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Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. ARNOVA Panel Curriculum Collaborations and Resources November 16, 2011 Toronto, Canada Marcia Jones Cross, Presenter. © 2010 American Humanics, Inc. ®. So What is the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance?.

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Nonprofit leadership alliance

Nonprofit Leadership Alliance


Curriculum Collaborations and Resources

November 16, 2011

Toronto, Canada

Marcia Jones Cross, Presenter

© 2010 American Humanics, Inc.®

So What is the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance?

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, founded in 1948 as American Humanics, is a national alliance of colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations. We are the only national organization certifying future and current nonprofit managers and leaders according to nationally-validated nonprofit sector workforce preparation standards. Currently, there are more than 50 academic partners who are part of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.

Our students complete rigorous, comprehensive, academic and experiential requirements, meeting industry standards, preparing them for the nonprofit sector.

Benefits to students
Benefits to Students

Employment Opportunities

  • Improves the opportunity for job placement in the nonprofit sector, especially with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance National Nonprofit Partners. Some schools experience 97-100% job placement for their graduates because the nonprofit sector is one of the fastest growing job markets.

  • Provides Alliance graduates with priority access to nonprofit job opportunities with competitive salaries.

Nonprofit Leadership Alliance National Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership

Certification Requirements

  • Nonprofit Competencies (met through coursework, workshops, and internships)

  • Internship Experience (300 hours)

  • Leadership and Service Activities

  • Alliance Management/Leadership Institute® (AMI) Attendance

  • Baccalaureate Degree

1. Nonprofit Competencies

The 17 Nonprofit Leadership Alliance competencies outline the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to lead and manage a nonprofit organization.

Professional Development Competencies

Board/Committee Development

Community Outreach/Marketing & Public Relations

Diversity Awareness

Ethics & Values

Fundraising Principles & Practices

Historical & Philosophical Foundations

Information Management & Technology

Nonprofit Accounting & Financial Management

Nonprofit Management

Program Planning, Implementation, & Evaluation

Risk Management & Legal Issues

Volunteer Management

Youth & Adult Development

Foundational Competencies

Career Development & Exploration

Communication Skills

Employability Skills

Personal Attributes

1. Nonprofit Competencies (cont’d)

Most students meet these competencies through Nonprofit Leadership Alliance-approved coursework at their college or university. Competencies may also be met through workshops at AMI (Alliance Management Leadership Institute), online courses, internships, and student association activities.

Nonprofit professional competency revalidation
Nonprofit Professional Competency Revalidation

  • During the summer of 2010, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance undertook a comprehensive research study to ensure that the competencies being used to prepare nonprofit managers and leaders are current and reflect the management and leadership skill required to meet today’s challenges.

  • To our knowledge, this report was the first comprehensive assessment ever conducted of the skills required by the nonprofit sector. With the growing trend of executive managers and leaders retiring in the nonprofit sector, it will require continuous preparation of entry- to mid-level managers and leaders to fill the gap. Ultimately, this will require the sector to usher in a new generation of leadership to ensure the organizational bench-strength of our nonprofits.

  • The final report, The Skills the Nonprofit Sector Requires of its Managers and Leaders,

Study methodology
Study Methodology

  • More than 3,200 nonprofit leaders from diverse nonprofit agencies and organizations with budgets of $1 million or more responded to an online survey. They were asked to evaluate the relevance of 13 of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance’s 17 competencies to today’s nonprofit management and leadership requisite skill set.

  • Key competencies included such skills as Board and Committee Development; Community Outreach/Marketing and Public Relations; Diversity Awareness; Ethics and Values; and Fundraising Principles and Practices.

Study methodology continued
Study Methodology (continued)

  • Respondents were also asked to provide comment, in an open-field format, on the competency’s currency and asked to make suggestions for additional competencies required.

  • A significant percentage of respondents indicated they worked for an organization with a Human Services mission focus (35%).

  • The remainder of respondents represented organizations/agencies with the following mission/focus: Education (17%); Health (10%); Arts, Culture and Humanities (7%); Environmental and Animals (4%); Capacity Building/Management Support (4%);

Study methodology continued1
Study Methodology (continued)

  • Philanthropic/Grant Maker (4%); Membership/Association (4%); Religious-Related (3%); International and Foreign Affairs (1%); and Other (11%).

  • Respondents had hiring authority, input into hiring processes and/or responsibility for training and education within the nonprofit sector.

  • Thirty-five percent (35%) of respondents were at the Executive Director or CEO level. The next highest category of respondents was staff with partial Human Resources responsibilities (11%).

Study methodology continued2
Study Methodology (continued)

  • The majority of respondents worked for organizations with a local purview (43%). Thirty-two percent (32%) reported that their organization had a regional or state purview. Ten percent (10%) worked for an organization with an international purview

  • Half of all respondents worked for either large organizations (25% worked at an organization with more than 100 employees) or small organizations (25% worked at an organization with fewer than 10 employees).

Four key findings
Four Key Findings

Analysis of the survey data revealed four key findings:

  • A significant number of the competencies associated with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance’s certificate remain important to the nonprofit sector.

  • Some of the leadership competencies need to be redefined to reflect the changingcontext of nonprofit organizations.

Key findings continued
Key Findings (continued)

  • A significant commitment to management and leadership development is needed by nonprofit sector organizations.

  • More comprehensive experience-based learning is needed to prepare nonprofit leaders.

Competency rubrics development next steps
Competency Rubrics Development(Next Steps)

  • The Alliance fully recognizes the importance of developing rubrics for our competencies so that no matter which NLA-affiliate academic institution where a student is certified, he or she will be well prepared based on the same set of standards.

  • Our response: With assistance of funds from the Cohen Research Grant, five campus executive directors and two Alliance staffers met for an intense weekend at a bed and breakfast near Slippery Rock University, one of our Affiliate campuses to begin the much needed process of developing rubrics for our 17 competencies.


  • Continued work on rubrics development with a preliminary presentation to Academic and National Nonprofit Partners at the 2012 Alliance Management/Leadership Institute (AMI) in January.

Want to Learn More about the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance?



The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Certification in Nonprofit Management and Leadership

Get Certified!

Nonprofit Leadership Alliance ®1100 Walnut, Suite 1900 ● Kansas City, MO 64106 ●


© 2010 American Humanics, Inc.