Building Organizational and Operational Effectiveness: Strengthening Your Nonprofit

Strategies for Nonprofit Operations

Nonprofit executives have to balance several priorities to keep their organizations operating smoothly. They must consider organizational processes, key performance metrics, bottlenecks, organizational frameworks and process improvement; all while running their organization. As a result, they lack the opportunity to check in with themselves and evaluate their management styles and its effect on the organization.

This program will give you the opportunity to explore and evaluate the existing management and operational practices at your organization. Experiential group work will facilitate re-assessment of current procedures and offer new strategies to tackle organizational needs.

Center for Nonprofit Management

Build an organizational structure


Who Should Attend

  • Nonprofit managers who oversee their organizations’ daily operations
  • Senior nonprofit leaders in the role of supervising operations staff
  • Cross-functional leaders poised for a nonprofit COO or similar role
  • Public sector and government leaders who are responsible for overseeing the operations function
  • Career switchers or for-profit leaders who intend on joining a nonprofit team or Board

Key Benefits

  • Discuss the operational process cycles of your organization
  • Refresh organizational management concepts
  • Learn to identify and map strategic organizational structures

Program Content

Operations Management & Strategy: Strategy, Execution and Operations Improvement

  • The Process View and Value Creation
    • Learn to think about the entire organization as a system and the various subunits which create and deliver value to the stakeholders
  • Key Performance Metrics in Operations
    • Engage interactively, via a group activity, to understand the concept of performance metrics for your daily operational activities
  • Process Analysis and Bottlenecks
    • Bottlenecks limit the total capacity of the organizational and operational processes. Learn how to analyze and identify bottleneck within your processes when planning capacity expansions
  • Process Improvement
    • Organize and improve processes to deliver the services needed and when they are needed with minimal disruption and waste
  • Learn through a case study, extensive group work and an experiential learning exercise

Strategy and Organizational Design

  • Define strategy and gain experience writing efficient and effective strategy statements that will guide decision making at each level of your nonprofit organization
  • Understand how to use formal and informal organizational structure to address the two fundamental problems facing all organizations — coordination and control — and enable your nonprofit organization to best achieve its strategic goals
  • Learn to build teams and workgroups that foster individual engagement and accountability as well as interpersonal trust and learning
  • Participate in an opportunity to discuss the content through in-class discussions

Lean Operations and Managing Variability and Services

  • Discuss further lean operations concepts and how those apply to your organization
  • Tie the learned concepts in understanding how to manage and reduce variability in organizational processes through an experiential exercise such as the Dice Game
  • Discuss managerial actions which mitigate the wait time for services, that is, reduce queuing’s negative impact on operational performance


Naini Serohi - Academic Director; Program Administrator Senior, Center for Nonprofit Management, Kellogg School of Management

Edward (Ned) Smith - Associate Professor of Management and Organizations, Kellogg School of Management; Associate Professor (by courtesy) of Sociology at Northwestern University; Faculty Affiliate, Northwestern Institute for Complexity (NICO)

Fees & Accommodations


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

Wieboldt Hall
340 East Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago Campus Parking Map - Please Note: the Huron Superior Parking A lot and the Erie Ontario Parking C & D lots are available to the public and should be used when attending programs at Wieboldt Hall.

Application Deadline

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

Scholarship Assistance

Up to 50% scholarships are available for all of our nonprofit executive education programs for those working in nonprofit organizations. All applications are initially submitted at the full list price. Each is reviewed by our registrar and any scholarships granted will be reflected in the amount applied to your invoice or charged to your credit card.


Participants are responsible for booking their hotel accommodations during their stay in Chicago.

Download Nearby Hotels 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.

Learn More

Learn More

Please email or call us if you would like additional information about Nonprofit Programs

Upcoming Sessions

November 5-6, 2018

Start: November 5 at 8:30 AM

End: November 6 at 5:00 PM

LOCATION: Chicago campus


Scholarships Available

November 18-19, 2019

Start: November 18 at 8:30 AM

End: November 19 at 5:00 PM

LOCATION: Chicago campus


Scholarships Available

Kellogg School of Management

James L. Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208