Let’s say you’re the CEO of a large nonprofit, and fundraising has stalled. There is a new training resource Northern Colorado and Denver professionals are turning to with help from Colorado State University.
Directors and managers can expand their skills in professional development classes taught by CSU’s renowned College of Business professors and other experts in a downtown Denver classroom. The courses are part of the Certificate in Not-For-Profit Leadership program offered by CSU’s Center for Professional Development and Business Research.
Overseeing the complex spectrum of departments and roles within a nonprofit requires lots of tools in your leadership toolbox, says Felicia Zamora, assistant director of the Center for Professional Development and Business Research in the College of Business.
“Nonprofit leaders must build capacities that form the scaffolding for the entire organization in order to create a foundation to implement procedures for recruiting funds,” Zamora explains. The center’s specific curriculum is designed to improve a professional’s capacity in areas such as legal compliance, strategic planning, volunteer reliance, culture advancement, branding, and resource development.
Jim Francis, director, Professional Development Program
The two-year-old center provides expertise in research, consulting, training, and development services to private- and public-sector organizations in Northern Colorado. The Professional and Executive Development Program offers five to six certificates yearly in leadership, entrepreneurship, and core business competencies with no commitment to a degree program.
Professors partner with outside experts, such as The AthenA Group LLC and Third Sector Enterprises Inc., to provide in-depth, comprehensive programming.
“We have very qualified facilitators drawn from faculty and practitioners in industry and not-for-profit organizations,” says G. James Francis, center director and CSU professor. “The topics and content of the sessions are also fairly unique. One program offers coaching to participants to expand upon their knowledge and their abilities to apply it.”
Popular former Rams football coach Sonny Lubick speaks frequently to organizational leadership participants in his role as director of community outreach in the College. The center utilizes Lubick in such programs as the Certificate in Strategic Organizational Leadership because his stories and experiences transcend the athletic realm and are an inspiration to all motivators and leaders, Zamora says. “What better way to help advance leadership skills than by inviting speakers like Sonny to share knowledge of the multiple dimensions of leadership and success?”
The short time commitment and opportunity for networking is attractive to busy professionals. Certificate programs range from three to seven class sessions, and enrollment is a maximum of 20 people. More than 70 open enrollment short courses are also available with the opportunity to earn professional development or professional development credits. Classes are held at the CSU Alumni Center in Denver.
Local companies OtterBox, Advanced Energy, and Woodward have a number of CPDBR graduates. Businesses that enroll three or more students are eligible for a discount, and alumni receive a 10 percent break on most programs. Francis emphasizes that the center continues building on its brand to do more in-house customized programs and boot camps that tailor to an organization’s current goals and needs.
For more information on professional development courses, customized programs, or boot camp options, go to biz.colostate.edu/PDBR.
The center’s online certificate programs, open to anyone, have attracted an average of 225 undergraduate students each semester. Some of them will become repeat customers as young professionals.
“CSU students like the idea that they can continue their education with their alma mater,” Francis says. “As more people become aware of what we do, they are genuinely excited about the chance to maintain contact with the College of Business and CSU.”