants with individualized and interactive education in entrepreneurship. More than 1,200 CEL alumni employ more than 22,000 Western New Yorkers, and their businesses are worth more than $2 billion to the local economy. For more information, visit mgt.buffalo.edu/cel.