Nonprofit Management Academy Builds Community Capacity

March 2012

For more than 10 years, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has been partnering with organizations and communities throughout the state to provide comprehensive educational programs for the nonprofit sector.

“What we find in nonprofits a lot, is that people tend to come up through the ranks. They were trained as a social worker or have a degree in psychology, but they don’t always have training in the business aspects of the organization,” noted Jennifer Best, ISU Extension and Outreach educator.

The Nonprofit Management Academy is a series of workshops designed to enhance the management skills of those in leadership roles in the nonprofit sector. The academy offers a variety of topics such as leadership, financial management, marketing, succession planning and working with boards. Attendees have access to local, regional and national trainers, as well as an opportunity to network with other nonprofit employees.

“We’re working to raise the capacity of our communities’ non-profits to do their job better,” said Best.

In Linn County, ISU Extension and Outreach has found a natural partner in the Linn County Nonprofit Resource Center.

From finance, to marketing, to board development – attendees get access to really great trainers. The casual atmosphere allows for attendees to ask questions, interact, and share examples from their respective organizations

- Katie Giorgio, Linn County Nonprofit Resource Center

Amy March, participant in the 2011 Academy and director of services and supports with The ARC of East Central Iowa, couldn’t agree more.

“There’s so much more value beyond the content, obviously when I signed up for these courses it was the interest in the content area, but what you get from it is so much more,” said March. “It’s the relationships, as well as the knowledge that comes out of meeting with a group of individuals and the information that comes from the discussions that is so very valuable.”

The training positively impacts the community, as well.

“It’s important for people to know that non-profit employees are taking the time out of their schedules to get this type training, to better their skills,” said Giorgio.

The communities benefit when organizations know how to enhance the quality of services they provide, or implement the practices they have learned to be more fiscally responsible.

“Today’s communities…really need nonprofits,” said Best. “And we need nonprofits that work well and efficiently. The Nonprofit Management Academy is a way Extension can contribute, in a real tangible and practical way, to the social and economic capacity of the communities that it serves.”

For more information about the Nonprofit Management Academy in Region 10 contact:
Rachel Rockwell, Linn County Extension Director, 319-377-9839-4739, rrockwell@iastate.edu
Linda Fischer, Regional Extension Education Director, 319-377-9839, lefisch@iastate.edu