A group of co-workers team-building

My expectations were exceeded. I learned best practices in an area I did not know existed: systematic building of organizational culture.

Dawn H., October 2015

Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership

The Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership is a comprehensive program that offers experienced nonprofit professionals the opportunity to increase their capacity for effective entrepreneurial leadership through applied theoretical studies, executive skills training, and reflective practices in an interactive learning environment. Through this innovative curriculum, participants will:

1) Develop a greater mastery of leadership skills and increase their confidence in applying these effectively in the nonprofit workplace

2) Gain an awareness of emerging trends in the nonprofit sector, including social entrepreneurship, earned income ventures, and the evolving legal landscape

3) Master reflective practices that enhance communications, foster understanding, and lead to results

4) Develop skills to regain balance, remaining centered in the face of complexity and chaos

5) Enhance their network through an expanded leadership cohort of peers drawn from across the country

6) Create a personal leadership plan to use their refined skills to take action on changes they wish to make in their organizations and communities


As result of their participation, graduates will be better able to:

  • Forge high-performing teams driven to achieve the mission of the organization
  • Foster within their organizations the proven practices of high impact nonprofits
  • Adopt entrepreneurial competencies of opportunity orientation, innovation, resourcefulness, and adaptive persistence
  • Lead strategic change within their organizations
  • Work with other leaders across organizations, sectors, and stakeholder groups to capitalize on opportunities for synergy in addressing critical social issues 

Graduates of the Executive Certificate program will return home equipped with the knowledge, skills, and inspiration to manage in fast-paced, resource-constrained, mission-driven environments that characterize today’s nonprofit sector.


Supported in part by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, the program was created in direct response from senior nonprofit managers, board members, and many of the over 2,000 graduates of Duke University’s nationally acclaimed renowned Certificate in Nonprofit Management program. Composed of nationally known experts from Duke University and leading practitioners, our faculty provides interactive instruction, practical resources, and targeted feedback to enhance and expand participants’ skills in entrepreneurial nonprofit leadership.

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2015 Final Agenda (.pdf version)
Additional Readings, links or other prepatory work will be sent to students within 30 days of class start date.

Monday, October 12

8:00 – 9:00am

Opening Session
Nancy J. Love, MPA, Director, Nonprofit Management Program, nl40@duke.edu
Matthew T.A. NashCenter Director of the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD), Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, mnash@duke.edu

Following a welcome by program leaders, introductions, and an on-boarding activity, we will discuss participants’ expectations for the Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and identify norms and standards for our learning community.  We will conclude with an overview of the curriculum with special reference to the expectations identified earlier.

9:00 – 10:15am

Effective Leadership and the Nonprofit Executive
Matthew T.A. Nash, Center Director of the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD)

In this session, we will engage in a lively discussion of what leadership means for each of us.  Together, we will examine the special challenges of leadership in the nonprofit sector.  Finally, we will share the leadership development goals that each of us bring to the Executive Certificate program.

10:15 – 10:30am BREAK
10:30am – 12:00pm

Promising Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits
Matthew T.A. Nash, Center Director of the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD)

Nonprofits occupy a unique position in the organizational landscape of the United States.  Although many of the fundamental principles and practices of effective leadership apply across all sectors and forms of organization, nonprofit leaders face a distinctive set of opportunities and challenges in comparison with their counterparts in the business and government sectors.  Moreover, recent research has revealed a set of promising practices applied consistently to positive effect in many high impact nonprofits.  

12:00 – 1:15pm LUNCH
1:15 – 3:15pm

The Landscape of Leadership
Oie Osterkamp, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House, Durham, NC, oie.osterkamp@rmhdurham.org

What does it take to be a leader? A good starting place is an examination of personal learning and leadership styles and their effect on decision-making, problem solving, and communication. Each participant will complete the DISC or Myers Briggs profiles. We will then examine these frames and what they suggest about improving leadership capabilities for ourselves and for those we lead.

3:15 – 3:30pm BREAK
3:30 – 5:30pm

Entrepreneurial Leadership
Christopher Gergen, Cofounder, Bull City Forward, Lecturer, Enterprising Leadership Initiative, Hart Leadership Program, Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, cgeren88@gmail.com

Today's nonprofit organizations cannot compete without the entrepreneurial edge.  Is your team ready?  Entrepreneurial leaders seek to integrate their life, work, and purpose through distinctively entrepreneurial behavior—and, in so doing, create extraordinary lives of significance. Are YOU ready?  In this session, the co-author of LifeEntrepreneurshipOrdinary People Leading Extraordinary Lives will coach participants through the entrepreneurial path, including awakening to opportunity, envisioning the future, developing entrepreneurial goals and strategies, and taking action and making a difference.  We will provide vivid examples, frameworks, and strategies for helping participants create a life of service and fulfillment.

5:30 – 5:45pm

Overview of Breakout Groups 
Matthew T.A. Nash, Center Director of the Social Entrepreneurship, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

6:00 – 7:00pm DINNER
7:15 – 8:45pm Breakout Groups


Tuesday, October 13

8:00 – 8:15am

Morning Check-In Session
Love & Nash

8:15 – 10:15am

Collaborative Leadership 

Sanyin Siang, Executive Director of the Coach K Leadership & Ethics Center (COLE) at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, sanyin.siang@duke.edu

As the social impact landscape becomes more interdependent and complex, collaborations between private and social sectors as well as among nonprofits and within organizations will be the key to success.  This session explores ways of communicating the context for collaboration, building and cultivating trust through presentation, dialogue, and experiential exercises.

10:15 – 10:30am BREAK
10:30 –12:00pm

Managing Strategic Change
Oie Osterkamp, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House, Durham, NC, oie.osterkamp@rmhdurham.org  

Nonprofit leaders face unprecedented challenges and emerging opportunities as they engage their organizations in preparing for the future. Nonprofit leaders must seek to bring about change every day—change in their teams, organizations, and communities—but implementing change is downright difficult, as any seasoned leader would agree.  In this session, we will consider the management tactics required to create and communicate a vision for change, structure an effective process of managing change, identify and work with change agents, prepare affected individuals to embrace change, and drive the change effort to a successful conclusion that results in the increased impact of the organization.

We will learn the formula for building an effective team, discuss questions that can help an organizational leader assess the health of their team and identify areas where change is necessary, and will discuss tactics that can help mitigate possible pitfalls that organizations can experience as they change or grow.

12:00 – 1:15pm LUNCH
1:15pm – 3:15pm

Managing Strategic Change (continued)

3:15 – 3:30pm BREAK
3:30 – 6:00pm

Cultivating Effective Relations with the Board of Directors
Marty Martin, J.D., MPA, Martin Law Firm, Raleigh, NC. served on the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT); BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer, marty_martin@martinlegalhelp.com

Results in the nonprofit sector derive from strong leadership between nonprofit executive(s) and their volunteer board of directors.  The overall landscape of nonprofit governance has changed with regulators, stakeholders, donors, and the public demanding increased accountability to ensure that organizations achieve results.  Through an interactive dialogue, the class will consider promising practices for forging effective relationships between board and staff given the asymmetries in the knowledge, information, and incentives between the board and nonprofit’s executive(s).  Submit in advance and/or bring your questions and issues to frame the conversation.

6:00 – 7:00pm DINNER
7:00 – 8:30pm

Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship 
Matthew T.A. Nash, Managing Director, Social Entrepreneurship, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

What is social entrepreneurship?  Universities, the media, nonprofits, and even the White House seem to be increasingly using this term, but what does it really mean?  In this interactive session, nonprofit leaders will explore the core concepts of social entrepreneurship through a case study example of 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner and microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank.  What can we learn from this powerful story of an entrepreneurial leader who identified an opportunity, mobilized resources, and achieved significant social impact?  What can we learn from leading edge research in the emerging field of social entrepreneurship if we are seeking to have greater impact?  How can participants apply the principles of social entrepreneurship in their lives and work?


Wednesday, October 14

8:00 – 8:15am   

Morning Check-In Session
Love & Nash

8:15 – 11:15am
(with break)  

Managing Diversity and Sustaining a Culture of Inclusion             
Inderdeep Chatrath, Ph.D., Office for Institutional Equity, Duke University & Duke University Health System, inderdeep.chatrath@duke.edu

As the national and the world landscape changes, the future workplace and communities will inevitably become more diverse. Emerging dimensions of diversity will pose both opportunities and formidable challenges to sustain organizational effectiveness, especially in the non-profit sector. Only through heightened awareness and deliberate efforts will organizations successfully leverage diversity to support an inclusive and high performing organizational culture.

11:15am – 12:30pm

Preparing for the Next Generation of Leaders 
Moderated by Matthew T.A. Nash, Center Director of the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD)

Given the impending exodus of nonprofit leaders over the next five years, it is imperative for present leaders to cultivate those who will succeed them.  In this session, a panel of emerging leaders will engage the participants in a dialogue on the motivations, ways of working, and aspirations of the rising generation. 

12:30 – 1:45pm LUNCH
1:45 – 4:15pm

Coaching Your Staff towards Organizational Success
Benjamin Quinn, MBA, FarmBlue Ventures, Certified Business Coach
This session is designed to give nonprofit executives a clear and actionable organizational management framework that attracts, motivates, and retains the top talent, and that empowers the executive to get the greatest results out of their team. We will outline a clear process you can use to successfully coach your staff to accomplish organizational objectives on time, with the resources given, and with exceptional results.  As a result, participants will have an increased ability to foster and maintain a team dynamic that helps create results greater than the sum of each individual’s contribution.

4:15 – 5:45pm

Using Social Media to Extend the Voice and Impact of Your Nonprofit

When social media is used effectively, it can help your nonprofit fulfill its mission, increase awareness and engage stakeholders. But as social media evolves, how do you keep up? What are the best practices – and the pitfalls?  In this session we will talk about strategy and tactics for tackling social media. 



6:00pm Dinner/Reception (Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club)


Thursday, October 15

8:00 – 8:15am

Morning Check-In Session
Love & Nash

8:15 – 10:00am

Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Culture
Suzanne Smith, Founder & Principal, Social Impact Architects Suzanne@socialimpactarchitects.com

The complicated challenges facing contemporary nonprofit organizations demand a dynamic brand of leadership.  An entrepreneurial outlook can help to transform the culture of nonprofits by meaningfully engaging the abilities, talents, and passions of board, staff and supporters.

10:00am – 10:15pm BREAK
10:15am – 12:00pm

Social Enterprise: Is Earned Income Right for Your Organization?
Suzanne Smith, Founder & Principal, Social Impact Architects

In the face of increasing competition for limited and volatile philanthropic funding, many nonprofits are turning to earned income ventures as a potential alternative to traditional nonprofit fundraising strategies.  

12:00 – 1:15pm 


1:15 – 2:30pm

Social Enterprise: Is Earned Income Right for Your Organization? (continued)

2:30 – 3:45pm

Social Enterprise in Action: Lessons from the Trenches

A panel of leaders of entrepreneurial nonprofits will engage the participants in a dialogue on the opportunities and challenges of incorporating principles and practices of social enterprise into nonprofit strategy, operations, and culture.

3:45 – 4:00pm BREAK
4:00 – 6:00pm

Emerging Issues in the Nonprofit Legal Landscape
Andrew Foster, Clinical Professor of Law; Director of the Community Enterprise Clinic, Duke Law School 

Nonprofit leaders must manage the affairs of their nonprofit corporation in an evolving legal landscape.  As nonprofit organizations have become more entrepreneurial, they too often have been stymied by legal and regulatory regimes that were designed for an earlier era.  In this session, participants will have an opportunity to discuss these and other issues with an expert in nonprofit law. 

6:00 – 7:00pm    DINNER
7:00 – 8:30pm

Finding My Voice
Sean Lilly Wilson, CEO and Founder, Fullsteam Brewery, sean@fullsteam.ag

Finding our voice is a vital element of leadership.  In order to communicate to the world about our life's work, we need to be able to articulate our purpose and our truth.  Telling these truths becomes an entry point to embracing the joy and pain of who we really are and what we bring to our efforts to make a difference in the world.  This session will help participants understand the impact of old stories and how to create new stories, which can propel us and our organizations in the directions that matter most.


Friday, October 16

8:00 – 8:15am   

Morning Check-In Session
Love & Nash

8:15 – 10:15am 

Ethics in Nonprofit Organizations 
Hudson Fuller, J.D., MPH, is a licensed attorney, hudsonfuller@yahoo.com 

Maintaining the public’s trust is crucial to a nonprofit's continued work and yet the misdeeds of a few have eroded the public's trust in all nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits rely heavily on their good reputation to raise money and develop services in the community. As such, nonprofit leaders must be aware of various ethical risks and dilemmas that nonprofits may face. In this session, we will look at why nonprofits are so vulnerable to unethical behavior and strategies for promoting ethical cultures within nonprofits. 

10:15 – 10:30am BREAK
10:30am –12:30pm

Managing for Results
Matthew T.A. Nash, Managing Director, Social Entrepreneurship, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

More than ever, nonprofits are under pressure to measure and report on their impact and to “manage for results” in an era of strained resources.  In this session, we will discuss how to identify and refine your organization’s “theory of change” and we will review several practical tools for social impact measurement.  We will conclude with a discussion of emerging trends in social impact measurement.

12:30 –1:30pm LUNCH
1:30 – 3:00pm

Closing Session
Love & Nash
In this session, we will bring closure to the Duke Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership program by reviewing and discussing the key themes of the week. We will also share the revised leadership development goals that each participant will commit to pursuing in the months ahead. 

The Duke Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership will be awarded.

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Earning the Certificate

Participants will complete the Executive Certificate in five straight days – October 10-14, 2016.  The Executive Certificate is a 50-hour program that meets Monday-Friday.  Day and evening hours will apply along with team projects. 

Individuals who apply and are accepted into the Executive Certificate will participate in its comprehensive program that offers experienced nonprofit professionals the opportunity to increase their capacity for effective entrepreneurial leadership through applied theoretical studies, executive skills training, and reflective practices in an interactive learning environment. 

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Application Process

Our application period for the 2016 Executive Certificate is open between January 11, 2016 and August 31, 2016.

The Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership is designed to deliver high impact training for seasoned nonprofit professionals whose leadership transforms organizations, communities and lives.


  • The Executive Certificate is open to those who hold the Certificate in Nonprofit Management and have 3 years of senior management experience.
  • It is also open to persons not holding the Certificate in Nonprofit Management but who have 5 years of senior management experience.
  • Prospective students must apply and be accepted before registering for the Program.


Please complete the online application linked to the Apply Now button above. You also have the option to apply with a paper application and mail it with your résumé, letter of reference, and brief personal statement to:

Duke Nonprofit Management Program
Executive Certificate
Campus Box 90708
Durham, NC 27708-0466

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Schedule & Registration


2016 Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership, Course ID: 0461-008
Class Date:  October 10-14, 2016
Application Period:  January 11, 2016 – August 31, 2016
Registration Begins:  March 14, 2016
Registration Ends:  September 9, 2016 (or until class is full)
Location:  Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club, 3001 Cameron Boulevard Durham, NC 27705


Once accepted in the Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership Program, participants will receive all registration information, class schedules, and materials.

For more information, please call 919-668-6742.

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Information Sessions

Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership Information Session
Thursday, April 7th, 2016, 12:00 -1:00 pm
Course ID: 0199-103
Cost: Free
Call-in details provided after registration

Email Nancy Love with questions about the Executive Certificate program.

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Directions & Accommodations


Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club 3001 Cameron Blvd Durham, NC 27705


Students are responsible for lodging expenses.  A block of rooms is reserved from Sunday, October 9 – Friday, October 14 at the Washington Duke Inn at a special rate of $150 per night until September 8, 2016.

Reservations for a room received after September 8, 2016 will be provided on a space available basis at prevailing rates. Access the Washington Duke Reservation page for the Duke Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership program OR call 919-490-0999 or 1-800-443-3853 to make reservations by phone. When calling, refer to group code 531831.


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Tuition & Funding Sources



This includes tuition, course materials, snacks, beverages and meals.  Duke Certificate in Nonprofit Management graduates receive a $750 scholarship. Students are responsible for lodging costs.

Funding Sources

Our Nonprofit Management Programs (Intensive Track and Executive Certificate* in Nonprofit Leadership) are non-credit (not degree applicable); therefore, they are NOT eligible for federal loans. DO NOT SUBMIT FAFSA FORMS for these programs. Please see individual program web pages for those details. You may qualify for other loan options. Please see info below.

*Students must apply & be accepted into the Executive Certificate Program before registering.

No loans (Wells Fargo Graduate loan, Sallie Mae Smart Option Undergraduate loan, etc.) can be construed to imply any degree-seeking status for students of Duke Continuing studies. Duke Continuing Studies courses are non-credit.

Loan Options

Your local bank may offer other options for loans or a "line of credit" service. Contact your bank for more information on financing choices.

Other Funding Sources

The funding options listed below may not be applicable to all programs at this time. Please contact the organization offering the funding to see if you qualify and if the funds can be used for the program in which you are interested.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan

To apply for this private student loan, visit Sallie Mae’s website, select the Undergraduate Student Loan and then click Apply Now.   The following application should populate with the pertinent information for Duke Continuing Studies.

Wells Fargo Graduate Loan

To apply for this loan, visit Wells Fargo. Duke Continuing Studies will be required to certify your loan application for the Graduate Loan should you be approved by Wells Fargo.

You will need to enter the following information after clicking on Apply Now in the Before Starting Your Application section:

  • Find a loan for: Graduate School Expenses
  • I am a: Student
  • School state: North Carolina
  • School name: please type Duke University Continuing Education
  • Grade Level: Beyond 3rd Year Graduate
  • Field of Study: Undecided or select Other and type in the field of study
  • Citizenship: Select as appropriate

Montgomery G.I. Bill (VA)

Educational assistance is available to those persons who qualify under the conditions set forth by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Students may contact 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) to speak with a Veterans Benefits Counselor or visit the G.I. Bill website

At this time, the only program that has applied for and been approved by the North Carolina State Approving Agency for VA funding is the classroom-based Paralegal Certificate Program (both Durham and Charlotte).  Those students who qualify for funding through the VA should apply for the paralegal program and let the DCS registration office know that this type of funding is being sought. The DCS registration office will then put Paralegal students in contact with Duke University’s VA official.  Any questions about VA program approval should be directed to individual program directors.

Workforce Investment Act

The WIA provides professional and basic skills training services to those who have been unable to find employment. Please keep in mind that this process can be lengthy, so plan to apply well in advance of the program start date.  For more information on eligibility, the application process, or to find your local Workforce Development Board, visit the NC JobLink Career Center website.


AmeriCorps Education Awards are available only for AmeriCorps volunteers and can be used for educational expenses for non-degree courses, such as Continuing Education courses offered by qualified schools. For more information on qualified schools and programs, contact the National Service Trust at 1-800-942-2677, or visit the FAQ page of the AmeriCorps website.


The Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership Program will offer a $750 scholarship to Duke Certificate in Nonprofit Management graduates. To apply, indicate that you have the Certificate on your application. Staff will verify and contact you. Please apply early to guarantee consideration.

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Policies & Procedures

Refund Policy

$200 of your tuition for the Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership is nonrefundable.  To receive a refund minus a processing fee for class cancellation, we must receive your written cancellation request by Friday, September 9, 2016. 

To submit a cancellation request:

 Email: learnmore@duke.edu
 Fax:    919-681-8235
 Mail:   Registration - Duke Continuing Studies
             Box 90700
             Durham, NC 27708-0700

Please include your name, address, phone number, and program title (Executive Certificate). Refunds will be made in the manner you paid. Failure to attend the Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership class does not entitle you to a refund or replacement class.

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