Some Novel Notions for Support to Nonprofits

Sections of this topic

    © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

    Many nonprofit service providers agree that nonprofits will experience challenges and stresses unlike those experienced before. Experts cite changes in funding (devolution, etc.), demographics, values, technology, etc.) For a very good overview of these changes, see the Peat Marwick report located at

    As the nature of nonprofit leadership must change to accommodate changes in the world, so must the nature of training and development programs. We trainers and developers continue to assert that leaders must “think out of the box”, but too many of us are still entrenched in our own narrow views of training and development.

    The following table depicts some rather novel forms of training and development for nonprofits.

    notion asked for from nonprofit executive directors

    purpose the idea would serve

    1 incubator service for new nonprofits to help them get off the ground until they are largely self-sufficient; would include facilities and basic materials (plans, policies, etc.)
    2 comprehensive assessment instrument get perspective on the overall situation; (see “Organizational Fitness” topic in the Nonprofit Managers’ Library“)
    3 one-time orientation on 1) the role of E.D. and 2) systems overview of the nonprofit organizations establish firm knowledge and perspective on the role of the E.D., board, and organization; systems view conveys a wise perspective on the ebbs and flows of organizations
    4 low-cost or free library of basic how-to information and materials needed to run a nonprofit provide highly affordable and therefore accessible resources for a firm “foundation” of materials, to ensure appropriate structures, etc. (this is done now with the Nonprofit Managers’ Library)
    5 ongoing E.D. training focused on a systems view of a nonprofit organization (the interplay of major organizational functions) provide a much more integrated and realistic perspective to leaders (than typically done by one-shot courses) about their organizations so they are better able to lead, diagnose and develop their organizations
    6 seminars on E.D. & board state-of-the-art topics describe and discuss current and expected trends in nonprofit management
    7 retreat center many assert that nonprofit leaders quickly get burned out, yet few services are provided to address burnout; a retreat center would provide yearly renewal, reflection, action planning, and follow-up (to be accountable to peers); Nonprofit leaders need “emotional intelligence” training, as well
    8 dialogue groups for networking, ongoing reflection, gaining a larger perspective and enhancing meaning; and cultivating skills in appreciating inquiry
    9 highly focused, peer-based support and problem-solving groups for ongoing, low-cost problem-solving and support (See All About Circles)
    10 consulting panels of local elders (wisdom circles) one-time “deep” consulting and problem-solving and “centering”; integrate the wisdom of community with community needs
    11 cadre of “certified” nonprofit consulting professionals provide intensive organization development services to organizations in trouble/pain; there are many consultants, but not enough who really understand the nature of nonprofits, particularly small ones
    12 workshops for service providers train the trainers about nonprofits, holistic development, integrating interventions, etc.
    13 emergency Helpline provide prompt response and referral to highly stressed leaders; service providers assert that nonprofits must collaborate but how many service providers collaborate among themselves, e.g., to provide a Helpline?
    14 award “certification” to “graduates” this would indicate levels of the consultants’ proficiency in nonprofits

    This information may be copied.

    For the Category of Training and Development:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

    Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.