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. You will have 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. The Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program is now offered in various locations and multiple formats. To sign up for the next class, please visit our Community Training 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)


Intended Audience

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


Class Format/Partners

The Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program is offered as either a 13-week class, meeting once a week, or as a three-day intensive. Please visit our Community Training Calendar for more information on upcoming classes. For large groups, we can also customize the training and bring this content to you! Please email larissa@cen.org to learn more.

CEN also partners with local community colleges to offer this not-for-credit certificate course. Currently the program is offered in San Mateo (in partnership with Community, Continuing, & Corporate Education of the San Mateo Community College District) and in San Jose (in partnership with the Workforce Institute of the San Jose Evergreen Community College District).



Course Breakdown

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

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

Strategic Development & Operational Planning - Explore 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, all incorporating the latest research. At the same time, you will explore specific tools and techniques that enable and empower fundraisers to effectively plan and manage developmental efforts as they relate to the overall strategic vision of the organization.

Governance - One key determinate of a successful nonprofit is the relationship between the board and staff. In this course you will learn about the roles 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 - Have included, but are not limited to; Social Media & Marketing, Partnership Development, Social Sector Policy & Advocacy, and more! 


Post Course Results


"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)


Guest Speakers Have Included:

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

Annette Eros, CEO - Ronald McDonald House at Stanford

Dana Hooper, Executive Director - Life Services Alternatives

Ira Holtzman , CFO - The Health Trust

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