Inspiring Groups

Inspired people learn and grow.

I offer development supports to non-profit organisations, communities and voluntary groups. Programmes can be developed around the requirements of an individual organisation or on specific topics that will benefit a large number of participants from multiple organisations.

Training, mentoring and evaluations

To supplement learning, very often I will provide clear step by step manuals for participants to take back to their organisations. This tool will facilitate the implementation of their new knowledge and help others around them to learn.

Programmes can be delivered both in person and online.

“Liam is very knowledgeable and is clearly an expert in his field, he can read the room very well and adapts his sessions to suit his audience.”

“Liam’s openness to interacting with participants is very respectful and facilitates learning from the experience of others attending the session.”

“Liam’s breadth of knowledge and expertise were greatly appreciated by the participants along with his skills as a facilitator.”

“He is a wealth of knowledge in terms of policies for our organisation which is complex from a charity point of view.”

“Whenever our board feels like we have a challenging governance matter, Liam is our first point of call for sage and objective advice.”

Through mentoring and coaching programmes I have

Provided 100s of communities with the means and motivation to attract the resources they need to achieve their vision.

Worked with scores of voluntary Boards of nonprofits. Inspiring them to self-evaluate and transform their team spirit to achieve their cherished goals.

Helped multiple communities and voluntary groups to design their own future in an open, transparent and democratic manner.

Brought 100s of communities together during the pandemic and stimulating them to be ready and able to adapt to huge operational challenges.

Areas of Expertise

Through training programmes, evaluations and mentoring, I seek to engage, motivate and give real, practical help. Sessions will always have ambience, engagement, honesty, an understanding that everyone matters and is included.

Building voluntary teams that work respectfully and effectively together by agreeing core goals and behaviours.

  • Enabling new teams to work together
  • Building good team dynamics
  • Negative and positive groups
  • Internal behaviour and values codes for good meetings
  • Effective communication in groups
  • Effective communication dynamics with: funders, communities, all stakeholders

“I honestly can say it was so well organised, thought out and prepared.  The provision of templates, handouts etc is so helpful – particularly in our sector (FRC) where there are 101 calls on your time.”

Participant on Kerry Volunteer Centre programme

Helping teams to focus their energies on what is really needed and what they can do best.

  • Needs analysis
  • Survey techniques for identifying needs
  • Brainstorming
  • Developing key themes and projects from brainstorming session(s)
  • Prioritising projects effectively
  • Allocating responsibilities
  • Achieving implementation

Inspiring large numbers of people to collectively reach a common vision for their area/sector and then create a clear pathway to action, composed of practical plans, with committed actors and implementation.

Collaborating with groups to create plans and strategies in a way that engages everyone in the process and delivers real social impact.

  • The purpose of Strategic Planning: significance of having an engaging process as well as writing great content.
  • Executive summary, Background, Context ,Research and consultations
  • Vision, Mission, Goals, Measurement
  • Delivery structure, Board, Management, Networks
  • Enabling policies, Statutory policies, Key roles, Effectiveness
  • Projections over multiple years at a headline level
  • Signatures , Appendices, References

Guiding groups on how to achieve social impact through projects that are financially profitable.

  • What is social enterprise
  • Different types of social enterprise
  • How to identify commercially viable projects
  • Management planning
  • Basic costing
  • Financial planning

Showing groups where the funding is to be found and how to effectively apply for it.

  • Re-adjusting operations
  • Knowing your position in the world of funding
  • Getting ahead on application preparation
  • Effective communications in funding
  • New approaches to fundraising
  • Crowdfunding
  • Sources of grants and loans
  • Your funding plan

“I’ve very much enjoyed your sessions, there’s lovely ease to the way you deliver the content that makes it very engaging and easy to follow; I’ve learned a lot!”

Participant on Cork PPN session on Financing

Helping voluntary Board members to fulfill their various roles and comply with increasing governance responsibilities.

The application of the Governance Code has thrown a spotlight on how Boards operate.

This session deals with:

  • Responsibilities of Trustees/Board members
  • What is an effective Board?
  • Effective meeting management.
  • What is a competent Board?
  • Roles of Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary and PRO
  • Managing conflict

Identifying the events that could seriously damage your organisation and creating a register and management plan to reduce the likelihood of this happening.

  • What is risk
  • Risk management process
  • Risk identification
  • Why manage risk
  • Preparing a risk management policy
  • Risk Scoring
  • Risk register

Drafting policy documents required for good governance or by funders.

Many voluntary bodies struggle to write up their policies and procedures in many areas such as communications, conflict, grievances, finance, human resources, safety, safeguarding, whistleblowing and much more. There are c. 35 policies which different bodies need, depending on their work.

The presenter covered it from each respective angle of a voluntary, business or social enterprise. Indepth and insightful it had a person centred approach, which was well thought about for post covid as everyone will have a different response to lockdown. It provoked the question as to how we can best make people feel safe and reassured along with the steps to maintain a dutiful approach to work with policy and procedures.”

Participant on Donegal DLDC and PPN programme

Conducting independent evaluations of how effectively Boards are discharging their responsibilities and coming up with recommendations for improvements.

  • Conducting bespoke designed surveys/interviews
  • Testing issues such as board meeting dynamics, governance, strategic leadership, operational oversight, relationships and board structures
  • Facilitating discussion/clarification of key emerging issues
  • Drawing up a report with findings, independent insights and recommendations

See Case Study of a Board Evaluation.

Making the most of your time

Delving into what is really needed will make the time with me the most useful it can be. I enjoy when people’s eyes light up when they discover that we are taking care of what really matters.

Every assignment, for me, starts with questions such as:

  • What is it you really want to achieve?
  • What is really happening here?
  • How can I be of most benefit to you in the time we will have together?

Case Studies

The sessions covered Strategic Planning, Risk Management, Board roles and Responsibilities, Community and stakeholder consultation and the final session covered four selected policies which members wanted help with preparing.

Course design included speaking with the coordinator and tailoring the training to what really mattered for members of the Irish Cancer Society network. At each session I took feedback on the specific angles participants would like to cover next time round.

Each session included a presentation, lots of discussion, participation where everyone got a chance to work out solutions as a way of learning for their own experience, practical examples applying to cancer organisation work, lively interaction and loads of scope for Q&As.

A special feature of this and all training that I do is that participants not just learn but are able to go away with practical templates or tools which they can implement straight away amidst their busy work schedules. For instance, this meant providing participants with a template for strategic planning, a sample risk management plan and register, role descriptions for different Board responsibilities and a specially designed template on how to conduct a really inclusive stakeholder or community consultation exercise.

The final session, on policies, not just provided guidance on how to develop four policies which they chose but also provided them with bespoke templates for each policy.

Prior to starting a Board evaluation I ensure that I understand the deeper motivations for doing the evaluation, learn if there are underlying issues or obstacles, and find out what the chairperson would see as a great success once the work was completed.

On this occasion I began with an in-depth discussion with the chairperson. I explained the overall approach and she suggested particular issues she would like help on. I then drew up a range of questions and methodology which we finalised together. From there I worked directly with all Board Directors.

Key steps in a Board Evaluation

  • Agreeing key objectives with the Chairperson and understanding any underlying issues.
  • Tailoring a set of 50 questions on key topics such as board dynamics and performance, Board structure and committees, strategy and implementation, operational performance and compliance. In addition, Board members were asked to comment on achievements they were most proud of, improvements they would like to see to the workings of the Board and any additional ideas as to how the Board could become more effective in the future.
  • Probing some emerging issues with respondents in order to clarify what was really meant and to work towards possible solutions.
  • Compiling a succinct report and presentation which presented the findings in clear graphic ways that easily identified all the issues and also prioritised those of most significance.
  • Preparing detailed recommendations from Board members themselves, additional insights and recommendations from myself.
  • Finally presenting the findings and a pathway of practical steps to take towards implementing solutions. These included:
  • Advising on how the Board agenda and its management could be improved
  • Suggesting ways to improved Board meeting dynamics and relationships with the senior executive.
  • Identifying more clear the strategic matters which the Board should focus on and to reduce the level of unnecessary operational detail that was being presented
  • Suggesting several areas where governance and oversight could be improved.

The Outcome

There was a 100% response from the Board members. The design of the questions and my interviews with individual members helped get really honest opinions and positive recommendations.

The conclusion was a presentation and discussion with the Board, presenting the report and its findings and my own recommendations and also mediating agreed solutions to long-standing issues. This all led to the “great success” which the chairperson envisaged. The Board was able to implement my recommendations.

“Donegal Local Development Company (DLDC) have engaged Liam’s services many times to deliver training to the community & voluntary sector. Liam is very knowledgeable and is clearly an expert in his field, he can read the room very well and adapts his sessions to suit his audience. He is empathetic and patient when a participant is struggling, this can often be the case when working with volunteers. He will also follow up and support on a one to one basis when needed & continues to engage with participants outside of the training session to provide templates etc. Liam is very personable and supports his training material with real life scenarios and examples which participants can recognise and relate to. I would highly recommend Liam and will continue to avail of his services in the years ahead.”

“Liam has delivered a number of training sessions with the member groups of Co Wicklow PPN. Liam’s sessions have all been very well received. His relaxed, accessible style of delivery and the clarity and relevance of his presentations have always really impressed us and our member groups.

Liam’s openness to interacting with participants is very respectful and facilitates learning from the experience of others attending the session.

And finally, his commitment to compiling information in accessible manuals is very beneficial, particularly for smaller community groups who are solely dependent on volunteers.”

“We have been pleased to work with Liam for two years where he has delivered excellent training courses for our member organisations. In 2021 he delivered two courses and in planning for our 2022 programme we asked Liam to deliver 5 courses taking in his specialist knowledge around a range of areas.

Liam’s breadth of knowledge and expertise were greatly appreciated by the participants along with his skills as a facilitator. He also generously shared a wealth of useful resources at each course. I could not recommend him highly enough and look forward to working with Liam again in the future.”

“Having joined a no- profit organisation over 3 years ago, I have worked with Liam on various training. For me I knew very little about charities and I have learnt so much in terms of governance and compliance. He is a wealth of knowledge in terms of policies for our organisation which is complex from a charity point of view.

Thank you Liam for your support.”

“We have been very lucky to have had mentor support from Liam for almost 3 years. Whenever our board feels like we have a challenging governance matter, Liam is our first point of call for sage and objective advice. Liam has facilitated many workshops for us on governance, including a merger journey, and aided us in reviewing our policies. Liam is understanding, mindful, considerate, respectful, and always a pleasure to work with.

We trust Liam with confidence in all matters.”