BSI creates, strengthens and increases resources for the nonprofit sector in Montana at the state and local levels. We carry out research, dissemination, training and education, leadership development and special projects tailored to the infrastructure building priorities and organizational development needs of Montana’s nonprofit sector.


At a time of uncertain economic conditions and reductions in government funding for many nonprofits, strategic responses and adaptation are crucial for their future viability. Launched in 2013, BSI’s Helena Development Initiative (HDI) provides sustainable, community-based professional development in fundraising skills and associated organizational capacity building. HDI also reflects BSI’s commitment to place-based approaches to delivering our programs and services.

BSI’s mission extends throughout Montana, but we understand the value of starting locally, testing ideas, refining our approach, and having success before taking an important initiative to scale. HDI was begun as a pilot in our headquarters community where we know the nonprofit community and local landscape best. HDI has afforded BSI an excellent opportunity to perfect a comprehensive approach that will be adapted to other Montana communities as BSI’s staff, funding and partnerships continue to expand.


Helena Development Roundtable (HDR)

HDR is an informal network of executive directors, development directors, fundraising staff and Board members who meet monthly for no-cost seminars on fundraising skills. HDR also provides opportunities for networking and relationship building. For staff who are new to Helena, HDR provides ready access to a talented and supportive peer network.  

Access Helena Resources!

New executive directors and new development staff, especially if they move to Helena for their jobs, need help to hit the ground running. BSI has developed handout materials to familiarize these key staff with important community resources to help them be successful. BSI conducts outreach to welcome new executive directors and development staff to the Helena nonprofit community, and provides a folio of community resources information. 

Helena Celebrates Community Philanthropy (HCCP)

HCCP brings special recognition to donors whose generosity as “community philanthropists” broadly embraces the diversity of Helena’s nonprofit sector. Each November, HCCP honors donors, businesses, and foundations that have been exemplary in their inclusive charitable giving. HCCP is conducted in conjunction with National Philanthropy Day, giving the Helena community a local platform for participating in this international celebration of philanthropy. HCCP is Helena’s biggest philanthropy event of the year.


Nonprofit Sustainability Through Endowment Development

Endowment development is an especially important tool to help nonprofits become more sustainable over time. BSI surveyed Helena-based nonprofits on their endowment development interest and training needs in 2017/2018. The results have been used to design customized curriculum and conduct seminars with learning groups whose members represent nonprofits at a similar stage of endowment development, and have similar needs for training, coaching and hands-on assistance.

Helena Fundraising Events Calendar

BSI established a 12-month electronic calendar on our website that has an easily accessible listing of local nonprofit fundraising events. This free service is helping nonprofits schedule around each other’s events to minimize having the events collide and compete with each other, as well as provide another tool for publicizing the fundraising events.
( PLEASE NOTE: the calendar is being redesigned for a new launch in 2022.) 


Building the Bench for Fundraising Effectiveness

BSI will help nonprofits that do not have full-time fundraising staff to develop the requisite underwriting to fund the position, as well as assist them with recruitment, hiring and on-boarding. BSI staff will also work with nonprofits that have hired fundraising staff who are early in their careers and could benefit from an intensive program of training and coaching.

Early Childhood Development Grantmaking Program – Lewis & Clark County Pilot