Fanning Nonprofit Leadership Development

We help strengthen non-profit organizational leadership through professional development for CEO/executive directors, boards, staff, and volunteers. Our non profit curriculum is divided into three broad topics relevant to nonprofit leadership and includes modules that address particular areas within each one

We help strengthen non-profit organizational leadership through:

Professional development for CEO/executive directors, boards, staff, and volunteers, including:

  • Engaging and relevant training on a variety of topics for non-profit leaders.
  • The Executive Leadership Program in Non-Profit Organizations (ELPNO), a professional development program for upcoming executives and leaders in the nonprofit sector.

Customized training and technical assistance, tailored to your organization, including:

  • Programmatic evaluations that engage program staff, clients, and other stakeholders; and  
  • Community assessments to determine what the community needs are.


Our curriculum is divided into three broad topics relevant to nonprofit leadership and includes modules that address particular areas within each one. Each topic has a broad learning objective with specific goals. Fanning offers information that allows leaders to learn, understand, or clarify issues on a particular topic as well as apply what they have learned in a peer context.

  1. Board and Executive Director/CEO Leadership places individual and organizational leadership in context, and then connects the two under a board governance module that addresses how the executive director/CEO and board work together to ensure a sustainable, adaptive organization. Additional modules address what nonprofit leaders should know in order to work effectively in diverse communities, and strategies for working effectively during times of controversy or conflict.
  2. Organizational and Community Leadership. Leaders learn about community assessment, volunteer management, strategic planning and programing evaluation methodology. Social Entrepreneurship in the nonprofit sector is an additional module in this section that has relevance in the third section.
  3. Leadership for Sustainability and Financial Health addresses the resources and skills needed to remain viable. This includes resource development and financial management, as well as planning for future organizational leadership by engaging in executive staff and board succession planning.

Leadership for Financial Health and Organizational Sustainability

  1. Resource Development: Participants will understand board, ED/ CEO, and senior staff roles in resource development. Participants will learn about the critical roles of building funder relationships, advancing partnerships and addressing organizational and community sustainability issues in building a diversified funding base.
  2. Financial Management: Participants will learn the basics of financial management, including legal and financial controls requirements and to learn how to budget for the short and long term.
  3. Succession Planning: Participants will learn strategies to cultivate organizational leaders and plan for a smooth transition in key executive staff and board positions.

Training Modules

Board and Executive Director/CEO Leadership

  1. Nonprofit Leadership, Competencies & Practices: Participants will develop an understanding of nonprofit leadership and identify personal leadership strengths and growth opportunities. Participants will learn the difference between leadership and management, understand the importance of mission-centered leadership, and gain increased understanding of their own leadership style. 
  2. Nonprofit Leadership and Life Cycles: Participants will learn about nonprofit development stages and how it affects organizational capacity issues such as operations and programming, Participants will discover where their organization is within the nonprofit “life-cycle,” learn about different board models, and make the connection between developmental stages and board models. Strategies for strengthening organizational leadership are identified.
  3. The Art of Board Governance: Participants will understand the role of board governance and the relationship between the board and executive director/CEO. Participants will have opportunities to have in-depth discussions on the makings of a strong, balanced board/CEO partnership. A discussion on the significant elements of by-laws and the importance developing a working committee structure is part of this module.
  4. Intercultural Competency, Diversity, and Inclusion: Participants will learn about cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. Participants identify their individual and organizational capacity for working with diverse constituencies and learn strategies for working with different population groups.
  5. Conflict Transformation: Participants understand conflict in the context of change and learn strategies for identifying and transforming conflict. Module contents apply to organizations and communities.

Organizational and Community Leadership

  1. Knowing Your Community: an Asset-based Approach: Participants understand and apply an asset-based approach to community assessment and use these learnings to inform organizational planning and program development. Participants will learn the theory and value of an asset-based model.
  2. Understanding Program Evaluation Methods and Outcomes: Participants examine different evaluation models and learn how to use data and measure outcomes to guide program evaluation.
  3. Creating a Strategic Plan: Participants will learn about the strategic planning process and how to develop and implement a strategic plan. Participants learn and apply the key elements of a strategic plan including how to assess internal capacity and weigh external factors.
  4. Social Entrepreneurship: Participants will learn the concept of social entrepreneurship and its connection to the nonprofit sector. Participants will understand how social entrepreneurship keeps nonprofit organizations relevant, financially sustainable, and adaptable.
  5. Volunteer Management: Participants will understand how to effectively integrate and utilize volunteers in organizations, including how to recruit, recognize and retain volunteers. Participants will learn about volunteer roles and organizational responsibilities to volunteers.