Certificate Curriculum: Topics

Organizational Life Cycle and assessment

  1. Apply the Lifecycles theory to your own organization
  2. Create a qualitative assessment rubric that describes (and measures) something that matters to your organization
  3. View the way you spend time as an individual and organization through the lens of the concept of “mission time.”
  4. Apply two theories of change to your own organization

sustainable Work: A personal exploration

  1. Clarify your own vision of success so you can align your work with what you need to do to make sure that your work can be sustainable for you and help you meet your own needs.
  2. Use tools that can help you get more energized, avoid burnout and become more adept at making decisions consistent with your top work priorities and personal commitments

Financial Management

  1. Become a more effective leader by learning about budgeting and the interplay between money and mission.
  2. Examine basic financial statements, performance indicators, uses of internal and external reporting, taxation, and where fraud lurks in the nonprofit world
  3. Present financial information about your organization
  4. Understand the interplay between strategy, planning, budgets and policy.


  1. Clarify your mission and vision
  2. Identify your organizations strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)
  3. Create a pitch


  1. Develop an organizational storytelling strategy
  2. Explore social media platforms -how/when to use them and tactics for engagement
  3. Discuss approaches to communication for engagement and social change
  4. Practice messaging for different communities
  5. Identify strategies for understanding and using social media when under-resourced

Building a Board that works & Donor Fundraising 

  1. Discuss how organizations grow and change over time
  2. Explore strategies for fuilding the board you need, based on where you are in your organization’s lifespan
  3. Set expectations  (Board job descriptions)
  4. Clarify board and staff roles
  5. Identify board roles in fundraising
  6. Redefine fundraising: It’s about relationships, not money
  7. Build a diverse funding base
  8. Create a case for giving
  9. Practice 'The Ask': Face-to-face fundraising

Beyond Donor Fundraising: Grants and Earned Income

  1. Designing fundable projects (grant-thinking)
  2. Grant research
  3. Building peer-to-peer relationships with funders
  4. Proposal preparation
  5. The social enterprise spectrum
  6. Role models: Nonprofits that sell social change
  7. Peer review: Test our your earned income ideas
  8. Analyze the pros and cons of grant seeking.
  9. Build towards financial sustainability by exploring alternative revenue streams.


  1. Identify how your leadership style impacts your ability to resolve and manage conflict
  2. Explore ways to overcome the emotional barriers to engaging in a difficult conversation
  3. Look at how assumptions and beliefs contribute to conflicts and practice communication strategies to minimize breakdowns due to assumptions
  4. Explore a handful of practical tools to enhance your effectiveness in managing conflict

Volunteer and Staff Management

  1. Recruiting, engaging, and thanking volunteers
  2. Creating structures of accountability for volunteers
  3. Effective supervision & performance management
  4. Human Resource policies and procedures for workplace issues such as hiring, firing, discipline, and harassment
  5. Meeting facilitation

Measuring your impact

  1. Program performance measurement and theories of change 
  2. Models for program planning and evaluation (logic models and Results-based Accountability)
  3. Models for working collaboratively on complex issues