Our mission is to improve the long-term sustainability of nonprofit leaders and organizations by offering the highest quality programs, consultation, training and community-building networks.



Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program

Advance your career in the nonprofit sector! Are you a new nonprofit executive, manager, or emerging professional looking to enhance your resume and gain the skill set and resources needed to effectively manage an organization? The Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program is your answer. This 13 week course - put on in partnership with the San Mateo Community College District - will give you the opportunity to learn from industry experts, explore your leadership style, develop your management skills, and gain a robust toolkit of the resources needed to excel and sustain yourself in a nonprofit career.  To sign up for the next course, visit our Community Calendar


"My experience with this program provided me with valuable training that boosted my confidence and helped me to feel ready to take on an important leadership role. Creating a vision and serving the mission of your organization, working effectively with a board of directors, strategic planning, raising critical funds for programs and services, and providing strong financial stewardship are all vital topics of the class that have served me very well as a new executive director. This well-rounded class touched on every aspect of becoming the leader you want to be - the leader that's inside all of us."

- Lisa Rock (Executive Director, Palo Alto Community Child Care)




"The Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program through CEN was a valuable, richly dense and informative course and an excellent primer for me in my first venture as an executive director. The topics seemed to match up perfectly, week after week, with issues that I was newly encountering on the job. This course overall steadily built up my confidence in managing a nonprofit organization. The class as a whole served as an amazing group therapy collaborative, and I wish it didn't have to come to an end! The instructors and guest lecturers were fantastically attentive and caring, and their staff were so open and helpful. Thanks so much CEN!"

- Sol McKinney (Executive Director, Community Science Workshop Network)

Intended Audience

This course is intended for nonprofit professionals new to senior management positions, nonprofit leaders facing new management and leadership challenges (leaders include executive  directors, department directors, board members, and key volunteers), and professionals in a governmental or private setting who would like to work or volunteer in the  nonprofit sector.


Class Structure

This 13-week program will be comprised of 39 total required hours, including 30 hours of core course content and 9 hours of special topic content. All core courses and special topics will be taught by experienced subject matter experts and practitioners.


Core Courses

Leadership - Get ready to learn how to make the shift from individual contributor to leader, how to navigate the difference between managing and leading, how to hone your leadership, and how to increase your impact by building and managing a strong team.

Financial Leadership - You will learn to understand the unique aspects of nonprofit financials and to use this information to create greater financial stability for your organization.

Strategic Development & Operational Planning - You will learn the core principles of creating and casting your vision, how to create a strategic framework for implementation and assessment, and how to build capacity through efficient and effective operational planning.

Fund Development - You will learn comprehensive, proven fundraising concepts and principles incorporating the latest research. At the same time, you will learn specific tools and techniques that enable and empower fundraisers to effectively plan and manage developmental efforts as they relate to overall strategic vision of the organization, including both the horizontals and verticals of fundraising.

Governance - One of the key determinates of a successful nonprofit is the relationship between the board and staff. In this course you will learn about the role and responsibilities of a nonprofit board of directors, how build a board to meet your strategic vision and how to engage your board members.

Special Topics - Special topics will include: Marketing & Social Media for Non-Profits, Measuring Impact, Technology & Nonprofits


Guest Speakers Have Included:

Edward W. (Ned) Barnholt, former Chairman, President, & CEO - Agilent Technologies

Annette Eros, CEO - Ronald McDonald House at Sanford

Ira Holtzman , CFO - The Health Trust

Amari Romero-Thomas, CEO & Principle Consultant - Mosaic Training Consulting


Registration Information 

To Register: Registration for this program is done through the San Mateo Community College District. You can Register Online or call: 650.574.6179 to sign up for the course.

Cost: $975/participant. Partial scholarships are available for the CEN member community! Email christine@cen.org to apply. Not sure if you are a member? Click Here to see your organization's membership status.