Nonprofit Essentials

Nonprofit Essentials is a series of ten courses designed to strengthen the knowledge and skills of nonprofit board members, staff, and volunteers or those pursuing careers in the nonprofit sector.  Offered in partnership with Wake Forest University’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement, Nonprofit Essentials classes cover a range of topics essential to the governance, management, and operation of nonprofits and are good for those new to the sector, occupying a new position within a nonprofit, or wanting to refine/refresh their skills.  Classes are taught primarily by Wake Forest faculty, administrators, and alumni.  Participants who complete all classes will receive a Certificate of Completion from Wake Forest University, Office of Civic and Community Engagement, and HandsOn Northwest NC.  

Classes are held once a month from September to June of the following year and will meet in person at The Intergenerational Center for Arts & Wellness (The Generations Center) in room 209 unless noted otherwise.  Classes will not be recorded.

Participants who register for the full series of Nonprofit Essentials classes will be automatically placed in the “regular” sessions for the Fund Development and Grant Writing classes.  If you prefer the advanced sessions for either or both of these classes, email the Program Director so that you can be registered in the appropriate one.

Course Descriptions & Dates 2024-2025  Class dates are tentative.  Check this page regularly for updates.

GovernanceA practical look at nonprofit governance, including organizational life cycles, best practices, legal framework and compliance, the role of the board in general oversight and duties, and building an effective board.  Class location:  Senior Services multipurpose roomSeptember 19, 1-4 pm

Strategic PlanningLearn how to “strategically think” through critical questions to have a successful strategic planning process. Using case studies, examine effective strategies, assess the importance of the organization’s position in the external market, select an analytical and organizational approach to strategy formulation and implementation, and, overcome strategic planning myths.  Class location:  Senior Services multipurpose room.  October 17, 1-4 pm

Budgeting and Finance.  This course is designed to give an overview of nonprofit budgeting and finance, including financial terminology, the components of nonprofit financial statements, and a working understanding of an income statement and balance sheet. The course will also address how to build a budget, use performance standards to help make spending decisions, and address “red flag” issues. November 14, 1-4 pm

Human Resources.  Whether staff or volunteer, the most important asset of any organization is its people. This course will address key topics such as recruitment, retention, recognition, performance management, and conflict resolution for both staff and volunteer management.  The course will also review essential policies and discuss any recent legislation that could impact your workforce. December 12, 1-4 pm

Working With Leaders in Grassroots CommunitiesAs the sector becomes more and more focused on collective impact, place-based initiatives, and asset-based community development in general, these competencies will be crucial to all nonprofits in the future.  January 16, 1-4 pm

Fund DevelopmentThis course is designed to meet the real-world needs and challenges non-profit organizations face every day related to fundraising. The course is taught in an active learning style and includes case studies and a takeaway project, making the learning experience both substantive and enjoyable. The course offers a complete overview of the development function, featuring the most current information and techniques, and will provide an overview of skills, strategies, and program components for individuals with zero to four years of fundraising experience.  February 20, 1-4 pm

Advanced Fund Development.  An interactive course on advanced fundraising will focus on current and prospective donor research strategies and techniques, securing the gift, and relationship development.  February 27, 1-4 pm 

CollaborationSaving time, money, and resources through collaborations with other organizations sounds like a good idea, but what are the key principles that should be considered? Learn best practices for nonprofit collaborations and how to make these partnerships legally sound and successful.  March 19, 1-4 pm

Program EvaluationThe nonprofit sector is increasingly under pressure to show meaningful results. This class will examine different evaluation models and lead you through the process of designing an approach to measure programs, create meaningful measures, collect and analyze data, generate a report, and communicate results to document impact, improve services, and support fundraising efforts.  April 17, 1-4 pm

Advocacy and Communication.  Nonprofits play an active role in shaping public policy. Learn successful advocacy strategies used to advance an organization’s mission for the public good, how to measure the success of your advocacy, and how to address related legal, ethical, and tax issues.  May 15, 1-4 pm

Grant WritingA practical course designed for those seeking to develop grant proposal writing skills. Participants will learn how to research funding sources and approach funders, and learn best practices for developing successful grant proposals and letters of inquiry.  June 19, 1-4 pm

Advanced Grant Writing.  Designed for those who seek to increase their effectiveness in the field of grant writing, this class includes Request for Proposal Analysis, use of statistics, collaboration, identification of support documentation, proposal analysis, and sharpening grant writing skills. Participants will review and critique a proposal and seek guidance regarding their specific grant writing challenges.  June 26, 1-4 pm

Cost: $60/person/class.  The cost for HandsOn NWNC Supporting Partners is $50/person/class. Register for all 10 classes and receive one class for free ($450 for Supporting Partners and $550 for all others.) If you are unsure as to whether your organization is a Supporting Partner, please check Join/Give Now on our website or call 336-724-2866.   If payment is a barrier to this training, please contact us.  This particularly applies to small, grassroots organizations and those led by people of color.  While programs cannot be offered for free, we will work with your budget.

  • “[The instructor] really knows her stuff, and because she was so knowledgeable and so willing to answer any and all of our questions to the best of her ability, it made receiving the material very easy…coming from knowing nothing, I feel like I learned a significant amount today.”
  • “Great opportunity to expand the knowledge base and connect with others with similar interests, passions and areas of influence.”

To register for individual classes, click on the course name in blue lettering.  Each link also provides the option to register for the entire ten-class series.

For more information, contact the Program Director.