Nonprofit Leadership Alliance: Building Future Nonprofit Leaders through Collaboration [#BetterTogether]

TechBridge Blog   Angie Wynne   March 29, 2017   

NLABetterTogether.pngWe spoke with Academic Services Executive Katie Riordan and Crystal Henry, Communications and Marketing Executive at the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. Katie and Crystal gave us the scoop on how the Alliance helps prepare students to succeed in the nonprofit sector and filled us in on how things have been going since we helped them install a new Salesforce system.

Founded by H. Roe Bartle nearly 70 years ago, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance grew out of a concern that there were not enough qualified, prepared people for nonprofit work. To address this concern, the Alliance created a national nonprofit leadership program to teach students how nonprofits work and to prepare them for the challenges they'll face working for one.  At the end of the program, participants receive the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential (CNP). The Alliance, made up of more than 50 top colleges, universities, and national nonprofits, awards the CNP credential to over 500 students each year. They also help connect recipients to jobs in the nonprofit sector.

staff photo.jpgThe CNP credential has proven to be a valuable asset. A 2014 joint study between LinkedIn and the Alliance on launching a nonprofit career found a "strong correlation between earning the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance's Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential and reaching a high level of leadership." The right training can also help workers manage the stress of working for a nonprofit and avoid burnout. The study also found that CNPs remain in the nonprofit sector 50% longer than non-CNPs.

Each year CNP students gather at the Alliance Management Institute (AMI) conference, which is packed with educational workshops, networking opportunities and career development activities for the 500+ students preparing for a career in the nonprofit sector. Katie and Crystal say that seeing all the students in one place is a fantastic yearly reminder about why they do what they do. 

TechBridge employee Beth Ramirez earned her CNP at the Alliance's Institute in 2017. She says, “I am so grateful for the environment of innovation and growth that the Alliance has offered me throughout my MBA career at Georgia State University. The Alliance Management Institute brought all of my academic work full circle, exposing me to new ways of solving social problems and offering me an opportunity to discuss them with my peers and fellow nonprofit professionals.”

TechBridge first met the folks from the Alliance at NTEN's Nonprofit Technology Conference and learned about the trouble they were having with their current data management system. Their old system didn't give them enough control over their data, and, since they couldn't administer it themselves, the system was costing them money they didn't need to spend. The Alliance was looking for someone to help them rebuild it and liked that TechBridge is a nonprofit that understands the challenges that nonprofits face. 

TechBridge helped the Alliance upgrade their Salesforce system, starting from scratch, so that they could more efficiently and effectively track donations and track their students' progress in the program. The Alliance says they liked how TechBridge was able to meet with them one on one to identify their unique needs. They also liked how TechBridge was conscientious about recommending additional resources and helping the Alliance find discounts for various applications. We were able to teach them how to manage their new system in-house, making the new system more cost-effective, as well. 

TechBridge consultant Sean Williams served as the lead Salesforce Architect and Technical Project Manager. “Our Strategy Group did a great job laying the foundation for the project by conducting client interviews and defining a new process to eliminate inefficiencies and enable the Alliance to meet their ambitious goals for growth. From there, our technical team used agile methodologies to iteratively develop a custom Salesforce Communities Solution tailored to the needs of the students and campus directors using the system,” said Williams. “Katie and the team were passionate, engaged, and a joy to work with throughout the project.”

Whether we're talking about nonprofit careers or data management systems, it's true that with the right people and the right training, you get better results. The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance and TechBridge are both nonprofits whose purpose is to help fellow nonprofits serve their communities more effectively. For both of us it's abundantly clear that through collaboration we can solve problems we can't solve alone. Katie and Crystal remind us that organizations in the nonprofit ecosystem are not in competition. It's so important and necessary, they say, to realize that everybody has something that can help someone else. We're #BetterTogether.

About TechBridge’s #BetterTogether Campaign

TechBridge is proud to have assisted so many organizations on the front lines of social change in our communities—alleviating homelessness, fighting poverty, helping kids do better in school, making sure seniors get proper meals, and so much more. 

 We created the #BetterTogether campaign so that we can showcase some of the important efforts of the nonprofits and people we’ve worked with. And because social change is a community effort, we also wanted to showcase the generous sponsors, amazing technology partners and tireless volunteers and TechBridge staff who enable us to do the work that we do. 

We feel that these stories exemplify the transformational work that can happen when organizations and individuals work hard—together—towards a common goal. We hope that hearing these stories is as inspirational to you as it is to us. 

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