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Nonprofit University

Certificate of Nonprofit Program Management – Essentials and Advanced Tracks

Developing, managing and growing a nonprofit program requires proper planning and specific knowledge and skills. The combination of these variables creates a solid roadmap to community impact and long-term success. Program Management is an on-going systematic process that nonprofit professionals follow as they plan, implement and evaluate an initiative. The process is not limited to a specific subject matter nor is it confined to a set term or planning cycle. The process can be applied on a small scale to an individual workshop; on a larger scale to a comprehensive community initiative or global effort. The scope may be different but the principles of program management remain the same.


Program Management is offered in two tracks, based on role and experience level:

  • Essentials: program coordinators and managers with less than five years of experience in program management, and oversight of one program with one or two funding sources and a small team (typically fewer than five staff and volunteers)
  • Advanced: senior program managers, program directors, and VPs with oversight for a portfolio of programs or a large/complex program with multiple, diverse funding sources, and supervisory responsibility for a larger team


  • Program design and evaluation
  • People leadership and organizational culture
  • Community engagement
  • Customer service
  • Program/service delivery
  • Systems, processes, policies, and procedures
  • Collaborating with Finance/Accounting/Administration, budgeting and financial management
  • Collaborating with Development and Fundraising
  • Collaborating with Marketing and Communications


Redesigned and expanded in 2019, both five-part series cover essential domains for program management. They are offered concurrently and include three of the same courses, plus two audience-specific courses depending on your role and experience level.

PRO 210 | With or For?: Program Design and Community Engagement
Whether building a program from the scratch or running an existing one, understanding the core purpose and rationale for a program is essential for maintaining success and credibility year after year. This course covers the importance of understanding and (re-)assessing the community to be served, designing a program by defining what it intends to accomplish (intended impact), and establish evaluation procedures to measure these outcomes. Moreover, you will discuss nonprofits’ roles as good community members and partners, focusing programmatic design, implementation of resources, and evaluation on strengthening assets and adding value.

PRO 220 | Dollars and Sense: Program Budgeting and Tracking
This course will walk you through program budgets, examining typical internal/organization and external (usually funder/grantor) formats. You will look at the ways to align differences between these sometimes varying internal and external expectations in budget categories and timelines, and you will consider your successful relationship with your finance/administration team, supported through regular tracking and internal reporting.

PRO 230 | Everyday Leadership
Many programs have lean teams, often led by coordinators and managers who may have come out of or currently still involved in direct service delivery themselves, and could be supervising former or current peers. This course is designed for the tactical, coordinator/manager leadership level at nonprofits, whether supervising a small team or managing and implementing a project yourself.

PRO 235 | Departmental Culture and Leadership
As a senior-level program leader, you must unite a team across multiple factors, including different subject areas, funding requirements, client expectations, and sites. Clear understanding and buy-in around a shared culture go a long way in ensuring that people feel like they are parts of a cohesive whole while also honoring the unique aspects (assets and challenges) of each program/site. Your grants, budgets, and outcomes may or may not intersect, but your ability to work together can make or break your shared ability to achieve impact with your clients and the community.

PRO 240 | People First: Nonprofit Service Delivery
Regardless of your program’s focus area within the broader nonprofit sector, by legal definition your ultimate goal is public good. We serve people, and as such we hold ourselves to high standards. How well those standards are documented and disseminated, however, is often another matter. In this course you will address the above questions, considering how to keep the running of your program focused on (and, sometimes, out of the way of) serving your clients.

PRO 245 | Effective Program Operations
Program leadership at a senior level demands the design and maintenance of processes (the movement of information and resources) and systems (the physical and digital tools for storage and communication of those information and resources) to maximize the effectiveness of the people on your team. With well-designed operations, everyone on your team is clear on everything from the daily workings of their particular program to the overall strategies and goals of the organization. People know how their roles feed into meeting program objectives, how those fulfilled objectives roll up into goals and objectives for the department/unit and then into the strategies and mission of the organization.

PRO 250 | Raising Awareness, Driving Action: Communications, Development, and Programs
Two essential, but often overlooked, relationships for successful programs are with internal audiences: marketing/communications and fundraising/development. Both partnerships depend on reciprocal understanding and appreciation of processes, systems, and reasons for information collection, storage, tracking, and dissemination. Programs provide the raw materials for social-media posts, newsletters articles, blog and website content, and grant applications and reports. Rather than a last-moment scramble to assemble the data and stories that bring programs to life on the page, these three internal teams must establish regular methods for sharing current, meaningful information between each other.


  • Starting April 4, 2019
  • Starting October 31, 2019


9:00 am - 3:00 pm


Georgia Center for Nonprofits
100 Peachtree Street NW
Suite 1500
Atlanta, GA 30303
Get directions

Registration Details

Member: $599
Nonmember: $799

Questions? Contact us at [email protected] or 678-916-3081.

Essentials - Starting April 4, 2019
PRO 210 - 4.4.19
PRO 220 - 4.18.19
PRO 230 - 5.2.19
PRO 240 - 5.16.19
PRO 250 - 5.30.19

Advanced - Coming soon

Essentials - Starting October 31, 201

PRO 210 - 10.31.19
PRO 220 - 11.13.19
PRO 230 - 11.21.19
PRO 240 - 12.12.19
PRO 250 - 12.19.19


Thanks to the generous support of The Wells Fargo Foundation, GCN offers a limited number of partial scholarships for staff and board members of eligible organizations to attend Nonprofit University. Learn more