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Winning Strategies

Creating and Sustaining a Competitive Advantage

Nonprofit leaders – CEOs, top administrators, and Board chairs -- need a comprehensive perspective on the markets in which they operate. In this program, participants learn about the competition by constructing a MAP of the competitive landscape (donor and program/service side or even industry scope). Consequently, leaders may identify the strategic risks associated with achieving their mission, and appreciate the opportunities of working with and learning from their competitors. A Winning Strategy enables your organization to maximize effectiveness through much enhanced competitive positioning.

Strategy and sustainability are key to the success of any organization. They embrace ideas and concepts about how to be more competitive and to enhance your long-term impact. Nonprofit leaders should ask themselves:

  • What distinguishes your organization from others in the field?
  • How does your product or service position your organization in the field? What is the competitive advantage you enjoy that can be maintained over time?
  • How does the competition impact your strategy? When is collaboration a reasonable or desired option?
  • What are the communication strategies needed for getting the engagement and support needed to enact change?

Upcoming Sessions

  1. CEOs, Executive Directors, and Key Board Leaders
  2. Managers and Department Chairs
  3. Consultants and Nonprofit Advisors

During this course, you will learn to:

  1. Understand how well developed, smart strategic decisions can improve your sustainability
  2. Identify and build sustainable competitive advantage
  3. Identify and assess your organization’s competitors to determine potential opportunities, risks, and allies
  4. Design a leadership communication process that facilitates organizational changes
  5. Learn how to balance/rebalance for sustainability
Understanding Strategic Contexts
  1. Defining strategy and why/how organizations of various sizes need strategies
  2. Understand your organization’s objectives and economic environment
  3. Assess the organization’s assets, capabilities and constraints

Competitive Advantage and Its Implications

  1. Understand the sources of competitive advantage
  2. Determine your competitive advantage
  3. Apply tools to strategic/long-range planning
  4. Prepare a competitive assessment for your organization

Case Study: An Example

MidTown Educational Foundation 2015 shows how competitive market analysis supports integrates builds off strategic plan.

Communicating for Change

As leaders we are faced with constant pressure to improve, innovate, and adapt – in short, to lead change. Yet change efforts in organizations frequently fail.  While often we can identify the right strategy and craft a solid plan, we struggle to bring the organization along. In this session we’ll focus on the critical role leadership communication plays in the change process and identify communication strategies for getting the engagement and support needed to enact change. 


Participants utilize the frameworks provided to assess the competitive strategy of their own organization. Materials may be used to tee up further discussion with their team.

Michele Rogers - Academic Director; Clinical Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Executive Education and Director of Chicago Partnerships

Shana Carroll - Clinical Assistant Professor of Management Communication Senior Advisor, Office of the Dean

Donald Haider - Professor of Strategy Director of the Center for Nonprofit Management

Michael Mazzeo - Associate Professor of Strategy

Nonprofit Management Programs are held at Northwestern University's Chicago Campus.

Wieboldt Hall

Kellogg Conference Center
340 East Superior Street
Maps and Directions

Programs typically start promptly at 8:30 am and end by 5:00 pm each day. Once you have registered and paid for a program, you will receive a detailed schedule which includes daily start/end times, session titles, and faculty names.

Program Fees
All two and three-day programs cost $950.00 each. Up to 50% scholarships are available for all of our nonprofit executive education programs for those working in nonprofit organizations.

Application Deadline
The deadline for registration is 10:00 am one business day prior to the program start date.

Participants are responsible for booking their hotel accommodations during their stay in Chicago.
Download Recommended Hotel List

Cancellation Policy:
Participants must notify the Program Manager five business days in advance of the program start date if they are unable to attend.  Otherwise, participants will be charged 20% of the stated program fees.

When canceling a program registration, participants may choose to rollover their payment to a future program or receive a refund.  Participants are allowed three rollovers, after the third rollover, participants forfeit the money paid to the Center for Nonprofit Management.  

 *Refund or rollover must be requested at the time of the program cancellation.  Once a program payment has been rolled over, a monetary refund is no longer an option.  The participant must continue with the rollover process.

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