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Nonprofit Essentials Program

Wake Forest University’s Institute for Public Engagement, in partnership with HandsOn Northwest North Carolina is proud to present the Nonprofit Essentials Program

Click on the link to dowload the Fall 2014 Nonprofit Essentials Program

Nonprofit Essentials is a series of nine skill building courses designed to strengthen the capacity of students and professionals pursuing careers in the nonprofit sector or those interested in updating their knowledge and skills.  Classes are open to the community.  Nonprofit board members, staff and volunteers are encouraged to attend.  Classes cover a range of topics essential to the governance and management of nonprofits, and are taught primarily by Wake Forest faculty and administrators. After finishing all sessions, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion from Wake Forest University’s School of Business.

Dates & Locations: Participants attend class once a month from September to June of the following year, with a break in January. All classes will be held at Wake Forest  University.  Please check the HandsOn NWNC website at for specific class dates and locations.

Cost: $50/person/class; $40/person/class for HandsOn NWNC Supporting Partners.  Register for all 10 classes for $350!  This is a good option for organizations that have employees who could benefit from different courses.  You can begin courses at any time during the series and make-up missed courses when they are offered the following year.

Time: All classes are from 12:00 pm to 4:30 pm and include a networking lunch.

 Registration: Required. Register at

Questions? For more information, please contact the Institute for Public Engagement at (phone: 758.3310) or HandsOn NWNC at (phone: 724.2866).

The mission of the Institute for Public Engagement is to enhance public engagement between Wake Forest University faculty, students, and the community. To learn more about the Institute for Public Engagement, please visit the webpage About Us . The mission of HandsOn NWNC is to increase volunteerism and build the capacity of nonprofits in Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin counties.  To learn more about HandsOn NWNC, please visit their website at

 Course Descriptions



A look at nonprofit governance, including organizational lifecycles and best practices.  Topics include the role of the board, building an effective board, the relationship and roles of the board and staff, and how to monitor and evaluate the Executive Director.

Strategic Planning

Learn how to “strategically think” through critical questions in order to have a successful strategic planning process. Using case studies, examine effective strategies, assess the importance of the organization’s position in the external market, select an analytical and organizational approach to strategy formulation and implementation, and, overcome strategic planning myths.

Budgeting and Finance

This course is designed to give an overview of nonprofit budgeting and finance, including financial terminology, the components of nonprofit financial statements, and a working understanding of an income statement and balance sheet.

Human Resources

The most important asset of any organizations is its people. This course will address key topics such as recruitment, retention, development, and evaluation of board members, staff and volunteers; the importance of diversity in the nonprofit workforce; and, how to create a motivating and rewarding work environment.

Fund Development

Learn key strategies and tactics for successful fundraising, including developing and sustaining donor relationships, understanding the critical role of board members and volunteers in successful fundraising, creating a plan to guide your efforts, and monitoring your effectiveness. Explore how technology can enhance development efforts by being used as a fundraising, communications, and marketing tool.


Saving time, money and resources through collaborations with other organizations sounds like a good idea, but what are the key principles that should be considered?  Learn best practices for nonprofit collaborations and how to make these partnerships legally sound and successful.


The nonprofit sector is increasingly under pressure to show meaningful results. This class will examine different evaluation models and lead you through the process of designing an approach to measure programs, create meaningful measures, collect and analyze data, generate a report, and communicate results to document impact, improve services, and support fundraising efforts.

Advocacy and Communication

Nonprofits play an active role in shaping public policy. Learn successful advocacy strategies used to advance an organization’s mission for the public good, how to measure the success of your advocacy, and how to address related legal, ethical and tax issues.

Grant Writing

A practical course designed for those seeking to develop grant proposal writing skills.  Participants will learn how to research funding sources and approach funders, and learn best practices for developing successful grant proposals and letters of inquiry.

Emerging Issues

This class will examine emerging issues that are currently impacting nonprofits and the possible implications they play in the future of the public sector.  Class topics to be determined.