A Ramped Up Education Program for Nonprofits

In challenging economy, Duke program offers lifeline to nonprofits

Duke's Nonprofit Management program is ramping up its
offerings to those working in and with the nonprofit sector -- whether they are
paid staff, directors, administrators, board members, or philanthropists -- to
help them navigate successfully in an uncertain economy.

Beginning this fall, the Nonprofit Management program is pairing
a new curriculum with more demanding requirements to earn a certificate.

"The economy has had an effect," said director
Nancy Love. "In this environment they're looking at ways to sustain their
nonprofits through grant writing, fundraising and sustainable strategic
planning. And we want them to be prepared."

Love, who came to Duke from the private/nonprofit sector
with experience as an education administrator, grant writer and executive
director of an area nonprofit, has redesigned the curriculum to offer core
courses in the establishment, operation and development of a thriving
nonprofit.

As of Sept. 1, successful completion of the Certificate in
Nonprofit Management will require that a student attend 72 hours of
instruction, divided among five core areas and electives.  Students who have completed at least
one Duke nonprofit management course before Sept. 1 will have until August 30,
2013, to complete their certificate under the former 50-hour requirement.

Individual courses may continue to be taken on a
non-certificate basis. 

Demand for the program's offerings, both at Duke and
throughout the region, is increasing.  The program's eight-day Intensive Track at the Hilton near
Duke University makes it easier for people outside of the state or even the
country to earn a certificate. The most recent session, offered this past June,
attracted students from as far away as Utah, Liberia and Kuwait.

The next session, being offered to 32 students next month,
filled up within three weeks of being announced. "We have people waiting
patiently to get into the next class scheduled for March 5-12, 2012," Love
said.

One part of the Intensive Track is visiting local nonprofits.
During one recent session, students toured TROSA and heard from its president
and CEO Kevin McDonald about how this successful Durham nonprofit has
integrated a variety of social enterprises into its efforts to help substance
abusers, including a catering service that fed the Duke students on the field
trip.

Duke Nonprofit is also reaching out to other locations, Love
said.  A one-day annual nonprofit
leadership summit will be held in Spencer, Va. Nonprofit courses are offered in
Asheville/Western NC, Greensboro, Elon, Durham/Triangle, Greenville and in
Virginia (Danville, Martinsville). 

As giving declined in the immediate wake of the recession,
nonprofit leaders were encouraged to collaborate with one another to provide
essential services, Love says. 
Charitable giving in the United States rose 4 percent last year after
two years of big drops, according to the Giving USA Foundation.

"It's almost impossible today to do it alone,"
Love said.  "Our intent is to
have people network. They exchange business cards and they sometimes follow
each other out the door." They also stay in touch with instructors and students
through regional email listservs and Facebook pages.

While participants get help in building more effective
business models, they also get practical advice on how to meet today's higher accountability
and transparency expectations.

"Nonprofits are scrutinized more now," Love said.
"Donors want you to be accountable, to be able to show the benefits that
are derived from youth programs, for example. Some of it is good writing and
knowing what is needed to keep your nonprofit afloat."

One course in the Intensive Track program taught by Melissa
LeRoy promises to help participants improve their accounting practices "to
fulfill new expectations of funders, donors and the IRS for financial
management."

Students come from a variety of backgrounds, from people
just starting out with smaller nonprofits, to the Williamston, N.C., pastor who
wanted help in effectively guiding his board, to executives with the YMCA, the
seventh largest nonprofit in the nation.

A growing number are recent college graduates. "With
such a tough job market graduates want as much under their belts as they can
get," Love said.

The program also has established ties with DukeEngage,
offering instruction in nonprofit basics and grant writing for students who
will be helping non-governmental organizations in their global assignments.