Are you seeking to improve your skills as a nonprofit board member? Want to better understand board governance or strategize a plan for your organization’s future? Are you wondering how your nonprofit can make meaningful and lasting change with regards to diversity, equity and inclusion?
Nonprofit leaders and volunteers alike are encouraged to tap into the vast knowledge base and faculty expertise of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, which believes in providing a world-class business education for both volunteers and professionals in the nonprofit sector. The school’s Center for Nonprofit Management offers a range of free resources to nonprofit volunteers and board members who are interested in improving their skills and contributing more effectively to their organizations.
Many of the Center’s resources are available free on its website, can be accessed at any time and are geared to anyone involved in nonprofit work. They are in keeping with Center’s mission, which states that “We are here to help the people that help their communities.” Some of the topics covered for free on the Center’s website include leadership, finance, strategy, fundraising, and board governance.
Of course, in 2021, the realization that all people and organizations need to better address diversity, equity and inclusion, has not been overlooked by the Center. One of its newest programs is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion video content as part of Nonprofit Management Essentials, a suite of online resources provided free to nonprofits thanks to the generous funding of The Allstate Foundation.
The new diversity and equity content, which will launch in November, will provide expert perspectives on a range of critical topics. These include demystifying and interrupting micro-aggressions, how bias shapes our behaviors, as well as how we can cultivate empathy and foster inclusion in our own spheres. Nonprofit staff and volunteers can access this content on-demand, in individual videos or as part of an 8-week facilitated program. A DIY Facilitation option allows anyone to create a training program customized to their own organization and needs.
With heightened awareness across the globe of the need for more focus on diversity and equity, the introduction of this new content demonstrates how the center is always expanding, updating and improving its resources and responding to the always evolving needs of volunteers and professionals in the nonprofit sector.
“Since 2001, the Center for Nonprofit Management has built on the Kellogg School’s long tradition of serving senior executives, board members, and volunteers across the nonprofit sector with management and leader education,” says Liz Livingston Howard, Executive Director, Center for Nonprofit Management and Clinical Professor of Management, Kellogg School of Management. Find more information on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion video content, as part of Nonprofit Management Essentials, online.
Taking advantage of the center’s many resources can help volunteers accomplish what all nonprofits are seeking, which is to better serve their communities. Learning, making connections with experts, and finding a supportive community, are ways to achieve that goal.
“As a strategic volunteer to a nonprofit organization, it’s important for you to enhance your leadership skills so that you can help your nonprofit increase its impact in the community. We have a variety of programs that can help you,” Livingston Howard says.
Another example of a free program for volunteers is the video series, “Equity Essentials,” which addresses key concepts and ideas related to diversity, equity and inclusion for leaders on their journey towards dismantling systemic racism and building more equitable organizations. Each video in the series features a leading Northwestern University expert who shares their perspective on an aspect of diversity, equity and inclusion and provides guidance on actionable steps leaders can take today to promote equity.
The Center also offers a program, “The Impact of Equity: Leaders Activating Change” for nonprofit CEOs, executive directors and senior non-profit leaders who are looking to gain an understanding of equity and become an agent for change. Participants will explore systemic inequities that are pervasive in our communities as well as analyze their own beliefs and biases that will become the basis for uncovering ways that they can become agents for change. They will also discover how their organizations can become more equitable through human resources and talent management, communication strategies and how an organization measures outcomes and communicates impact. In addition, they will be introduced to tools and frameworks that can guide the implementation of these concepts within their own organizations through the program.
Improving leadership and management skills through knowledge is the ultimate goal of all of the Center’s programs. “With a focus on individual leadership, organizational effectiveness, general management and topics specific to the nonprofit sector, our programs offer rigorous, relevant learning experiences in a university-based setting,” Livingston Howard says.
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Ann Marie Scheidler is a freelance writer who lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and five children. She tends to be where her kids are, but if you can’t find her there, she’s proudly supporting Beacon Place as one of its newest board members. Beacon Place is a nonprofit organization that has changed the lives of 4,000 children and families in Waukegan. Their innovative programs take a whole child and family approach to education, enrichment and healthy lifestyles support.