How are CompassPoint’s Workshops Changing in 2020?

February 11, 2020

Last year, we shared with you how we were starting to plant the seeds for transformation in our workshops program. This year, some of the seeds are starting to sprout.

A diverse group of CompassPoint workshop participants sit around a table working together.

What should I know about CompassPoint’s 2020 workshops?
Here’s the headline: our current slate of workshops is being redesigned and updated this year! This includes: Coaching Skills; Facilitation Skills; Change, Transition, and the Practice of Adaptive Leadership; Managing Your Time and Energy; Conflict Resolution with Power and Privilege in Mind, and Public Speaking

We’ll start offering updated versions of these classes in July of 2020. In addition, we’ll continue to partner with the Sustainable Economies Law Center to offer Rethinking Nonprofits throughout 2020.

When and where can I sign up for the re-designed classes?
We’ll update our workshops page in the spring with new classes and new class descriptions. The best way to make sure you get the announcement is to sign up for our newsletter.  

What about supervision and finance classes? 
Supervision and finance classes are getting redesigned, too! These trainings have always been an essential part of CompassPoint’s offerings and they’ll continue to be. Questions of how we lead people and how we manage money are essential to our work as nonprofit and social justice leaders. We are deeply committed to bringing these classes back. 

We’ll start offering a fully new set of offerings around managing people and money in the fourth quarter of 2020. The best way to make sure you get the announcement is to sign up for our newsletter

If you are holding roles responsible for finance and human resources at your organization, you should also consider joining our Peer Networks.  These are powerful learning communities where you can grow your learning around key questions of leading people and managing money year-round.

When can I sign up for the revamped supervision and finance classes?
We’ll update our workshops page in the early fall with new supervision and finance classes. The best way to make sure you get the announcement is to sign up for our newsletter

What will be different about updated classes?
We’re redesigning our classes to center a teaching and learning model called popular education, developed by Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. Some of you may already be familiar with it through your experiences in organizing or social justice work. For some folks, popular education may be a totally new concept. 

Here’s why we’re excited about it: 

In a popular education model, we are all teachers and learners. A popular education approach meets participants where they are, makes room for experiential and creative learning, and creates space to turn new ideas into action through practice. It encourages us all to connect our lived experiences to bigger picture, structural issues and to think critically about shifting power. We are leaning into popular education to create more inclusive, democratic, and dynamic learning experiences at CompassPoint. 

We’ll share more about popular education and how it’s influencing the way we design classes on our blog this month. 

Why are you changing?
By shifting our programming this way, we are affirming that the classroom is a political place: a place to talk seriously about power and how to shift it. We believe that learning technical skills has to go hand in hand with an analysis of power in order to build organizations and movements that create greater equity and justice. We are stepping into our responsibility as a respected thought leader and convener in the nonprofit sector to create learning opportunities that center liberatory practices and that welcome everyone’s experiences and gifts.      

What about technical skills and knowledge?
Technical knowledge is so important, and for many of us who find ourselves in new areas of leadership without a lot of support, it’s especially urgent to access knowledge, skills, and wisdom. You can continue to rely on CompassPoint as a place to learn about the everyday skills needed in leadership, finance, managing change, and resourcing our missions. And, at the same time, it’s vital that we gain, wield, and share technical knowledge in service of greater equity and lifting up the voices and decision making of people who have too often been pushed to the margins in our organizations. A popular education model helps us all to think critically about shifting power in everything we do. 

What’s taking so long?
It’s important to do this work in a principled way and that has meant scaling down on some offerings over the last year. Radical imagination needs space and time to grow. We really appreciate our community’s patience while we work behind the scenes. The last two years have been deeply transformative for CompassPoint as we work to ground ourselves in a vision for leadership that centers justice and equity. We realize this has an impact on folks who rely on CompassPoint as a space for learning, growth, and connecting, and we’re confident that taking the time to evolve these workshops will help to make this the best learning community it can be. 

Where can I reach out with more questions?
These changes won’t happen overnight. You’ll probably experience them in a gradual way throughout the year and beyond as we deepen our collective learning around popular education and begin to practice it with all of you. This isn’t the end of a process, but the beginning of a new phase of ongoing learning, iteration, and evolution. 

We hope you’ll share your questions and feedback with us. You can reach out to us at any time at



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