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 taught primarily by Wake Forest faculty, administrators and alum.  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.  All classes are from 12:00 pm to 4:30 pm and include a networking lunch from 12-12:40 pm.  Due to COVID-19, all  classes will be held online until further notice.  Online classes will be split into two, two-hour sessions on consecutive weeks.  

Course Descriptions & Dates 

Governance. A 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.  September 17 & 24, 2020; 1:30-3:30 pm

Strategic Planning. Learn how to “strategically think” through critical questions in order 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. October 15 & 22, 2020; 1:3–3:30 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 12 & 19, 2020; 1:30-3:30 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 10 & 17, 2020; 1:30-3:30 pm

Working With Leaders in Grassroots Communities. As 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 21 & 28, 2021; 1:30-3:30 pm

Fund Development. This 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 take-away 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 17 & 24; 1:30-3:30 pm, 2021

Advanced Fund Development.  February 18 & 25; 1:30-3:30, 2021 pm  Class description to come

Collaboration. Saving 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 18 & 25, 2021; 1:30-3:30 pm

Program Evaluation. The 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 21 & 28, 2021; 1:30-3:30 pm

Advanced Program Evaluation.  April 22 & 29, 2021; 1:30-3:30 pm  Class description to come

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 20 & 27, 2021; 1:30-3:30 pm

Grant Writing. A 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 17 & 24, 2021; 1:30-3:30 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 16 & 23, 2021; 1:30-3:30 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.

  • “[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.”
  • Provided insight to nonprofit governance that I did not have—this is one of the areas where I have less than 25% knowledge. I feel like I have some good questions for the ED and look forward to conversations.”
  • “Great opportunity to expand 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.