leaders , and Launched the Nonprofit Leadership Lab in 2017 . For a monthly fee , members all over the world can access content and community resources . Nonprofit members include everything from food pantries in Minneapolis to domestic violence shelters in Seattle .
Among the resources the site offers are video master classes , templates , checklists and other data that “ just make life easier for a nonprofit ,” she says . The lab also brings in experts to do live webinars , fundraising boot camps , and book clubs .
“ We ’ ve created this incredibly robust , warm , generous , smart community now close to 5,000 people from North America and around the world ,” says Garry . “ We see ourselves as champions for the success of these people .”
Over the course of the Nonprofit Leadership Lab ’ s four years in operation , they ’ ve been able to support 10,000 members across the world . Garry expects this number to double in the next two years . About 40 % of people who joined the Nonprofit Leadership Lab are still members to this day .
“ There ’ s just such an appetite for both the resources and this feeling that we are in their camp and that we are advocates for their success ,” she says . “ We ’ re finding that community is something that members want to continue to be apart of . It feels like a bit of a lifeline to people sometimes when they feel like they are at their wit ’ send .”
THE PANDEMIC CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR NONPROFITS SEEKING GUIDANCE . Garry says members have told her they never found the lab more valuable than during the pandemic . While she initially wondered if they would lose members , they instead found that members became more engaged , using the lab as a lifeline to plan their futures during an unprecedented situation .
“ We were really able to bring in experts to talk about how you can do
FAMILY GATHERING Montclair resident and Nonprofit Leadership Lab director Joan Garry , second from left , with her wife , Eileen Opatut , left , and their three children .
a virtual event since your gala just canceled ,” says Garry . “ Maybe you ’ re an arts organization and you ’ re not going to be able to sell tickets this year . How might you shift how you deliver art to your community ?”
Garry says nonprofits learned many new things during the pandemic , which are lessons they shouldn ’ t forget . Before the pandemic , many nonprofits were “ too heavily reliant ” on annual galas , she says . Now , these organizations have found new ways to diversify the revenue sources that they didn ’ t even imagine before .
“ They learned to innovate and deliver services online and have a broader reach ,” says Garry . “ My advice is , don ’ t go back to business as usual . Business as usual was not all it was cracked up to be .”
HER CONNECTION TO MONTCLAIR AND LOCAL NONPROFITS IS STRONG . Garry and her wife moved from Brooklyn to Montclair in 1985 , joking that they were “ pioneers from Park Slope .” Since that time , Garry has seen a “ remarkable change ” in both the township and the community . It ’ s amusing to her to look back to the mid-1980s when the township had a law against serving raw food , while today , many local Japanese restaurants serve sushi .
“ We encouraged many friends and family members to move here and since 1985 , I think it ’ s just become the most remarkable intersection of urban and suburban that I could possibly imagine ,” she says . “ Montclair is part of my DNA .”
Montclair itself is home to many of the nonprofits that the Nonprofit Leadership Lab aims to help , such as the Montclair Art Museum . Jazz House Kids also has a big footprint in town , but is not a large organization in terms of budget and staff .
“ If we can help her figure out how to raise an extra $ 500,000 during a 12-month period of time , that ’ s incredibly rewarding for us and impactful for her ,” says Garry of JHK ’ s director .
Garry says if people find themselves trying to find meaning and purpose in their lives , as she once did , they just need to go out and find it . “ There ’ s no better place to find that meaning and purpose than being engaged in some way as a volunteer , adonor , or aboard member at a nonprofit organization ,” she says . ■
For more information , visit nonprofitleadershiplab . com
COURTESY OF JOAN GARRY
12 MAY 2022 MONTCLAIR MAGAZINE