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My expectations were exceeded for this program! This is an absolute game changer for our organization. I am ready to prepare for, plan, and implement change

Liz L., 2019

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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2021 Agenda 
Additional Readings, links or other preparatory work will be sent to students within 30 days of class start date.

Monday, October 11

9:00 – 9:45am

Opening Session
Nancy J. Love, MPA, Director, Duke Nonprofit Management Program,
Matthew T.A. Nash, MBA. Managing Director, Social Entrepreneurship Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative,

Following a welcome by program leaders, introductions, and an on-boarding activity, we will discuss participants’ expectations for the 2021 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.

9:45 – 10:30am

Effective Leadership and the Nonprofit Executive
Matthew T.A. Nash, MBA. Managing Director, Social Entrepreneurship, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative,

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.

10:30 – 10:45am BREAK
10:45am – 12:00pm

Promising Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits
Matthew T.A. Nash, MBA. Managing Director, Social Entrepreneurship, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative,

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 – 1:00pm LUNCH
1:00 – 3:00pm

The Landscape of Leadership
Oie Osterkamp, MBA, Executive Director at Ronald McDonald House, Durham NC,   

What would it take for you to be an even better leader than you are now? Not just for the short view, but for years to come.

Prepare to discover and explore the “whys,” the “whats” and the “hows” of the most effective leaders in the world and how to incorporate them into your own leadership style. You will experience clarity in why you are a leader, what things the most successful leaders do, and how you can make an immediate positive cultural impact on your team by implementing simple, high impact activities. Most importantly, if you incorporate just ONE THING you learn in this class into your leadership style, you will experience immediate results.

And who knows? You may even have a little fun along the way!

3:15 – 3:15pm BREAK
3:15 – 5:00pm

Managing Nonprofits Through Turbulent Times
Anne Willson, M.A, Consultant,   

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on public health, employment, food security, housing, and mental health deeply strained the nonprofit sector’s ability to address an unprecedented demand for basic human services. Without exception, and without warning, nonprofit leaders were challenged to guide their organizations forward in the face of an unknown, destabilizing force. While Covid is an outlier, volatility is not.  What has the pandemic taught us about our ability to steward our organizations through difficult situations? How can nonprofits and their leaders manage through adversity while remaining structurally and financially viable? How can we build the resilience needed to withstand inevitable future challenges?

Tuesday, October 12

9:00 – 9:10am

Morning Check-In Session
Love & Nash

9:10 – 10:45am

Mindfulness for Social Impact 
Rachel Bellinger, MBA, Founder, Mindful Good,

Creating positive change in the world is needed now more than ever. Nonprofit leaders work tirelessly to address the world’s greatest challenges amidst resource constraints and unprecedented uncertainty, while balancing a myriad of stakeholder needs and multiple bottom lines. The issues are vast, the stakes are high, and the prevalence of chronic stress, burnout and compassion fatigue are all too common.

 To achieve their bold visions, transformational leaders must prioritize their wellbeing. They need access to a diverse set of tools, practices and frameworks to cultivate focus, creativity, resilience and joy. Mindfulness and self-compassion are two of these essential tools. Through practical, evidence-based mindfulness practices and principles, leaders are able to communicate more effectively, inspire their teams, uncover innovative solutions, and focus on what matters most – even in the midst of constant change.

10:45 – 11:00am BREAK
11:00 –12:00pm Leading Effective Virtual Meetings 

Jeanne Allen, Ed.S., Jeanne Allen Consulting, Inc.

Nonprofit leaders have always used meetings to share information, generate ideas, solve problem, and plan for actions.  However, as the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically accelerated the trend toward virtual meetings, many organizations have struggled to maintain the quality and effectiveness of these meetings.  In this session, we will share approaches to help you “facilitate from afar” and get more out of virtual meetings o that your organization can achieve greater results for those it serves.

12:00 – 1:00pm LUNCH
1:00pm – 3:00pm

Building High Performing Teams
Oie Osterkamp, MBA, Executive Director at Ronald Mcdonald House Durham NC,

What is the formula for building high performing teams? You will know after this class. We will explore each component of the formula for building high performing teams. Think you know about trust and respect? You will almost certainly learn a new perspective. We will review the twelve questions every employee asks themselves about their work satisfaction and engagement (whether they know it or not!) Tactically, you will be exposed to proven technics that will help you make an immediate positive impression on your corporate culture. You will also learn about the worst-case scenario on your team (avoid this at all costs!).  

3:00 – 3:15pm BREAK
3:15 – 5:00pm

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

What is social innovation? Universities, the media, nonprofits, and even government agencies seem to be increasingly using this term, but what does it really mean? In this interactive session, nonprofit leaders will explore these concepts 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 innovation if we are seeking to have greater impact?

Wednesday, October 13

9:00 – 9:10am   

Morning Check-In Session
Love & Nash

9:10 – 10:30am

Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Culture
Suzanne Smith, MBA, Founder & CEO, Social Impact Architects & Changemaker

Nonprofit organizations are navigating tectonic shifts in the social sector that require new skills and new strategies to create long-term impact. 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.

10:30am - 10:45pm BREAK
10:45 - 12:00pm

Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Culture (continued)

12:00 - 1:00pm LUNCH
1:00- 2:30pm

Social Enterprise:  Is Earned Income Right for Your Organization? 
Suzanne Smith, MBA, Founder & CEO, Social Impact Architects & Changemaker Interactive,  

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.

2:30 – 3:15pm


Social Enterprise in Action: Lessons from the Trenches 
Moderated bySuzanne Smith, MBA, Founder & CEO, Social Impact Architects,

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.

3:15 - 3:30pm BREAK
3:30 - 5:00pm

Legal Issues for Entrepreneurial Nonprofits
Thomas Williams, JD, MBE, Lecturing Fellow, Initiative for Science and Society Program, Director, DukeEngage Washington, Duke Initiative for Science & Society,

Nonprofit leaders must manage the affairs of their nonprofit corporation in an evolving legal landscape. As nonprofit organizations have become more entrepreneurial, they need to be mindful of 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. 

Thursday, October 14

9:00 – 9:10am

Morning Check-In Session
Love & Nash

9:10 – 10:30am

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. During this session, you will learn how to cultivate the “Six Characteristics of a Highly Effective 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.

10:30am – 10:45pm BREAK
10:45am – 12:00pm

Coaching Your Staff towards Organizational Success (continued)

12:00 – 1:00pm 


1:00 – 2:15pm

Preparing for Next Generation of Leaders
Moderated by Matthew T.A. Nash, MBA.  Managing Director, Social Entrepreneurship, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Given the impending exodus of nonprofit leaders over the next decade, 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. 

2:15 – 2:30pm BREAK
2:30 – 5:00pm

Cultivating Effective Relations with the Board of Directors
Matthew, T. A. Nash, MBA. Managing Director, Social Entrepreneurship, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurialship Initiative

The overall landscape of nonprofit governance has changed with regulators, stakeholders, and the public demanding increased accountability to ensure that nonprofit organizations achieve results.  To be successful, a nonprofit organization requires strong leadership from its board of directors in close partnership with the organization’s senior leaders.  In this session, we will consider how to forge effective relationships given the asymmetries in the knowledge, information, and incentives among these groups.  We will also discuss how to increase board member commitment to the mission and purpose of your organization, and how boards must be active and engaged to fulfill their legal and governance duties.  The session will conclude with a lively panel discussion among experienced nonprofit executives and board members

Friday, October 15

9:00 – 9:30am   

Final Morning Check-In Session
Love & Nash

9:30 – 10:30am 

Managing Implicit Bias - An Overview and Strategies
Inderdeep Chatrath, Ph.D, Consultant, Former Assistant Vice President of Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action Programs in the Office for Institutional Equity at Duke University and Health System,

This session will present the rationale for the current national focus on Implicit Bias and its relevance for nonprofit organizations.  Theories underlying the development of the process of implicit biases will be discussed along with findings from a number of research designs. Implications for decision-making will be presented, along with specific strategies aimed at helping participants better manage the impact of implicit bias on their decisions, (both interactive and didactic).

10:30 – 10:45am BREAK
10:45am –12:00pm

Implicit Bias: Personal & Professional Implications (continued)

12:00 –1:00pm LUNCH
1:00 – 2:30pm

Scaling Social Impact
Matthew, T. A. Nash, MBA, Managing Director, Social Entrepreneurship, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Nonprofits have come under greater pressure than ever to deliver increased outcomes with fewer resources.  The ability to “take our impact to scale” seems as critical as ever.  But what are the various pathways to achieving increased impact, and what strategies should your nonprofit consider?  What integral capacities are required to scale impact, and how should your organization go about planning for such an effort?  In this session, we will examine these questions in our mutual effort to make a significant and sustainable impact in the communities we serve.

2:30 - 2:45pm Break
2:45 - 3:30pm

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. 



*Schedule is subject to change

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Earning the Certificate

Participants will complete the Executive Certificate in five straight days – October 11-15, 2021.  The Executive Certificate is a 50-hour program that meets Monday-Friday.  The program will be held as a series of live interactive classes via Zoom. Participants must attend all sessions to earn the Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership. 

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

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 nonprofit management experience.
  • It is also open to persons not holding the Certificate in Nonprofit Management but who have 5 years of nonprofit leadership experience in a nonprofit setting.
  • Prospective participants must apply and be accepted before registering for the Program.


Applications for the 2021 program will be accepted beginning January 4, 2021.    

Required Supplemental Materials

In addition to completing the online application, you will need to upload the following documents:

  • Current Resume
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Statement of Interest/Intent (Why are you interested in the program)


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Schedule & Registration


2021 Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership, Course ID: 0461-013
Class Date: October 11-15, 2021
Application Period: January 4, 2021 – September 10, 2021
Registration Begins:  March 8, 2021
Registration Ends: September 10, 2021 (or until class is full)
Location: Live Virtual Program via Zoom



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

For more information, email

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Information Sessions

REGISTER ONLINE for a free video conference information session scheduled for Friday, June 11, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm (ET). Join us for a live, interactive webinar on Zoom where key staff will discuss nonprofit executive education and answer questions about our 2021 program

Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership Information Session via Zoom
Friday, June 11, 2021, 12:00 -1:00 pm (ET)
Course ID: 0462-010
Cost: Free
Video conference details sent to registered participants 24 hours prior to the session

Email Nancy Love with questions about the Executive Certificate program.

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Technical Requirements

2021 Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership Program will be offered virtually as a series of live, interactive classes via Zoom.

In order to participate fully in your virtual class, you will need:

  • A computer 
  • Access to a reliable internet connection, in a quiet place without a lot of background noise
  • Web camera. Being able to see the faces of those participating/speaking creates more engagement and stronger connections with the instructor and other learners.
  • Microphone (charged or corded USB headset, earbuds with built-in mic, or mic on webcam) – Using a mic on a headset/earbuds will reduce the likelihood of echoes coming from your connection to our session
  • Telephone (optional, if not using computer for audio and as a backup in case of technical difficulty)
  • Your copy of the instructor’s handouts/PowerPoint slides (a hard copy will allow you to use your computer for your Webinar connection and participation, rather than to review an electronic copy of your handouts)
  • Note taking materials
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Tuition & Funding Sources



Duke Employee Discount

  • Employee fee is 10% off the fee of $4250 ($425 off)
    Duke employee pays fee of $3825 for program.

Discount must be requested and applied during the registration process.

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, and click the I’m ready to apply buttonThe following application should populate with the pertinent information for Duke Continuing Studies.

  • Under Loan Needs, select Student and then Undergraduate degree.
  • Select Career training school. 
  • Select North Carolina from the drop down menu.
  • Under name of school begin typing DUKE PROFESSIONAL, then select DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES, DURHAM, NC, 00292099 when it populates.
  • Click Continue.
  • Next, You've confirmed that you want a Smart Option Student Loan for DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES will appear.
  • Click Continue.
  • Fill out Basic Information.
  • Fill out Permanent Address section.
  • Fill out School Information.
    • DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES, DURHAM, NC, 00292099 should already have populated for the school.
    • Select Certificate for Degree/Certificate of Study.
    • Select your Specialty or select Other if it is not shown in the options.
    • Select Half Time for Enrollment Status.
    • Select Certificate/Continuing Ed for Grade Level.
    • Enter your Loan period begins and loan period end dates.
    • Enter your Anticipated Graduation / Completion.
    • Enter loan amount. NOTE: This may not exceed the cost of tuition.
    • Estimated financial assistance should be $0.00.
    • Under Loan request, click Use calculated need.
    • Do not check any box in typical school expenses.
  • Follow the remaining loan application prompts.

Wells Fargo Graduate Loan

Please note that Wells Fargo is no longer accepting new applications for their private student loans. However, students with an outstanding balance on a Wells Fargo private student loan may be eligible to be borrowers on a new private loan. See here for details.

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 $800 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, July 30, 2021. 

To submit a cancellation request:


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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