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Nonprofit Institute

Realize your Potential

Contact Us

Nonprofit Institute
College of Southern Maryland
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910
Fax: 301-934-7704

Charles County
Vivian Mills

St. Mary's County
Harriet Yaffe

Nonprofit Institute Right Col Logo

One of a community's finest assets is its wide array of nonprofit organizations joined in a common purpose: to help improve the quality of life for residents.

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Upcoming Training

Defining Leadership and Its Uses
September 16, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m., La Plata Campus

Basics of Sound Financial Management (presented twice)
September 23, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., La Plata Campus
September 30, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Leonardtown Campus

Putting Polish Into Your Marketing Program
September 24, 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., Leonardtown Campus

The Need to Protect Your Organization's Hard-Won Assets
October 7, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., La Plata Campus

A Brass Tacks Approach for Your Fundraising Program (presented twice)
October 13, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., La Plata Campus
October 20, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Leonardtown Campus

New Perspectives on Strategic Planning (two-part course)
October 15, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. and October 22, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Leonardtown Campus

Collaboration Opportunities in Today's Nonprofit Environment
October 28, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., La Plata Campus

Marrying Marketing and Advocacy (presented twice)
November 4, 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., La Plata Campus
November 18, 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., Leonardtown Campus

Managing in Today's Changing World
November 10, 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., Leonardtown Campus

Past Trainings

The Record-Keeping Imperative: Legal Requirements and Legacy Concerns

With time, every organization accumulates a great many records, whether stored in a computer, in hard-copy file cabinets, or in both. This course addresses questions concerning reasons for records retention and the practices that apply. What does the law say about saving documents - which ones and for how long? What workable approaches can a nonprofit adopt to assure a uniform approach to record handling? Who bears responsibility for compliance with policies and procedures? The course also explores non-legal reasons for saving records and keeping them organized and accessible. One such reason is ensuring that future chroniclers will be able to provide an accurate history of the organizationís founding and its achievements. Information about archival resources, such as the Southern Maryland Studies Center, is included.


The Meeting Imperative: the Art of Running Effective Meetings

In organizational life, perhaps no activity is more taken for granted than going to meetings - board, committee, staff, and any number of variations. However, meetings may fall short of expectations. The agenda may be unclear or incomplete; discussion may miss key points; interruptions or distractions may get in the way of problem solving. This course explores the causes of dysfunctional meetings and defines the characteristics of an effective meeting. It provides pointers for those responsible for running meetings, with attention to uses of consensus and parliamentary procedure to reach desired outcomes. A mock meeting occupies a portion of the course, giving everyone a chance to play a role. The instructor allows time as well for handling non-routine meetings, such as board-staff retreats and meetings aimed at working out collaborative agreements with other organizations.


Making the Transition to a Staffed Organization

One of the most critical junctures in the life of a nonprofit organization is deciding whether to change its all-volunteer operation by adding paid staff. Whether the first step is modest, such as hiring part-time administrative help, or more ambitious, such as bringing in a full-time executive director, the transition is certain to affect the boardís role, fundraising, and strategic planning. This course examines the indicators that suggest making such a transition. It sets forth questions a board needs to ask. What would the job responsibilities involve? What about compensation, and would a contract be necessary? What about tax implications? Is hiring possible under the existing budget, or would funds have to be raised first? What reasonable assurance is there for sustaining staff in subsequent years? Are there other options for meeting organization program and operational needs? Sometimes hiring does not prove feasible, yet hundreds if not thousands of nonprofits have made the leap. This course serves to ease the natural anxiety involved in the decision-making process and to equip participants with a set of markers to guide their board in navigating it.


The Policy Imperative: Essential Policy Needs for the 501C3 Organization

When a 501c3 organization encounters an unexpected crisis, a common reaction is to ask what the policy is. If the answer is none, it may prove necessary to cobble one together hurriedly. A better approach is to plan for policy needs. Some policy requirements are prompted by internal events, while others are imposed by government. For example, IRS is concerned with conflict of interest and the State of Maryland is concerned with fundraising activities. Also, organizations that evaluate nonprofits, such as Charity Navigator, look for policies as evidence of transparency and accountability. This course covers the purposes and benefits of sound policy development and provides specific attention to basic policy areas, including conflict of interest, whistleblower protection, gift acceptance, basic board duties, and internal controls. Students are encouraged to explore both the ethical and practical aspects of policy development and implementation. Model policy documents are provided for review and discussion.


Summer 2015 Schedule of Available Classes
can be found by clicking register now button
Register Now!


NPI-6520 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.4 CEUs


Soliciting Major Gifts

This two-session, six-hour workshop will review case studies of organizations with one to three development staff members who have crossed the gulf from "we know the big gifts are out there" to "we are strengthening relationships with our top prospects," as well as equip you with the insight and gumption to know when to ask for a gift, how much to ask, and who should be involved in solicitation.

NPI-6620 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.6 CEUs


Tues 9:00AM Ė 12:15PM
June 9
C114 - LEON
Register Now!



Your Financial System: Planning and Managing for Maximum Effect

An effective system for handling and keeping track of the organizationís finances is a necessity. In this course, participants will learn the basic components of such a system and discuss the ways in which it facilitates budget planning and monitoring and also protects against possible misuse of funds. Financial reports and statements will be covered in detail. Additionally, the annual budgeting process is vital to a successful nonprofit organization, but writing a budget can be a daunting task. Participants will learn the elements of the annual budget, the process of gathering relevant information, the budgetís relationship to strategic planning, the essential involvement of the board in understanding and approving the budget, and mid-course budget revisions.


NPI-6570 tuition: $10 / fees: $30 0.6 CEUs

Strategic Overview of Social Media Platforms

Is your organization utilizing social media to its full potential? This course is a strategic overview of using Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, YouTube, e-newsletters, blogging, websites and the cell phone for outreach and connection with constituents, volunteers, and current and prospective funders.


NPI-6610 tuition: $10 / fees: $30 0.4 CEUs

Fundraising and Business Mobile Applications for Nonprofits

Youíve heard about the applications, now get a good overview of and reviews on the top resources for nonprofit mobile applications, increasing your social media productivity and decreasing the amount of time invested by choosing whats best for your organization.


NPI-6650 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.3 CEUs

When and How to Bring In Outside Help

Sometimes a nonprofit organizationís internal resources are not sufficient to take care of an important need. It could involve an ongoing need that has not been addressed, an issue that is of growing concern, or a need that has come about with the emergence of a sudden problem or even unexpected opportunity. These circumstances can apply to virtually any area of operations, from fundraising to financial management, training, planning, program evaluation, marketing, and more. In this course, participants will learn to analyze organizational need in terms of criticality and longrange impact and for identifying appropriate strategies. It examines two key sources of outside help, pro bono services and consultants, and how to tap and use them for optimal effect. The use of contracts and written agreements for such arrangements is also covered in detail.


NPI-6560 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.3 CEUs

The Personnel Challenge: Policies, Procedures, and Building Staff

Personnel policies are procedures that chart out how a nonprofit organization treats its employees and how it relates to them. In this course, participants will learn the essentials in this key policy document, in terms of federal and state legal requirements and best practices in the field, as well as the way in which it succeeds in expressing the organizationís values. Illustrations of typical personnel problems are provided as problemsolving exercises for course participants. In addition to personnel policies, this course will explore the challenges nonprofit organizations face in job recruitment, evaluating employees, determining promotions, and making decisions to terminate employees. An overview of this ongoing process is reviewed and offers guidelines for making each part as problem-free as possible. Role playing to illustrate various aspects of personnel actions is included and participants also engage in an interactive discussion of ways in which staff morale can be either buoyed up or diminished.


NPI-6590 tuition: $10 / fees: $30 0.6 CEUs

Easy Visuals for Social Media Storytelling

Learn how to use free internet tools to take your photos and videos to the next level, and create content that is liked and shared across social media platforms. We suggest Grant Writing for Storytelling as preparation for these courses.


NPI-6630 tuition: $10 / fees: $30 0.4 CEUs

What Powers Exceptional Boards? Part 1

Exceptional non-profit boards and their leadership add significant value to their organizations, making a true difference in the attainment and expansion of their mission(s). For a board to be truly responsible and exceptional it must embrace a number of leadership principles. This two-part series of seminars will focus on these principles with the goal of helping non-profit boards and organization leaders understand the essence of what powers exceptional boards. It is recommended that participants in this course also register for What Powers Exceptional Boards?, Part 2.


NPI-6660 tuition: $10 / fees: $30 0.4 CEUs

What Powers Exceptional Boards? Part 2

Picking up where What Powers Exceptional Boards?, Part 1, left off, participants will address focusing on sustaining critical resources, being results-oriented, looking toward the future, exercising intentional board practices, encouraging continuous learning, and understanding the concept of revitalization, intentional board practices, continuous learning, and the concept of revitalization.

Prerequisite: It is recommended that participants also take NPI-6660 What Powers Exceptional Boards?, Part 1, although it is not required.


NPI-6670 tuition: $10 / fees: $30 0.4 CEUs

Building Your Organization by Building Leadership

Learn the true nature of leadership and the qualities that add up to effective leadership, including the ability to inspire others, stay focused on priorities, and foster collaboration. The training will cover the following questions: How does a nonprofit organization go about finding effective leaders? Is there a remedy for a weak leader? Can leadership skills be developed and, if so, how? Participants will have the opportunity to identify levels and types of leadership within their organization. Additionally, they will discuss the areas of organizational life that would benefit from greater attention to leadership needs. Participants will also take measure of their own leadership potential and how to put it to use.


NPI-6460 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.3 CEUs

The All-Important Role of the Board Chair

The path to becoming the nonprofit organizationís CVO-Chief Volunteer Officer- can vary from time to time and from organization to organization. Whatever the path and whether the title is president or board chair, the person assuming this position will definitely make a mark on the organization, for better or worse. In this course, participants will examine the typical demands of this role in terms of organization history, bylaws requirements, and the expectations of fellow board members and even the public. Effective ways of dealing with these diverse demands will be discussed, including taking time up front to envision how best to use the term of office as well as seeing the period as an opportunity for personal Growth.


NPI-6470 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.2 CEUs

Planning for Successful Leadership Transitions

One of the inevitable events in organizational life is change at the top. Change can happen according to plan, but sometimes comes about suddenly. Whatever the circumstances, it means an important transition for the organization and it can make all the difference to be prepared for it. This training explores the doís and doníts involved in the transfer of the leadership role to a new person. These guidelines are applicable both to welcoming a new board chair or hiring a new executive director. Participants will identify the assets that their organization would most need to protect and the areas in which a transition could serve to strengthen the organization. The practical aspects of defining and assigning responsibility for guiding the transition will be covered.

NPI-6490 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.3 CEUs

Secrets of Effective Board Recruitment

Finding good people to serve on the board is a constant challenge for many, if not most, nonprofit organizations. Only rarely does someone who is enthusiastic about an organization's mission and who comes equipped with great skills arrive on the doorstep and offer to serve. Instead, a search for potential nominees needs to be conducted, but if done casually or too conservatively, the results are apt to be disappointing. Starting with the premise that the purpose of the recruitment effort is to strengthen the board, this course provides a step-by-step guide for an effective search and selection process that achieves that purpose.

NPI-6550 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.2 CEUs

Grant Writing: Honing Your Storytelling Skills

Everyone is on information overload. Want your grant to stand out in the stack? Learn to tell your organizationís passionate story to command fundersí interest and attention. This course consists of three 2-hour sessions which will take your written storytelling skills to the next level. Participants will learn through theory combined with abundant amounts of practice in creating the organizationís unique and compelling story, along with the opportunity to receive valuable feedback from the instructor and other participants.


NPI-6600 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.6 CEUs

The Need to Protect Your Organizationís Hard-Won Assets

ďAn ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cureĒ is one of those old truisms whose meaning everyone easily gets and just as easily ignores. The proclivity to avoid attention to risk can play out on the organizational level as well as in individual life, and the results can be devastating. Consider the nonprofit organization that discovers that someone has been exploiting a weakness in its financial system to steal funds. This course outlines the many forms of risk that nonprofits face and practical means for minimizing if not altogether preventing them. It covers the key elements of liability coverage, steps to take if faced with a lawsuit, legal requirements for hiring fundraising consultants, actions that can threaten the organizationís charitable status, and the boardís obligation to carry out its fiduciary duties. The message is positive: risk, although a fact of life, can be kept at bay with sound, sensible planning. Executive directors, financial managers, and board members will especially benefit from this learning experience.


NPI-6820 tuition: $10 / fees: $40 0.4 CEUs


Print and Electronic Marketing for Your Nonprofit

Increasing competition these days for the publicís attention means the need to get smarter about telling your story. In the first session of this two-part workshop, learn the ropes for making effective use of the print media. In the second session, the instructor will provide a practical guide for best use of your webpages and social media. A professional journalist since 1984,Viki Volk conducts classes on journalism, public relations, and management of social media sites.

NPI-6860 tuition: $10 / fees: $40 0.4 CEUs


Your Prime Fundraising Source: Gifts From Individuals

Year after year, data collected from charitable organizations from all around the country show that individual gifts comprise the greatest source of financial support. Yet, many nonprofits tend to neglect this aspect of fundraising. They may not have an annual fund or a program for turning modest donations into major gifts. This course focuses on the importance of integrating a well thought-out individual gift-giving effort into the overall development plan. In the first part, it explores practical ways to build a prospect base and to use individual giving history and patterns to assess potential. It discusses how to balance individual giving with grant seeking and special events. It also describes the advantages of an annual fund program, including website and social media uses. The second part goes into the nature of a major gifts program, criteria for determining readiness for it, and the challenge of making the ďask.Ē

NPI-6810 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.5 CEUs

An In-Depth Overview of Grant Writing

Need help writing an effective grant proposal? This two-part class provides guidance and hands-on experience in preparing for and writing a grant. Participants in this course will learn about sources of information vital to making the case for a program or project. The course will also focus on identifying the potential donorís interests and matching them to the organizationís needs. Additionally, two technical aspects that can often be problematic for grant writers will be covered: budgets and effective writing.


NPI-6870 tuition: $10 / fees: $40 0.4 CEUs