organizational development

NSPN: Meeting Your Personal, Organizational and Community Needs

Written by: April Carthorn, General Specialist, National Safe Place Network


After forty-years offering support to member organizations who serve youth and families, National Safe Place Network (NSPN) has learned that needs vary by organization, in communities, and over time.  We offer a flexible structure designed to help members affordably access the benefits they need.  Base membership is $200.  We have three additional benefit packages which can be combined in an All-in-One for a $200 discount, essentially waiving the base membership fee.

Package options are:

  • Professional Development
  • Training Center
  • Organizational Development

Pricing for each package depends on the size of your agency budget at one of three levels:

  • Under $500,000
  • $500,000 to $2 million
  • Over $2 million

As we approach the start of a new membership year July 1st, we want to share with those of you who may not know how you could benefit from making NSPN your network.

Base Membership
The NSPN Base Membership is an easily affordable investment for organizations who want updated information, helpful resources and access to a national network of dedicated professionals.  Base members receive discounts on registration for NSPN events like the bi-annual Focus Conference.  Networking opportunities include access to quarterly executive leadership calls and eligibility for national awards.

Base members also have opportunities to share your expertise with peers in the field by participating in Innovation Circles research projects or contributing as a guest blogger on NSPNsights. Tell us about promising practices in your organization, community, or state or something else that you’re passionate about.  We never know how sharing our stories impacts and motivates others.

Learn more about base member benefits here:

Professional Development
The Professional Development benefits package is designed for agencies dedicated to educating, motivating, and cultivating their staff.  Succession planning starts with identifying potential leaders and developing their skills to grow people in your organization.  The Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI) is one grand example.  Participants examine their past, present, and aspiring leadership journey with other NSPN members.

As a former middle manager, I often struggled most with meeting the needs of both upper management and program staff.  Playing the middle man/woman between two vital entities that each have a different focus, skill set, understanding and responsibility can be draining and at times overwhelming.  Professional coaching for middle managers is invaluable support for learning to create the right balance.

Learn more about Professional Development benefits here:

Training Center
The NSPN Training Center benefits package is targeted toward organizations seeking access to tools, trainings and other resources that help staff best serve youth, young adults and their families.  Along with access to the Destination for Online Training (DOT), Training Center members receive specialized services.  NSPN staff or Subject Matter Experts will work with members to customize webinars or other training to meet their needs.

Training Center members also received discounts on our most popular site-based learning opportunities, including CYC and Youth Thrive.  Learn more about Child and Youth Care: Foundations Course and becoming a certified youth care worker here:  More information about the Youth Thrive Curriculum is available here:

Learn about other Training Center benefits here:

Organizational Development
This benefits package is targeted toward organizations who seek to strengthen or maintain a solid and sustainable organizational structure.  Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone.  Being prepared to respond quickly and appropriately is key to how individuals, organizations and communities recover in times of crisis or adversity.  Some member organizations have suffered losses or dealt with traumatic incidents.  NSPN provides crisis debriefing for staff and volunteers of member agencies with the Organizational Development package.

NSPN can also assist Organizational Development members by reviewing human resources policies and procedures and providing feedback.  It’s a good practice to revisit policies and procedures periodically. Amendments may be necessary as changes in mission, organizational structure or populations served occur over time.

Learn more about Organizational Development benefits here:

All-in-One Membership
The value of NSPN base membership and add-on packages increase the more members take advantage of their benefits.  And your best investment is the All-in-One package, with access to benefits to improve your programs and services, invest in your staff and leaders, and develop organizational capacity.  As a bonus, NSPN members receive a $200 discount when they upgrade to the All-in-One package.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have and show you how much we value our members. You can reach me, April Carthorn, at

The Sustainability Puzzle

By: Shauna Stubbs, RHYTTAC Principal Investigator for National Safe Place Network 

Sustainability is more than fund development and capacity building.  It is not only easy to over-simplify the idea but to completely mis-characterize it.  We think about how our agency or program can win funding from competitors.  But in truth, sustainability is collective, cooperative, and collaborative.  Here are a few pieces of the puzzle to help you consider applying a philosophy of sustainability in your organization.

Know what your community needs.  Regularly mapping assets, assessing needs, and identifying gaps in resources or services for the population(s) with whom you work enables organizations to avoid duplication and focus effort where it is most needed.  Keep in mind that community boundaries aren’t necessarily geographic.

Know who you are.  Develop a clear mission and use it to drive decisions.  Recognize your strengths and leverage those in organizational and program development.  Avoid the temptation to reconfigure for funding opportunities (or even private donations) that aren’t an authentic fit.

Know who you need.  This applies both internally and externally.  Board and leadership development require attention to diversity.  Both should reflect the populations you serve and bring the full complement of skills and assets necessary for your organization to thrive!  From an external perspective, sometimes the most sustainable strategy to achieve an objective is to build relationships with partners who can contribute their strengths and resources to your success.

Value people.  Listen for the voices of clients, volunteers, and direct care staff.  These are the people who really know what is going on, and they are so often ignored or unappreciated.  Recognize how important the people who earn the least in your organization truly are, invest in their professional development, and engage them in decisions.  Then sit back and watch what happens!     

Be Excellent.  Start from the most evidence-informed position possible, develop programs based on logic models, monitor performance and evaluate outcomes.  Continuously improve the work you do.  Build depth before breadth.  As a reminder, none of these grand ideas will produce excellence without the engagement of the aforementioned people.

Pay it forward.  Agencies and programs that are culturally invested in professional advancement and Positive Youth Development have a natural advantage when it comes to succession planning.  Draw a pathway from receiving services to volunteering to providing services to leadership, and make it part of your organizational identity.

Share what you learn.  Evidence-based practice involves exploring what has and has not worked for others, critically considering what is likely to work for the people you serve, and evaluating outcomes that follow the practices you employ.  It also involves supporting the knowledge base available for other practitioners to explore.  What you learn can be helpful to others.

It’s all about the mission.  There is no place for ego.  People who work in organizations who serve people and communities are ultimately aiming to work themselves out of a job – to eliminate the need for their services by solving the social problem at the root of the need.  For example, the Forty to None Project’s mission is “…to raise awareness about and bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth experiencing homelessness.” Learn more at:

Follow these links to sustainability resources available from National Safe Place Network:

Follow the links below for additional resources about sustainability:

Each of the following links provide information about potential funding sources: