By James D’Ambrosio

The unofficial end of summer has passed along with the Labor Day Weekend. It’s now on to the fall and a renewed focus on business. As hiring remains weak in most industries — nonprofit included — it makes sense to explore ways to expand the knowledge and skill set of current staff — and overall organizational capacity — through a modest investment in professional development and outsourced technical assistance.

A football analogy illuminates the topic. In the National Football League (NFL), head coaches often talk about putting athletes in position to make plays, as many contests are decided by just a few big plays at key moments. Coaches carefully examine the strengths and weaknesses of each player,  over all team talent, upcoming opponent, and then devise a game plan designed to maximize the strengths of each player, increasing chances for optimal performance and making game-changing plays. Why not take a similar approach in business?   

The following resources, specifically geared to nonprofits, can help staff and your agency as a whole expand their skills and streamline operations: 



The Support Center For Nonprofit Management

Located in midtown Manhattan, the Center provides a variety of cost-effective full- and half-day workshops in many areas of nonprofit management. Earlier this year I attended a workshop, “Writing Winning Grant Proposals,” providing a great deal of valuable information and insights from a highly experienced grant writer. They have an excellent line up of courses this fall. Review their offerings here:

Long Island University/C.W. Post: Certificate in Nonprofit Management

Located in Brookville in Nassau County, the college’s Office of Continuing Studies offers a program of six courses to complete the certificate. Classes meet 6-9 p.m., weekdays, for 5-6 weeks. Last year I completed my certificate here and was pleased with the quality of instruction. Review their fall course offerings here:  Additionally, Molloy College in Rockville Centre offers a similar program. Learn more here:   

The New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON)

 The New York Council of Nonprofits is an excellent resource for nonprofits in New York State. NYCON works to build the capacity of nonprofits and communities to enhance the quality of life, providing specialized technical assistance services, including legal and financial, in a staff-based, multidisciplinary team model. They also provide group purchasing, insurance and employee benefits for members, and offer regular workshops on a variety of nonprofit management and board issues. Learn more here:

For those outside the New York Metro area, research reveals many resources out there to develop staff and forward your organization. A Google search should turn up at least a few to consider. In a larger sense, the thrust of this column — and to a certain extent, this blog — is to think outside the box and be resourceful and creative in finding ways to keep your agency viable and competitive, especially during this difficult economic climate.


QUESTION TO READERS: Is there a particularly useful resource that has helped to develop your staff? Please comment here and let others know!

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