How to Develop Yourself as a Non-Profit Leader | YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

How to Develop Yourself as a Non-Profit Leader

June 28th, 2016 by Rob Armstrong

Professional development in the non-profit sector is a vital tool for strengthening organizational effectiveness in the face of continuous change. In most cases, community needs are many, resources are few and both funding and policy parameters are continuously in flux. Leaders who intentionally focus on becoming good managers and who align their approach with their evolving roles position themselves for success.

Non-profits face increased demands for service, expectations to partner and pressure to improve efficiency and demonstrate outcomes. Many people who are working within the ranks of nonprofit organizations could become great senior nonprofit leaders. However, in part because of budget constraints, few organizations in the sector have formal professional development programs to prepare mid-level managers for senior roles.

A recent ProInspire survey of nonprofit managers revealed that, despite demand for professional development programs, such offerings are scarce and access is limited in the sector. Nine out of ten nonprofit managers indicated interest in leadership or managerial training, and believe that it will make them more effective in their roles, yet only half of them have received such training since assuming a role managing direct reports. What’s more, only 39 percent of respondents said their organizations pay for leadership or managerial training.

YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka’s Not-For-Profit Professional Development Certificate Program

That’s why the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, in partnership with Lakehead University have made it a priority to offer new leadership training opportunities to the community leaders of Simcoe County. While business and community leaders may have access to skills-based leadership training, the YMCA’s Not-For-Profit Professional Development Certificate program focuses on the leadership capacity of the individual. The program explores what it takes to be an effective leader using academically sound and research supported content. The YMCA/Lakehead program provides quality, cost-effective training that is distinctly suited to the needs of our leaders in the area.

Since the launch of the partnership in 2014, the Professional Development Certificate Program has certainly made an impact in the not-for profit world – “Participating in Level 1 of the program really helped me reframe my personality traits in a positive light and helped me understand my leadership qualities,” said Nathan Sykes, Coalition Member, Youth Haven. “The speakers offered a great deal of insight into many pertinent issues, such as employer and donor relations, time management, group development, conflict resolution, mission based prioritization and many other topics. I would recommend the course to anyone.”

Over 70 participants have completed Level 1 of the program from such organizations as – Children’s Treatment Network, Canadian Red Cross, Barrie Public Library, County of Simcoe, Breaking Down Barriers, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Ontario Provincial Police and more.

Level 2 of the certificate program is being offered from November 23-26, 2016 and will focus on emotional intelligence & leadership, resiliency, change management, volunteer management, conflict resolution, and the art of persuasion. Level 3 is being offered from March 29-31, 2017 and will focus on collaboration, succession planning, governance, philanthropic leadership, and cultural diversity. The faculty and panelists combine academic rigor with real world experience and infuse the curriculum with fresh perspectives. Level 2 faculty include:

  • Kathi Wallace, Director of Education, Simcoe County District School Board
  • Jill Tettman CEO, North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN
  • Dale Biddell, CEO, United Way

Let’s keep the conversation going about nonprofit professional development, and raise the standard of offering for our sector. After all, nothing catalyzes change like focus.

For more information about the YMCA Professional Development Certificate Program, please visit http://ymcaofsimcoemuskoka.ca/not-for-profit-leadership-institute/.

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