Annual Princeton Community Works nonprofit conference to be held Jan. 27

Inclusion, acceptance, expertise, empathy — those are just some of the building blocks of a successful nonprofit organization. Participants in the annual Princeton Community Works conference for nonprofits will reflect on the building blocks that create strong communities at the event on the evening of Jan. 27 at the Frist Campus Center at Princeton University.

Now in its 21st year, the conference brings together more than 500 volunteers, nonprofit board members, and leaders from across the region for a night of networking and learning. At the beginning of the evening, participants will be given blocks and will take part in a group exercise that is meant to build connections between participants. The blocks, with words on them, will be used to foster meaningful conversations, said Marge Smith, the founder of Princeton Community Works.

“Community works in focused on connecting people in meaningful ways and helping them gain new skills to make their visions a reality,” Smith said. “One hope is that people at the event will find other people who might complement what they are trying to do, so partnerships can occur.”

Smith also hopes the event, which celebrates volunteering and giving back to the community, will be exhilarating, meaningful and fun for attendees. “Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there is a lot of good in this world,” she said. “Gathering together is a reminder that when we work together, we can make good things happen.”

About three dozen volunteers have been meeting every week since the fall to plan the event. More than 40 speakers have been recruited to lead 26 workshops on subjects ranging from grant writing to volunteer board management to social media for nonprofits.

Online registration for the event closes on Tuesday, Jan. 21, but you can also register for workshops just before the start of the event. The cost to attend the event is $40 and includes a boxed dinner and snacks.

Randal Pinkett

Entrepreneur, speaker, and author Randal Pinkett will give the keynote address. Pinkett is back at Community Works by popular demand after giving a speech at the event a few years ago.

“He is an incredible speaker, and he inspires people to act and make a difference,” Smith said. “He radiates a positive energy and communicates in a way that inspires people to go out and do good in the world.”