A new Nonprofit Management Certificate will soon be available in Berks County.

Join Berks County Community Foundation and instructors from The Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University for an eleven-month professional development opportunity designed exclusively for Berks County’s nonprofit executive directors and high-potential staff members.

Apply by January 31 to become part of the inaugural cohort for the 2020 Berks County Community Foundation Nonprofit Management Certificate.


What’s included?

  • Three group lunches at the Community Foundation
  • Six daylong in-person nonprofit management classes led by faculty members from The Nonprofit Center at LaSalle, all held at the Community Foundation’s office in Reading, breakfast and lunch provided
  • Three nonprofit management webinars led by faculty members from The Nonprofit Center at LaSalle, joined from your home or office

Why is the Community Foundation doing this?

Berks County Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Management Certificate program was designed to help local nonprofit leaders improve or renew their management and leadership skills close to home.

How much does it cost?

The Community Foundation’s board of directors approved a grant that covers the majority of the cost of the program. However, each organization is asked to contribute $500 for each individual who registers.

How often will the program run?

2020 is the inaugural year of the program. If all goes well, it will repeat in 2022.

Who is eligible to participate?

This professional development opportunity is designed exclusively for Berks County’s nonprofit executive directors and high-potential staff members. The cohort is capped at 20 participants. Some of the classes are meant to be attended by a board member, too. There is no additional cost for the board member to accompany the executive director or staff member to those classes.

Will I really get a certificate?

Yes. You will receive a certificate of completion from the Community Foundation when you finish the program in December. Note that Berks County Community Foundation is not an accredited educational institution, but rather a nonprofit that seeks to bring professional development opportunities to the community for local leaders.

What’s the schedule?

Click here or on the schedule below for a brochure and schedule (second page).

Where do I sign up?

Click here or on the picture of the application below to download the application form.

The curriculum

 Fundamentals of Budgeting (1/2 day class)

The accuracy of your organization or program’s budget is one of the key factors in an organization’s financial stability, growth and ability to fulfill mission.  Your budget is your financial plan, and the outline of how your mission and objectives will be carried out, guiding your organization’s operations and key decision-making.  This essential class will demonstrate the components and qualities of an effective budget, the budgeting process, budgeting best practices and projecting critical cash flow.

Starting with a brief overview of financial statements, you will learn how to read the story they tell and review basic financial terms and different types of financial systems.  After covering core concepts, the class will address a systematic approach to constructing a budget for a program or organization.

In addition to learning how to create a budget, this class will include strategies for monitoring actual income and expenses and comparing them to the budget so that you’re able to make important management decisions in real time, and be able to project, based on reliable data.  You’ll learn about how cash flow statements can be used to monitor and project potential cash shortfalls so you are able to adjust and plan accordingly.  We will also cover methods of allocating shared costs and explain how to incorporate that into your budget.  With a deeper understanding of all the components of your budget, including administrative and overhead expenses, you’ll be in a better position to make the case for being worthy of support from potential and current donors and other stakeholders.

The Power of Financial Forecasting for Sustainability (1/2 day class)

A strong financial management process is essential to a nonprofit’s well-being. In times of concern and uncertainty about the economy and the prospects for funding, the ability to perform accurate and timely financial forecasting becomes indispensable. Day to day challenges, such as gift restrictions, adherence to mission, fixed and variable expenses, call for the skill to accurately forecast cash flow, while being adaptable to changing conditions.  The result is a stronger and more resilient organization.

This class will explore the basic inputs required to develop and evaluate financial projections for your organization. Understanding how and when resources are available to your organization will not only enable you to guide policy and programmatic decisions but also assist you in strategically planning your organization’s growth and sustainability.

Donor Retention Strategies – Feeling the Love (lunchtime webinar)

If your business lost three out of every four new customers, you’d probably be looking for another job.  But statistics show that nonprofits lose nearly 75% of newly acquired donors who fail to become continuing supporters.  There are reasons why donors choose not to renew their gifts and there are strategies you can implement to improve donor retention rates, thereby making your fundraising campaigns more effective while building stronger relationships with individuals. Building this relationship starts with the first giving experience and continues as you create and enhance connections with the right messages, marketing, activities and communications.  While there will always be elements that impact fundraising over which we have no control, such as the economy, there are factors upon which we can have great impact.  When nearly half of donors blame “poor communications” for why they stopped giving to an organization, including lack of information on how donations are used, no acknowledgements and feeling that they were not needed, your potential influence on donor retention by behavior, attitudes, policies and actions, is clear.

This webinar will share practical tips on how you can positively impact donor retention, building a solid foundation for both ongoing financial support and a network of committed supporters.

Effective Nonprofit Governance – How Boards Should Work (full day, bring a board member class)

Effective board membership requires more than good intentions and meeting attendance.  This impactful board training is the first step in appreciating the objective and true roles and responsibilities that the job of board member requires.   Attendees will come to understand the full responsibilities of board membership, in both the context of being part of a larger whole, as well as an individual.  In addition, this course will show how to maximize the all-important partnership of board and executive director.  Participants will develop a deeper understanding of key elements of board responsibility, such as the law’s performance expectations of nonprofit board members, strategic planning, fundraising, financial management, and the care and feeding of the board.  Attendees will leave knowing that they can now cement their good intentions in best practices, including being able to apply standard tools for board assessment and governance and sample essential policies to their organizations.

Creating Successful Individual and Major Donor Campaigns (full day)

Even in the leanest years, individual giving has always been the largest source of charitable giving, never falling below 70% of all philanthropy, with 91% of American households giving to charity. But an individual giving program is about more than money. It’s also about broadening the circle of supporters – the people who care about your mission and how you achieve it. That’s why we emphasize individual and major donor campaigns as a cornerstone of fundraising. No nonprofit can afford to miss the opportunities that individual giving offers.

This class covers the various approaches to individual giving, from the annual appeal to a major donor personal solicitation. Whether a major gift to your organization means $500 or $5,000, your individual giving program should have a unique strategy for these donors. You will develop the tools and techniques that will help you create a comprehensive, coordinated fundraising program for individuals, including understanding the individual’s relationship to your organization, identifying strategies for each approach, how to be donor- focused while meeting your organization’s financial needs, and coordinating cultivation, solicitation and stewardship activities that lead to successful campaigns. Role-play will solidify your confidence in being able to solicit donors as an essential part of your nonprofit’s fundraising mix.

Dealing with a Difficult Board Member (lunchtime webinar)

Judging from the number of times we’re asked about a disruptive or otherwise problematic board member, most nonprofits have faced this obstacle.  Among the frequently reported offenses are board members who promote their own agendas, who micromanage board and staff, and who fail to fulfill commitments.

Regardless of the particular behavior, one disruptive board member often becomes a serious obstacle to board productivity, effectiveness and harmony.  There are both immediate and long-term actions that can be taken to preempt these obstructions and this webinar will present proven strategies.  It will also offer actions that can curtail potential problematic behavior so as to prevent erosion of morale and productivity of board and impacted staff.

This webinar is structured to allow sufficient time for participants to ask questions about their particular challenges so that all participants can learn from each other about how to address these common issues.   The session can help you move toward creating a more positive environment for in your organization to forestall an exodus of valuable board members and staff seeking to escape from the chaos and frustration caused by a difficult board member.

Fundamentals of Human Resources (full day)

This course provides an essential framework for understanding the major human resources responsibilities in nonprofits.  Because workplace laws guide and control much of what we do with employees, participants will become familiar with the major workplace laws and the legal principles that govern the employment relationship.  You will learn about the importance of good policies and procedures in creating an effective working environment. The class also provides an introduction to two of the most common and challenging HR responsibilities:  you’ll get a step-by-step process for addressing performance problems and learn effective guidelines for hiring the right people.

Board Orientation Done Right (lunchtime webinar, bring a board member class)

Once you have found new board members, make sure you offer an effective orientation experience that doesn’t assume that they know everything they need to about the mission, culture, background and history of the organization.  Your organization has an obligation to clearly spell out what’s expected of each board member and also what you are committing to the relationship.

Blueprints for Communications Planning and Media Relations in a Digital World (full day)

Does your organization suffer from the lack of a strategic, intentional approach to communication that clearly defines your messages, your audience and the tools you will use to achieve your objectives?  Do you have a plan that builds relationships and maximizes marketing efforts?  Participants in this class will learn how to create a comprehensive communication plan, from assessing communication or marketing needs to designing communication strategies and tactics.  A good communication plan helps build relationships with key publics, including volunteers, donors, and the media, as well as reducing potential risks, and this class will provide a thorough overview of how this is done.  Recognizing that media relations is a powerful tool for nonprofits, even without financial resources, much of the class will be devoted to the essentials of media relations and how they fit into, and support, your overall marketing plan.

While the world of media has changed drastically in recent years, the fact that all media are swamped with requests for coverage remains constant and those who give the media what they want, when and how they want it, are the ones who will prevail.   Working with the media offers tremendous value to organizations in conveying their messages, promoting events, and communicating with huge audiences, for minimal cost.  Whether you’re sending out traditional news releases or tweeting your announcements, there are specific skills and strategies that will give you the best chances of getting coverage from both long- established media and the so-called new media.   This class embraces those time-honored skills of good writing and compelling story-telling that remain constant, while recognizing the new strategies and approaches that new media demand of those who want to be successful in disseminating their organization’s message.

Keys to Successful Strategic Planning (full day, bring a board member class)

Every nonprofit needs a good strategic plan to serve as a roadmap for change.  This class will teach you how to create a living, constituent- driven strategic plan that is a critical management tool for your board and executive leadership.  It will demonstrate how, when done correctly, strategic planning becomes an ongoing, integrated function designed to drive your organization to do better.  You will understand what’s involved in a successful strategic planning process that makes forward- looking fundamental decisions that shape and guide what your organization is, who it serves, what it does, and why, with a focus on the future. You will understand how an effective strategic planning process can clearly articulate where your organization is going and what is needed to get there, as well as how to know if you’re successful.

The class combines lecture, peer exchange and activities in this essential and often daunting subject, to get you started on the path to a good planning process.   How-to topics include:  gathering stakeholder data, developing a shared vision, prioritizing strategic goals and objectives, integrating your plan into daily operations and evaluation.  Bring a copy and we’ll even review your current strategic plan.