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What’s Next?

Join us for our twice-monthly
digital nonprofit roundtable

Join us for What’s Next? 

We are all trying to make sense of how to advance social good in a rapidly changing world. Rather than go that road alone, we invite you to engage in our free nonprofit virtual roundtable series where the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ is on full display.  It’s a fast-paced, 30-minute format that brings forward a variety of topics related to the nonprofit experience. Join us the second and fourth Fridays of each month for these can’t-miss panels! 

Register for upcoming topics or download previous episodes below. 

October 23: Brand Development – Building a Brand Through Social Good

Engagement with social good can often be a powerful expression of brand development by a company, aiming to align corporate identity with the values that are meaningful for consumers and employees alike. In this session, Next Stage’s Janet Ervin will facilitate a discussion with leading brand marketing gug Greg Johnson from Orbital Socket to explore social good as a building block of brand that leads to differentiation and staying power.


  • Greg Johnson, Managing Director, Orbital Socket

Catch Up with Past Sessions

October 9: The Value Prop – A Mindset Shift for the Private Sector & Social Good

This session kicks off a brand new What’s Next series that will explore the intersection of the private sector and social good. We’ll talk about how social good is already showing up in companies across the region, interview business leaders and social entrepreneurs and imagine new ways to collaborate that could lead to a more successful community for everyone. Register now for the first episode hosted by Next Stage’s Josh Jacobson. 


  • Blair Primis, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Talent Management
  • John Searby, Executive Director, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

September 25: Building a Better Nonprofit Story: Decolonizing the Narrative

The July ‘Storytelling With Integrity’ episode was one of the most popular panels to date, and for good reason. Stories are incredibly powerful – and critical to the way we communicate cause and mission. In the July panel we talked about the need to examine what narrative we are sharing and ways we can ask better questions. This 2.0 session will go a step further to focus on tactical, direct action steps. The panel of experts will offer candid conversation and advice on rejecting ‘deficit’ stories, language to avoid and how we can embrace a fuller, more equitable narrative focused on possibility and imagination.


  • Valaida Fullwood, Author & Strategist
  • Alicia Bell, Community Organizer, Free Press

September 11: Homegrown Social Impact: Investing in Charlotte-Based Nonprofit Entrepreneurship

Charlotte is an enterprising town, with a network of social good entrepreneurs as dynamic and innovative as any start-up hub nationwide. Whether launching a new program in a mature organization or creating a brand new nonprofit, our community is teeming with people ready to make their mark and move the needle. Thriving nonprofit innovation is an important component of any healthy social good ecosystem — it signifies strong community organizing, neighborhood-level leadership and passionate residents willing to commit energy and resources to moving the Charlotte region forward. But how do funders approach investing in new organizations or programmatic approaches — and how can entrepreneurs build successful and impactful funding relationships? 


  • Jennifer Dewitt, Program Officer, The Leon Levine Foundation 
  • Charles Thomas, Director, The Knight Foundation

August 28: The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Nonprofit Executive Compensation Study

A recurring topic for us is the cost of quality staff talent. As our firm has grown its executive search business line, we’ve encountered many board leader uncertain of how best to evaluate executive compensation. In late August 2020, Next Stage released the first-ever Charlotte-Mecklenburg Nonprofit Executive Compensation Study with an examination of the state of Executive Director/CEO-level compensation for nonprofit leaders in our area. In this episode, Managing Director Josh Jacobson and a panel of experts will unpack the research and discuss what it means for nonprofit executives in the Queen City.


  • Jim Bales, Chief Financial Officer, Children & Family Services Center
  • Kevin Monaghan, Founder & Director, Intuitive Compensation Group

August 14: A What’s Next Takeover for Black Philanthropy Month

Join us for this first-ever, special edition What’s Next takeover! On August 14, the New Generation of African American Philanthropists will take over What’s Next to share more about their work around Black Philanthropy Month and ways that the nonprofit community can better ally with Black-led organizations.


  • Charles Thomas, Director, The Knight Foundation
  • Valaida Fullwood, Author & Strategist

July 24: Storytelling With Integrity

Stories capture our imagination, build empathy and drive human connection. As nonprofit professionals, stories communicate urgency for our causes. But whose stories are we choosing to share, for what purpose, and how? Storytelling with integrity means building narratives that inspire empathy and respect, and leading with a human element. This panel of veteran storytellers and journalists will share tips for crafting a compelling story, how they choose which stories to tell and the storyteller’s responsibility to craft an empathetic, equitable narrative. 


  • Ju-Don Marshall, Chief Content Officer & Executive Vice President, WFAE
  • Tommy Tomlinson, Author, Storyteller & Host, SouthBound podcast
  • Alicia Bell, Community Organizer, Free Press

July 10: Community Need & Social Innovation

Working at the intersection of community need and social innovation, the GreenLight Fund is a venture philanthropy fund that applies the best of venture to the nonprofit sector. Since 2017, the national organization has been operating an office in Charlotte under the leadership of Carrie Cook who was hired as its Executive Director in 2018. In this session, we explore the GreenLight Fund’s work through two rounds of investment in Charlotte and the impact it is having on partner organizations who benefit from collaborating with scaling programs with measurable impact.


  • Carrie Cook, Executive Director, Greenlight Fund Charlotte
  • Tomico Evans, Executive Vice President, Core Programs, INLIVIAN

June 26: Getting Creative with Partnerships & Collaborations

Effectively meeting the needs of our city through this crisis makes working together critical. For the final #NewNormalCLT before its evolution, Next Stage invites Tim Miner from Charlotte is Creative to highlight creative approaches to partnerships and doing more together than alone.


  • Tim Miner, Co-Founder, Charlotte is Creative
  • Demi Clark, Founder, She Built This City
  • William McNeely, Founder, Do Greater Charlotte

June 19: Building Better Neighborhood Partnerships

The COVID-19 crisis has further exposed disparities across a range of issues in our city. As Leading on Opportunity and other studies have already demonstrated, many communities in Charlotte are disproportionately affected by these issues. As we make major changes to programming in response to the crisis, how do we ensure we are building culturally conscious services that engage the communities they are meant to serve?


  • Tiffany Capers, Executive Director, CrossRoads Corporation
  • Michael DeVaul, Strategy Leader, My Brother’s Keeper CLT
  • Gina Esquivel, Principal Consultant, Civic Canvas

June 12: Impact, Need & Changing Priorities

The public health crisis has changed or intensified the need in our community. Fresh off of a community assessment in service to developing a plan for the deployment of CARES Act funding, Charlotte Area Fund’s Nick Wharton will be joined by the Next Stage team for a review of that research and insights into the road ahead.


  • Nick Wharton, President & CEO, Charlotte Area Fund
  • Janet Ervin, Consultant, Next Stage
  • Caylin Haldeman, Director, CULTIVATE
  • Josh Jacobson, Managing Director, Next Stage

June 5: Shifting Delivery Systems

“Necessity is the mother of all invention.” Nonprofits across the spectrum are demonstrating the truth of this statement by finding creative ways to accomplish their missions, even when their traditional channels are not available. Learn how several organizations have evolved their delivery systems to meet the needs of their clients through both hands-on and digital channels.


  • Beth Morrison, Executive Director, Rebuilding Together of Charlotte
  • Ed Price, Executive Director, Community Matters Café
  • Adrienne and Emmanuel Threatt, Co-Founders/Directors, Hope Vibes

May 29: Earned Revenue Challenges – The Future of Social Enterprise

Up until just a few months ago, nonprofit organizations were being encouraged to launch social enterprise strategies to generate earned revenue as a means to diversify funding streams. Now, with the economy slowed and many still sheltering in place, the future of these strategies is uncertain. Hear from three nonprofit leaders who continue to innovate with new market-driven approaches.


  • Laura Belcher, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte
  • Manuel Campbell, CEO, ASPIRE Community Capital
  • Kelly Finley, Executive Director, Girls Rock Charlotte

May 22: Will They Really Give? Sustaining Your Major Gift Campaign During Crisis

Many organizations are experiencing the tension of increased need and decreased revenue. This is particularly true for organizations that were mid-stroke on ambitious campaigns to increase impact and launch capital efforts. Our panelists are all in the midst of raising funds for ambitious projects and will share their recent experiences.


  • Jenni Gaisbauer, Executive Director, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Foundation
  • John Searby, Executive Director, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation
  • Banu Valladares, Executive Director, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool

May 15: Getting Creative with Corporate Sponsorship Fulfillment

Corporate sponsors are a key partner in many nonprofit fundraising efforts. With the disruption of spring events, many organizations are left wondering about the best way to fulfill sponsorship commitments and how to continue to engage companies. We’ll find out what area sponsors think and get their advice for maintaining connection. 


  • Natalie J. Brown, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Ally Financial
  • Dominique Johnson, Community Affairs Manager, Duke Energy
  • Blair Primis, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Talent Management, OrthoCarolina

May 8: Launching a Crisis Response Fund

With the spring fundraising season completely disrupted, several organizations quickly sprang into action with crisis response funds. Find out how these organizations are messaging to their communities, raising money and even acquiring new donors in the midst of crisis.


  • Randall Hitt, Chief Engagement Officer, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte
  • Katy Ryan, Executive Director 24 Foundation
  • Sam Smith, Director of External Partnerships, United Way of Central Carolinas

May 1: Budget Shortfalls & Bold Leadership – What Does Success Look Like?

Public health concerns, increased service needs and economic challenges have completely flipped the script for many nonprofits in just a few short weeks. What should our KPIs look like when the goals set at the beginning of the budget year have been completely disrupted? How do we manage budget shortfalls and set goals that will continue to drive our missions forward?


  • Michelle Hamilton, Interim President & CEO, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra
  • Chris Jackson, President & CEO, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont
  • Basil Lyberg, CEO, The Ability Experience

April 24: Keeping Volunteers Engaged

Volunteers are critical for many organizations. How do you continue to engage volunteers in a digital, socially distant world? These organizations share how they are communicating with and continuing to engage their volunteer networks.


  • Tina Postel, Executive Director of Loaves & Fishes
  • Michael DeVaul, Chief Social Responsibility Officer at the YMCA of Greater Charlotte
  • Amy Jacobs, Executive Director of SHARE Charlotte

April 17: Digital Outreach in a Time of COVID-19

Organizations are having to adapt digital outreach to volunteers, donors and clients. In this session, our panlists share which digital channels they are using to communicate with their communities, what to do when access is limited, how they quickly galvanized their supporters to meet needs, and where they are finding success.


  • Angela Woods, CEO of the Girl Scouts, Hornets Nest Council
  • Jimmy McQuilkin, Executive Director of UrbanPromise Charlotte
  • Becky Santoro, Founder of Foster Village Charlotte

April 10: Your Mission Still Matters: Finding Your Narrative in a Crisis

Organizations of every size and mission focus are asking themselves the same question: How do we stay sensitive to the crisis at hand while also staying true to our mission? Learn how three very different organizations are finding narrative traction in the midst of crisis and how their communities are responding.


  • Kris Reid, Executive Director of the Piedmont Culinary Guild
  • Erin Santos, President of The Isabella Santos Foundation
  • Witnie Martinez, M.S.,C.G.S, VP of Institutional Advancement, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture

April 3: So Your Event Was Cancelled, Now What? 

This session focuses on the transition from in-person to virtual events and features nonprofit professionals who have already made the switch. They discuss what worked well, lessons learned and advice for other organizations considering a switch to a virtual event.


  • Shannon Greene, AVP, National MS Society
  • Sil Ganzó, Founder & Executive Director, ourBRIDGE for KIDS
  • Dick Sesler, Founder, Camp Blue Skies
  • Kristin Winkle Beck, Executive Director, Social Venture Partners Charlotte

March 27: What’s On Your Mind?

Our first roundtable topic of The New Normal series featured three prominent local leaders discussing the questions and concerns that have been top of mind for them over the last week, as well as how they are navigating short term challenges and changes.


  • Don Jonas, Executive Director, Care Ring
  • Banu Valladares, Executive Director, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool
  • Shannon Binns, Executive Director, Sustain Charlotte