Executive Nonprofit Leadership Certificate - Session Descriptions

Transformational Leadership

Warren Bennis (2007) described six competencies of exemplary leaders: “they create a sense of mission, they motivate others to join them on that mission, they create an adaptive social architecture for their followers, they generate trust and optimism, they develop other leaders, and they get results”. More recently from Adam Bryant (2011) we add “passionate curiosity.” In this session we explore the leadership challenge for nonprofit executives, now and in the future. Personal attributes, as well as skills and competencies are the background for a “readiness to lead” self-assessment, and a plan for personal leadership growth.

Visionary Leadership: Leading Nonprofits into the Future

With changes in public policy, significant community demographic shifts, and growing competition for resources and from for-profit providers, leadership success can be elusive. Today’s nonprofit executives need to have a wide repertoire of knowledge, skills, and experiences, and know when to apply their array of skills, as the situation dictates. Business acumen, a comfort level with data and technology, combined with emotional intelligence, and the ability to stay focused on vision and mission are critical. Among other questions, this interactive session will discuss: How will our most critical organizations be led and governed? What are the new imperatives around non-profit governance and what is driving this? How can current leaders thrive while cultivating the next generation of leaders?

New Competencies for Today’s Nonprofit Leadership

Traditionally, skill sets ranging from having a passion for the mission, program development, grant writing and community relationships were sought when hiring an executive director in the nonprofit sector. Today, the executive leadership skills required for an organization to succeed have changed dramatically. This session will understand and develop the new competencies of being a visionary thinker, entrepreneur, relationship builder, achievement driven, collaborator and inspirational motivator required to be an effective leader for today and tomorrow.

Strategic Planning for CEOs

This session explores the development and execution of a strategic planning approach that provides a framework for goal setting, work plan development, and marketing built on organizational vision and mission. The course provides an introduction to a time-tested process to create and sustain aligned volunteer-staff efforts, and an orientation to tools needed for organizational planning, program assessment, and work plan development.

Collaboration, Cooperation, Competition and Merger: What is Best for Your Organization?

More than ever before, nonprofit organizations are being required to explore collaboration, cooperation and mergers as part of their strategy formulation. This session will address the key decisions that board and executive leadership need to make to ensure both short-term and long-term sustainability in today’s highly competitive landscape.

Effective Legislative Advocacy

Increasingly, advocacy is playing a major role in abetting many nonprofit organizations in achieving their missions. Unfortunately too many nonprofits view advocacy as a necessary activity but lack the experience to develop an effective advocacy strategy. These organizations must learn to develop high performing advocates, as well as develop an effective advocacy strategy for the federal, state, and local governmental levels. Participants will learn how to leverage relationships with public officials and opinion leaders and become a proactive (rather than reactive) organization in public policy.

Legal Issues Affecting Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations face a wide range of legal issues. After all, they are in a broad range of services. Nonprofit organization leaders do not need to be experts in legal issues. But they do need to have a basic understanding of them. In this session, we will cover legal issues that are unique to the nonprofit world, such as requirements of the New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation Act and tax exemption issues. In addition, we will discuss some basic typical issues of general applicability, such as employment law matters and regulatory matters.

Nonprofit Leadership – A Board Member’s Perspective.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the leadership skills and knowledge required to succeed in today’s nonprofit sector from an experienced board chair. Mr. Duffy has over 40 years of board member responsibility in the nonprofit and for profit sectors; on national, local, and regional boards; and on elected and appointed boards and has held every board officer slot and served as chair of the most common nonprofit board committees. All will gain insight into board dynamics, including engagement and accountability with emphasis on the relationship between the Board and the executive director and the Board president and the executive director and the sometimes delicate balance between board and staff. Students will participate in an open discussion and have the opportunity to discuss their own challenges with their boards and how to overcome them successfully.

Building an Effective Organization:   Talent Development and Engagement

This session will discuss how to best create, implement and evaluate solutions to meet your organization’s talent needs.   Includes focus on selection, development, performance management, and employee engagement all through the lens of diversity and inclusion. Also, how to measure effectiveness through workforce analytics will be discussed.

The Center for Great Expectations - People Heal People

When President/CEO Peg Wright founded the Center for Great Expectations (CGE) in 1998, there was only room for 6 pregnant women in a small 2 bedroom house – no room for babies. Peg and the CGE Board quickly started plans to create a Continuum of Care for homeless mothers and children with complex trauma histories that often result in substance use and mental health disorders. Today CGE provides client-centered, trauma-informed care in two residential treatment facilities, an on-site Child Development Center (Katy’s Place), an Outpatient Treatment Program, and Supportive Housing, assisting over 200 mothers, children and men each year.    You will be inspired by the challenges and successes of courageous clients, the expertise and dedication of CGE’s clinicians and staff, and Peg’s commitment to support a unique, clinically-advanced and collaborative effort to address and help resolve the ongoing addiction and mental health crisis in NJ and our country.

Essential Elements of Evaluation

This program prepares nonprofit leaders to work with funders, government and licensing entities, IT and program staff, and external evaluators in various evaluation processes with an eye toward cost-effectiveness, ease of implementation, and usefulness of information gathered.  Students will examine eight different types of evaluation and their purposes; how to identify appropriate methods for data collection for each; methods of aggregating and analyzing data; and how to use evaluation data for continuous program and organizational improvement.

Building Your Brand: Developing Your Marketing Strategy

The marketing communications and branding session for the FDU nonprofit certificate program will draw on a well-integrated mix of traditional and nontraditional tactics that have proven to be successful for nonprofit organizations of all sizes. The class will focus on marketing tools and resources that have been rooted in the basic principles that have supported and sustained the for profit corporate community for years. The unique twist will be how a nonprofit will leverage these strategies to distinguish its mission and vision, build a sustainable brand and develop a compelling message for all their audiences - a message that will attract and retain donors, volunteers and thought leaders as well as recipients of their services and programs. Every nonprofit leader will come away with a plan and a process for implementation to complement their existing marketing initiatives.

Financial Management: What Every Nonprofit Leader Needs to Know

A nonprofit CEO should have a comfort level and familiarity with the financial operations of the organization, including the financial structure and reporting mechanisms. CEO expertise should include understanding the budget process, recognizing cash flow issues, and reading financial statements and annual reports. In addition to addressing these topics, this course will also review all types of auditors’ reports and basic financial statements by contrasting nonprofit and corporate financial statements. When the course is complete, participants will be able to assess the financial health or well-being of a nonprofit organization.

Developing Community Partnerships

A key element of a nonprofit’s strategy to maximize mission effectiveness is the ability to identify and align with key community partners. This session will provide participants with a blueprint to plan, initiate and evaluate strategic alliances within the community which may benefit their organization. There’s no “one size fits all” way to structure effective alliances rather this session will explore a variety of approaches with the intention of increasing funding, and sometimes more importantly increasing access to knowledge-based resources.

Nonprofit Leadership – A CEO’s Perspective

Attendees will meet with the well­respected President & CEO of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to discuss leadership, mission, values, strategies and business ethics as a high priority regardless of the size of an organization’s budget. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions about solutions to their own organizational challenges from one of America’s premier nonprofit chief executive officers.

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Executive Nonprofit Leadership Certificate

Executive Philanthropy & Resource Development Certificate

Certificate in Nonprofit Essentials


Dennis Miller- Former Executive Director, Center for Excellence

More Testimonials

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CFE Brochure 2017 [pdf]

For more information

Call: (201) 692-6500
Email: ceinfo@fdu.edu