Capacity Building Workshops

CSCNS IC Workshops

The COVID-19 pandemic and other complexities have changed the context and needs for the social sector.

Back in March 2021, the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia (CSCNS) partnered with Inspiring Communities (IC) to launch a survey to gather data and information on the needs of the sector. Together, we recognized the need to offer capacity building opportunities based on the current and future context. We also understand that community connection and support are essential, especially during times of crisis; we aim to facilitate such connection while offering meaningful, shared learning opportunities and resources that align with evolving sector needs. 

The results from the survey helped identify the sector needs and inform the five capacity building sessions. We invite you to join us for capacity building workshops that will further skill, knowledge and build opportunities for people and organizations to create positive impact across Nova Scotia. 

The 2-part capacity building sessions will have an emphasis on building peer-to-peer relationships (cohort learning) and collaborative learning while offering tools and resources to help you implement the learning within your organization or community. Check out the five session topics below!

Session 1: Collaboration and Partnerships: Developing relationships across shared focus areas with other organizations

Date: May 19th/June 09th- 1-:2:30pm
Facilitator/s: Kayla Bernard/Lisa Lachance

Collaboration and partnership are vital in the sector to find solutions in a world facing increasingly complex challenges and opportunities. This session will ask how we can amplify the impact of our work, what are the tools and resources required for collaboration, what is the vision or skills needed for collaboration, and how do we elevate collaboration in the midst of all we have to do. This session will focus on developing relationships across organizations with the following focus areas:

  • Communication tools/approaches for engaging potential partners
  • Partnership agreements (timelines, tools for building partnership agreements)
  • Intentional focus on developing partnerships with diverse communities (how to reach out) and within diverse communities

Session 2:  Planning for Uncertainty: How to Build an Agile Strategy

Date: May 21st/ June 11th- 1-2:30pm
Facilitator/s: Ian MacDonald

Strategic planning is an essential roadmap in operating a nonprofit organization but covid-19 and so many uncertainties at the moment it’s hard to plan for the future. Many people and organizations have also said that while strategic planning is essential the current 3-5 year model is not sustainable. This 2-part session on adaptive/agile strategic planning will help organizations create a roadmap and support organizations to deal with complex and changing conditions.

Focus Areas:

  • Strategic framework and planning in chaotic or crisis times
  • Pivoting, leveraging flexibility and adaptability
  • Look at it from a budgeting standpoint - how do you accept things are going to change in your budget
  • Adaptive planning and an approach that allows for community feedback loop
  • How has COVID impacted planning and what might stick?
  • How to make more services/planning virtual accessible
  • How to plan implement deliver services in a manner that can be adaptive to change 

Session 3:  Evaluating Your Impact: Measuring & Communications Value

Date: May 26th/ June 16th- 1-2:30pm
Facilitator/s: Cari Patterson & Karen Pyra

What do we mean by impact? How do we decide what impacts we want to measure? Who needs to be involved in the decision-making process on what we measure and how? Who needs to know about our impact and how will they learn about it? These are the kinds of questions this session will explore. In our time together we will focus on:

  • The role of evaluation and the evaluator
  • Understanding what we (and our stakeholders) mean by impacts
  • How do we know if we are having an impact
  • Evaluation planning
  • Collecting and making sense of information
  • Sharing what we have learned

Session 4:  Influencing Policy Decisions: Advocating for Systems Level Change

Date: May 28th/ June 18th- 1-2:30pm
Facilitator/s: Louise Adongo, Angela Poirier & Jane Allt

Seeking to make systems level change and move the needle on social policy issues but don’t know where to start? This 2 part session on advocacy will look at how to influence policy decisions while providing you with the tools and resources to bring about real change through policy advocacy. This capacity building session will focus on:

  • Advocacy and influencing policy decision making, which will include examining the role of politicians and bureaucrats in the process and how best to target efforts;
  • Framing research and programs to meet political cycles and government agendas,including research elements to consider; 
  • Framing policy briefs, including key steps in government’s policy-making process.

Session 5:  Psychological Safety in the Workplace 101

Date: June 2nd/ June 23rd- 1-2:30pm
Facilitator/s: Dr. Lee-Baggley


Psychological safety has become a buzz word in the justice, equity, diversity and inclusion work but what does it really mean and what implications does it have for your organization and the health and safety of your team? This session will explore what psychological safety really means and how it shows up in your workplace? This 2-part series will focus on:

  • What does psychological safety mean?
  • What are tools to assess and build safety within your organization?
  • Organizational tools for dealing with the psychological, JEDI, Burnout and Mental health demands of the sector


Inspiring Communities supports the growth and vitality of the field of systems change in Atlantic Canada. We provide a nest for experimentation, develop leadership in the field, and cultivate a culture of learning and evaluation for social change initiatives. Wayside is Inspiring Communities' learning and connection space for anyone working for the greater good in Atlantic Canada. It’s a place to connect and recharge, collaborate, learn, and discover new paths to achieve positive social change.

14 thoughts on “Capacity Building Workshops”

  1. Session 2: Planning for Uncertainty sold out very quickly. I received the email about the Capacity Building Workshops at 10:45 am and tried to register at 2:15 pm and it was already sold out. I was wondering if a 2nd session of “Planning for Uncertainty” will be offered?

    1. Hi Juanita, we may offer the sessions again later this year due to the interest and uptake.

  2. Any more spots available for first two please: Session 1 & 3 in particular

    1. Hi Claire, unfortunately there are no spots left, but we are recording the sessions and will have them available later on!

  3. Followed the link to register for Session 3, but it says ‘unavailable’!
    Has this session been cancelled?

  4. Some are “Sold Out” on eventbrite. Will additional seats be offered &/or will these be offered again? Is there a waitlist?

    1. Hi Krista, unfortunately there is no waitlist for these sessions as they are pilot sessions. Based on the feedback and the uptake, we may host them again in the fall!

  5. Hello there!
    These sessions look so informative and relevant. Unfortunately the first four are sold out. Are you able to provide recordings or the notes/slide deck?

  6. After I initially commented I seem to have clicked
    the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get four
    emails with the same comment.
    There has to be a way you can remove me from
    that service? Cheers!

    1. Hi Geoffrey – there should be an option to “unsubscribe” in each of those email notifications (probably in the fine print of the footer) – unfortunately we are not able to turn this off for you on our end. CSCNS

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