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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Strategic Leadership for Nonprofit Organizations

Strategic Leadership for
Nonprofit Organizations


Honing Your Skills as a Successful Nonprofit Leader

Nonprofit leaders are faced with the responsibility and challenge of furthering the goals and mission of their institution during a time of economic volatility, a competitive philanthropic marketplace, and increased accountability demanded from governing boards, donors, charity rating services and the IRS. This executive certificate programs offers you the critical ability to hone management skills needed to lead your organization to long-term success.

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September 12-13, 2023
Hawks Hall, 730 N. 14th Street, Lincoln, NE 68588
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Cost assistance opportunities are available. Email for more information.

Key Benefits

Successful nonprofits use long- and short-term planning for optimal use of resources. Nebraska’s Nonprofit Management Institute offers nonprofit leaders the skills to engage in successful planning and build financial resources through fundraising, marketing and communication, financial management, and effective board management.

Why the Center for Executive and Professional Development Program?

UNL faculty/nationally recognized facilitators and guest speakers to share cutting-edge practices that you can immediately implement in your organization


Networking opportunities with other non-profit professionals


Interactive and immersive learning experience


State-of-the-art facilities in the new HLH conveniently located on the UNL campus

Who Should Attend?

Nonprofit executives responsible for fundraising, marketing and communications, human resources and volunteer management, and operations.

Nonprofit leaders (executive directors), board members, and community leaders.

Program Content and Objectives

Whether in the corporate or the nonprofit world, the best organizational leaders are intentional about strategic leadership—meaning, among other things, making strategic decisions, engaging with external stakeholders, managing human resources and information, overseeing operations and administration, and managing change.

This program begins by discussing management principles generally used in successful nonprofits. From this foundation, we then examine what a good working relationship between a nonprofit’s management and its governing board should look like. That relationship is essential to the organization’s ability to develop a visionary plan for the future.

That plan is defined through the process known as strategic planning. The program will take a deep dive into this process, including an investigation of the sequence in which the plan’s goals should be realized in order for a nonprofit to achieve its stated strategic vision.

The right workforce—including paid staff, independent contractors, and volunteers—is key to realizing that vision; hence, we will also examine how to match the right person to the right job.

Because long-term financial planning, the capital budget, and resource development are also essential to achieving an organization’s strategic vision, the program will additionally address how to ensure congruence between a nonprofit’s strategic plan and its financial and resource planning.

Finally and critically, the program aims to address participants’ real-world challenges. During the lab portion of the program, participants are thus encouraged to bring questions, challenges, and other experiences they have faced in the nonprofit world to share with program facilitators and colleagues.

Program Schedule
Day 1 | September 12, 2023
8:30 - 9 a.m. Introduction to the program. This will include participant introductions.
9 - 10:30 a.m. Management and the Nonprofit Organization
Guest Presenter — Vincent Pettinelli, Author of Getting It Done Right: Pragmatic Wisdom for Human Service Managers
10:30 - 10:45 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. - 12 p.m. Working with the Governing Board
12 - 1 p.m. Lunch
1 - 2:30 p.m. Developing the Strategic Plan
2:30 - 2:45 p.m. Break with Refreshments
2:45 - 4:15 p.m. Developing the Strategic Plan, Continued
4:15 - 4:45 p.m. Applied Learning from the Day’s Activities
4:45 - 5 p.m. Wrap-up
Day 2 | September 13, 2023
8:30 - 8:45 a.m. Introduction to Day 2
8:45 - 10:15 a.m. Workforce Development
10:15 - 10:30 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Long-term Financial Planning
12 - 1 p.m. Lunch
1 - 2:30 p.m. Resource Development – Capital Campaign
2:30 - 2:45 p.m. Break with Refreshments
2:45 - 4:15 p.m. Nonprofit Management Lab: Participants are encouraged to bring questions and experiences to share with program facilitators and colleagues.
4:15 - 5 p.m. Applied Learning and Session Wrap-up

Akriti Agrawal
Bela Barner, MBA
Franz Cartwright, MSc
Jim Croft, Ph.D.
Vincent Pettinelli
Ashley Ramchandani, MPP
Katy Scrogin, Ph.D.
Patti Tuomey, EdD

View Speaker Bios

Jim Croft
Jim Croft, Ph.D.

Jim Croft is a principal with JW Croft Consulting Group (JWCCG) in Chicago. JWCCG brings leadership and financial management experience to the nonprofit community and is positioned to help organizations meet strategic objectives and achieve their mission.

In addition to his work at JWCCG, Croft is a member of the MBA faculty at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he teaches nonprofit management, nonprofit financial management and fundraising. He also teaches nonprofit financial management at the Kellogg School of Management Center for Nonprofit Management at Northwestern University.

From 1984 to 2015, he served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for the Field Museum in Chicago. In addition to leading the institution’s financial operations, he was responsible for facilities management and several other operating units. For several years he served concurrently as the museum’s chief development officer, managing the annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, and corporate and foundation giving programs. He was also responsible for a major capital campaign that successfully concluded in 2008.

Croft also held several positions in The Salvation Army where he served as a community center executive director, finance officer and chief business officer. He has also served on several nonprofit governing boards.

In 2016, he received a four-year appointment to the Financial Accounting Standards Board's (FASB) Nonprofit Advisory Committee (NAC). NAC members serve as advisors to FASB staff as they consider accounting standards that are used by U.S. nonprofit organizations.

He received a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where his doctoral work was in higher education leadership with research focused on nonprofit financial management. He also studied business administration and management at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Roosevelt University and National Louis University.

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Bela Barner
Bela Barner, MBA

Bela Barner has helped lead executive teams through complex, high stakes decisions for more than 15 years. Much of his work has been in higher education, where he assisted universities in decisions to relocate campus facilities to more favorable markets, create new branding, marketing and enrollment strategies, develop new academic offerings and prioritize budgets.

In addition to his experience in strategic planning in higher education, Barner has held a variety of consulting roles with professional services firms. He developed a broad tool kit of quantitative methods to support collaborative decision-making in data-challenged environments. This expertise includes capital budgeting and project portfolio optimization, business planning and modeling, market research and opportunity assessment, and financial literacy for non-financial executives.

Barner is also the founder and president of a 501(c)(3) organization. He is a member of the Society of Decision Professionals and holds a certification as a financial modeling and valuation expert. Barner earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business. He also holds a BA in Economics and French from Northwestern University.

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Katy Scrogin
Katy Scrogin, Ph.D.

Katy Scrogin is a nonprofit practitioner and educator dedicated to the importance of financial literacy. Having taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, she also conducts prospect research and works with development teams to craft fundraising appeals and communications.

Before moving into independent consulting, Dr. Scrogin served as the vice president for programming at the Chicago Sunday Evening Club (CSEC). In addition to producing and contributing to daily and weekly podcasts at CSEC, she planned, constructed and monitored the organization’s operating budget, and also prepared financial reports for management and the board of directors.

Dr. Scrogin holds a Ph.D. in religion from Claremont Graduate University, a master of theological studies from Vanderbilt University, and a BA in German and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin. She also serves as a writer, editor and translator, and holds an editing certificate from the Graham School at the University of Chicago.

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Patti Tuomey
Patti Tuomey, EdD

Dr. Patti Tuomey currently serves as both advisor to and past president and CEO of Josephinum Academy of the Sacred Heart in Chicago. Prior to joining Josephinum Academy, she served as president and CEO of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

With more than 25 years of management experience in nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, she is skilled in strategic planning, program management, financial planning, marketing, and fundraising. She has held leadership positions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the Field Museum. She has also spent several years teaching management and marketing courses at both the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University.

Dr. Tuomey is a graduate of Marquette University, where she received a BA in political science and education. She also holds an MA in arts administration from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an EdD in higher education administration and organizational change from Benedictine University.

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Guest Speakers

Guest speakers will be announce soon


Center for Executive and Professional Development
HLH 201