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Nonprofit Institute

Realize your Potential

Contact Us

Nonprofit Institute
College of Southern Maryland
8730 Mitchell Rd
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910
Fax: 301-934-7704

Charles County
Vivian Mills

St. Mary's County
Coordinator (Vacant)


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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

The Personnel Challenge

Does your organization need short- and long-term volunteer plans but not know where to start? This two-session course uses a collaborative and interactive format to present theory and engage participants in evaluating how opportunities meet the goals of the organization and identify strategies to recruit, retain, and recognize volunteers. Participants will finish each session by creating a written plan for their organization’s use.


NPI-6590 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.4 CEUs


Th 9:00AM – 4:00PM
May 19
Register Now!


Collaboration Opportunities in Today’s Nonprofit Environment

It can be challenging for a nonprofit organization to find itself in an environment in which it is facing competition with an organization pursuing similar goals. Such competition may threaten the fundraising effort, make it harder to attract volunteers, or even create public confusion. Is the answer to work on becoming a superior competitor? Or does establishing some form of collaborative effort make more sense? Is there a hybrid approach that would work? There is no easy answer to these questions, but organization leaders avoid considering the options at risk. This course removes some of the confusion by setting forth trends in the collaboration field and examples of when collaboration proves successful and why. While each situation is different, the steps are similar. Awareness of a potential for collaboration marks the first step on a path that calls for assessing practical and legal implications before determining the end goal. The differences between partnership, collaboration, and merger are delineated, along with the legal and practical implications of each approach.

NPI-6840                      tuition: $10 / fees: $15                0.3 CEUs


M  9AM – 12PM 
May 26
ST227 - LAPL
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Sizing Up and Using Social Impact Tools

This course is presented in two parts and is most useful for novice or prospective users of today’s social media. The first section focuses on the rapid development and role of social media as they apply to the nonprofit realm. It goes on to provide an overview of the array of social media tools available these days, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., followed by a clear description of the purpose and uses of each one, as well as the pros and cons to be considered when making them part of the organization’s daily life. Analysis of the impact on budget, person power, and time is included. Participants will be asked to project the extent to which use of social media, individually and collectively, has a strong potential to enhance their organization’s public outreach, fundraising, and membership and volunteer recruitment efforts. The importance of integrating social media tools with e-newsletters, websites, and online fundraising campaigns is also covered. The second section provides practice opportunities in a computer lab setting, allowing participants to become familiar with the styles and “rules” that apply for each medium and to learn how to sign up as appropriate.


NPI-6850                      tuition: $10 / fees: $15                0.5 CEUs


W  9AM – 3PM 
May 27
ST227 - LAPL
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Outcome Based Evaluations: Theory and Practice

Heard about Outcome Based Evaluation (OBE)? Don’t know exactly what it means, even though funders seem to be basing all of their decisions using it? This two-part course covers both theoretical and hands-on activities. Intended for all levels of experience, the course will cover the theory on differentiating outcomes and measures of impact, and hands-on practice using prerequisites to assure OBE success through the creation of meaningful outcomes, metrics for those outcomes and application of the outcomes to support continual organizational growth.

NPI-6900                      tuition: $10 / fees: $40                0.4 CEUs


Th  8:30AM – 10:30AM 
May 28 - Jun 4
C205 - LEON
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Special Events Success

Special events are commonly a way of life for nonprofit organizations. When successful, they bring in needed charitable income and in the process can enlarge the organization's circle of friends and advocates. However, they have the capacity to consume large amounts of volunteer and staff time. Few fundraising projects, whether grant seeking or mail appeals, are as labor intensive. An added challenge involves competition, since other nonprofits may schedule events in the same time frame as yours and even employ a theme similar to yours. This course examines the role of special events: how to fit them into your organization's overall development plan, how to budget for them and to make an accurate determination of net income, and how to maximize their effectiveness.

NPI-6480 tuition: $10 / fees: $15 0.4 CEUs


Weds 9:00AM – 12:15PM
June 3
BI214 - LAPL
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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 – 12:15PM
June 9
C114 - LEON
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Past Trainings

Your Financial System: Planning and Managing for Maximum Effect

An effective system for handling and keeping track of the organization’s 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 budget’s 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

You’ve 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 organization’s 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 organization’s 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 organization’s 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 do’s and don’ts 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 organization’s passionate story to command funders’ 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 organization’s 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 Organization’s Hard-Won Assets

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” 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 organization’s charitable status, and the board’s 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 public’s 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 “ask.”

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 donor’s interests and matching them to the organization’s 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