26th Annual Nonprofit Conference

Connect Learn Achieve 2019
  • 5/8/2019
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Hosting Speaking

CLA’s 26th Annual Nonprofit Conference featured a full line-up of speakers and sessions that challenged you to:

  • Connect with your community
  • Learn with your peers
  • Achieve your mission

For more than two decades, this conference has set the standard for professional development and learning with various professional tracks and timely content that resonates with nonprofit professionals. 

Graphic Recorded Images

This year’s conference featured graphic recorder, Sherrill Knezel of Meaningful Marks, who visually depicted various sessions through images and text.

Click the images to enlarge.

Krista Tippet presented on the Adventure of Civility

Adventure of Civility

Tawanna Black presented on Fueling Economic Inclusion

Fueling Economic Inclusion

Deirdre Hodgson and Linda Thornton presented on Revenue Recognition and Grant Contribution

Revenue Recognition

Tane Danger presented on Building Creativity and Collaboration in Your Workplace

Creativity and Collaboration

Curtis Klotz presented on Shaping Your Ask: Learning to Love (or at Least Live With) Restricted Revenue

Shaping Your Ask

David Anderson presented on Cybersecurity Trends

Cybersecurity Trends

Bill Bojan presented on Governing Nonprofits: Navigating With Excellence in Unpredictable Times

Governing Nonprofits


7:45 – 8:30 a.m. — Registration and continental breakfast

8:30 – 8:40 a.m. — Introduction and welcome

8:40 – 9:40 a.m. — Keynote

Krista Tippett: The Adventure of Civility

Our young century is awash with urgent questions of survival, of meaning, of how we structure our common life and who we are to each other. And yet it seems we are more divided than ever before - unable to listen and speak across the differences we must engage to create the world we want for ourselves and our children. Krista Tippett's public radio show and podcast, On Being, brings a vast range of voices to the animating questions at the center of life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? Her Civil Conversations Project has focused these questions on public life, in practical terms, for communities from the deep south to Harvard Law School. She will speak with us about how we can all shape our presence to this moment we inhabit and begin to create the conversations we want to be hearing, where we live.

Krista Tippet is a journalist, author, entrepreneur, and creator and host of the public radio program and podcast On Being. In 2014, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. Krista will kick off our conference by sharing her experience embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join our conversations. (CPE: 1 credit Personal Development)

9:40 – 9:50 a.m. — Break

9:50 – 10:40 a.m. — Concurrent sessions

Fueling Economic Inclusion: Equipping Nonprofit Leaders for Success

Tawanna Black, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Center for Economic Inclusion
Tawanna Black will share the Center for Economic Inclusion's framework of awareness, action, and accountability in building an inclusive organization. Tawanna will share the role that nonprofits can play in closing the region's racial and economic disparities, while also growing the economy. As nonprofits grapple with diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workplaces and in the community at large, their leaders often struggle to know how to gauge success. Join in this interactive session as we discuss the role you can play in establishing goals, taking steps forward to create more inclusive organizations, and measuring that success. Tawanna connects how the change one or two people can make in an organization can and must become the source of change at the organizational, community, and regional level. (CPE: 1 credit Management Services)

Audit and Accounting Update

Cathy Clarke, Principal, CLA
In this session, we’ll discuss recent accounting standards updates (ASUs) and ongoing FASB projects of interest to nonprofit organizations. (CPE: 1 credit Accounting)

Innovation in Accounting

Yassir Karam, Chief Outsourcing Officer, CLA
Technology is constantly evolving to help us become more effective and efficient in our reporting. In this session, we will discuss the latest innovations affecting our industry and give some thoughts on where we see it trending. (CPE: 1 credit Accounting)

Making Analytics Work for You: Data-Based Decision Making

Todd Benson, Director of Financial Operations, CLA
In today’s business environment, leaders face daily challenges and make key decisions that impact the entire organization, including finance, human resources, and marketing. Join us and learn how to use data for strategic planning, decision-making, and enabling your teams to be more effective. (CPE: 1 credit Specialization Knowledge)

Budgeting Basics and Beyond!

Kelsey Vatsaas, Principal, CLA
Budget season: The time of year when the organization surrounds and supports finance by translating their big ideas into dollars and codifying it all in one beautiful document. Sound familiar? No? Well no budgeting process is perfect, but during this session, we will share some helpful tips for how to structure, organize, and coordinate your budgeting process to make it more collaborative, leverage technology to simplify the process, and make it everyone’s favorite season of the year. (CPE: 1 credit Finance)

10:40 – 10:50 a.m. — Break

10:50 – 11:40 a.m — Concurrent sessions

The ABC’s of Audit Preparation

Liz Towne, Senior, and Greta Menozzi, BizOps Chief Financial Officer, CLA
Everything you need to know for audit preparation you learned in kindergarten! This session will go back to the basics on preparing for an upcoming audit. (CPE: 1 credit Auditing)

Single Audit: Assessing Your Organization’s Grant Compliance

Rebecca Field, Principal, and Carianne Geerts, Manager, CLA
Grant noncompliance is a serious issue that can result in everything from audit findings to having to return funds. Knowing and understanding the compliance requirements helps maximize the impact of every dollar you receive. In this session, we will discuss ways that you can assess whether your organization is properly meeting its grant compliance requirements. We will cover how to identify which compliance requirements are applicable to your grants, and what your policies and procedures need to include to ensure that your organization is meeting those requirements. The session will also include some tools and best practices that can be used to ensure proper compliance. (CPE: 1 credit Auditing, Governmental)

Revenue Recognition and Grant Contribution

Deirdre Hodgson, Principal, CLA; and Linda Thornton, Comptroller, Carleton College
In this session, CLA and a representative of Carleton College (a CLA client) will discuss a case study of how one organization tackled the accounting changes contained in FASB Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2018-08, Clarifying the Scope of the Accounting Guidance for Contributions Received and Contributions Made. The presenters will walk through examples of grant language and how an organization analyzes the agreement under the new guidance. In addition, the presenters will identify best practices to streamline the assessment and documentation of the decision tree included in the clarifying guidance. (CPE: 1 credit Accounting)

Charity Registrations: One Size Does Not Fit All

Sarah Else, Principal, Clearly Compliant 
Charities come in all shapes and sizes -and so do state charity registration statutes. If your charity solicits in multiple states, it is important to make informed decisions as they relate to state registration compliance. Did you know that annual state filing fees can range anywhere from zero to $2,000? This interactive session will cover assessments, state filing fees, exemption opportunities, initial registration, annual renewals, legal implications and current trends. (CPE: 1 credit Business Law)

The Double-Edged Sword of the Ethical Intentions

Christopher Michaelson, Professor, Department of Ethics and Business Law, University of St. Thomas
There is little doubt that working for an important cause or purpose can be a good thing, but is there also a downside to good intentions? This session will engage participants in interactive, small- and large-group discussions relating to ethics and professional responsibility, using scenarios and research to explore managing ethics in nonprofit organizations. (CPE: 1 credit Behavioral Ethics)

11:40 a.m. – 12:30 p.m — Lunch

12:30 – 1:30 p.m — General session

Build Creativity and Collaboration Workouts Into Your Organization’s Routine

Tane Danger, Danger Boat Productions (CPE: 1 credit Specialized Knowledge)

1:30 – 1:45 p.m — Break

1:45 – 2:35 p.m — Concurrent sessions

What Your Organization Needs to Know About State Tax Compliance

Dan Severson, Director, and Alicia Miller Buchel, Senior, CLA
State tax compliance has become even more complicated when addressing state tax considerations for tax-exempt organizations. This session will provide guidance on many state tax issues facing exempt organizations, including taxable versus nontaxable sales, use of sales tax exemptions, online activities, multi-state payroll tax compliance, and more. (CPE: 1 credit Taxes)

Shaping Your Ask: Learning to Love (or at Least Live With) Restricted Revenue

Curtis Klotz, Director of Nonprofit Innovation, CLA, and Andy O’Leary, Chief Development Officer, MEDA
Who knew that accounting standard changes could be the source of cutting-edge strategies for fundraising? This presentation brings together an innovative development director with an edgy accountant to show how the latest changes in accounting standards can be used to develop better grant proposals. Whether you are a CEO, development professional, CFO, or public accountant, this session will provide you with an understanding of new standards on revenue recognition and restricted revenue, then use those concepts to show how a nonprofit can craft each grant proposal to bring in the most flexible funding possible. (CPE: 1 credit Accounting)

Compensation and Retention Strategies During the Current Talent Shortage

Nykki Milhaupt, Compensation Consultant, and Octavia Gilmore, Professional Search Advisor, CLA
In our competitive and disruptive marketplace, retaining and compensating your high-performing employees is critical to your organization’s culture and success. We will discuss impactful strategies to help retain and engage your key talent and to support you and your team in continuing to run an impactful, mission-driven nonprofit.(CPE: 1 credit Personnel/Human Resources)

Economic and Market Update

Mark Griffin, Principal, CLA Wealth Advisors
In this session, we will discuss the current state of the U.S. economy and capital markets. (CPE: 1 credit Economics.)

Audit and Accounting Update (repeat session)

Cathy Clarke, Principal, CLA
In this session, we’ll discuss recent accounting standards updates (ASUs) and ongoing FASB projects of interest to nonprofit organizations. (CPE: 1 credit Accounting)

2:35 – 2:50 p.m — Break

2:50 – 3:40 p.m — Concurrent sessions

Fundraising 201

Heidi Christianson, Attorney, Nilan Johnson Lewis
In today’s web-based world, exempt organization have even more opportunities to raise funds in the cloud. This session will include an overview of new internet-based fundraising opportunities, practical considerations of such platforms, and how regulators may view them, along with tips and tricks for cause-related marketing and sponsorship opportunities. The session will provide essential information for nonprofits to consider before engaging in these innovative marketing efforts. Expect to learn more than the basics of fundraising registration and regulation in this course! Learn critical information of value to financial and development professionals. (CPE: 1 credit Specialized Knowledge)

Strategic Intuition and Leading Through Change

Andy Zimney, Employee Strategies
This session combines best practices of organizational leadership, insights from neuroscience, and wisdom from the world of applied improvisation to create a highly interactive and energizing session. Participants will explore four key disciplines of change-oriented and forward-thinking teams. It’s a session of big ideas and practical applications to help teams get unstuck and accelerate progress. (CPE: 1 credit Specialized Knowledge)

Cybersecurity Trends: A State of the Union

David Anderson, Manager, CLA
This presentation reviews cybersecurity trends and how the attackers are taking advantage of computer systems to make money. We will also provide a simple walk-through of how some of these attacks are carried out. Action items will be provided; they can be used to mitigate the risks of some common security issues. (CPE: 1 credit Information Technology)

Rethinking Reserve Strategies

Ben Aase, Principal, CLA
It’s been a decade since the Great Recession gave way to the last wave of “best practices” regarding financial reserves. Since those dark economic days organizations have been rethinking their financial reserves in the context of risk management. A lot of organizations have rebuilt their reserves, in many cases with increased sophistication, a longer time horizon, and with application of larger capitalization strategies. Practical tools emerged for revising reserve targets based on changing operational and environmental risks and variables. The dialogue about risks and uncertainties became much more nuanced, and now includes: probabilities, data-driven dollar amounts, and factoring methodologies. During this session we’ll unpack the last decade and current frames of thinking to help you address how reserves are built, accessed, and reinvested within your organization. (CPE: 1 credit Finance)

Employee Benefit Plans: The Landscape Continues to Evolve

Linda Udlinek, Director, CLA
From changing initiatives of regulatory agencies to keeping up on the latest plan offerings, the challenge of staying abreast of employee benefit plan issues can be daunting. This session will touch on new regulations, trends, techniques and the general environment in providing qualified employee benefits that may impact your organization. (CPE: 1 credit Accounting)

3:40 – 3:55 p.m — Break

3:55 – 4:45 p.m — Concurrent sessions

Governing Nonprofits: Navigating with Excellence in Unpredictable Times

Bill Bojan, Director, CLA
This interactive session will engage nonprofit staff leadership and board members in a dialogue about leading practices for governing, leading, and navigating nonprofit organizations to ensure healthy direction, performance, and resiliency. As a backdrop for this timely and important topic, we will share the real-life story of how a local nonprofit overcame significant challenges to become a consistently high-growth, top-performing, and financially healthy organization through an intentional focus on enhancing board governance, strategy execution, risk management, and culture development — all centered around a compelling mission. Through relevant case studies, practical tools, and supporting data, we will give you a roadmap for navigating with excellence, even during the inevitable times of challenge and unfavorable head-winds. (CPE: 1 credit Specialized Knowledge)

Tax Reform: What We Know and What We Don’t

Karen Gries, Principal, CLA
Complying with numerous provisions of the 2017 Tax Act continues to challenge many exempt organizations. With little guidance from the U.S. Treasury, plus the possibility of additional legislative action, there are many unanswered questions. Join us in this interactive session where we will discuss the most up-to-date guidance on many provisions and offer practical considerations on how to approach compliance. (CPE: 1 credit Taxes)

Buy or Lease? Campaign or Borrow? Choosing the Right Facility Strategy

Curtis Klotz, Director of Nonprofit Innovation, CLA and Michael Goar, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities 
Deciding where to locate offices and where to house program activities are big decisions for most nonprofits. The difficult questions raised in this process require strategic thinking about both the financial and mission-related implications. This session explores the many options available to nonprofits to meet their facility needs — build a new facility, buy an existing building, borrow money, launch a capital campaign, or simply lease a space. Hear pros and cons of each option and learn questions to ask that help guide nonprofits to appropriate facility strategies. (CPE: 1 credit Specialized Knowledge)


Event Details

Logistics and CPE Information

Who should attend

This session is designed for executive directors, CFOs, board members, and finance or accounting professionals.


Minneapolis Marriott Northwest
7025 Northland Drive North
Brooklyn Park, MN 55428


$250. Payment is requested via PayPal after filling out the registration form below.


Up to 7 credits of CPE are offered. Recommended CPE can be found in each session description.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of nonprofit operations
Program level: Overview
Advance preparation: None
Delivery method: Group live

View CPE sponsorship information.


Event materials

For more information:

  • Shana Vachhani
  • Marketing/CRM Coordinator