Nonprofit Strategy: Planning & Positioning for the Future

Planning to maximize mission and financial stability

Nonprofit leaders need to create a strategic roadmap to ensure that the activities they are undertaking are maximizing their resources to effect change in their communities. That roadmap starts with their theory of change and the important resources needed to reach their mission. As the world shifts to meet the challenges of COVID-19 and global circumstances, this program will provide nonprofit leaders with a deeper understanding of the strategy statements that will activate their theory of change and prioritize mission and money. Those strategies then need to be communicated to the wide variety of stakeholders invested in the organization’s success.

In a series of interactive and engaging sessions, Kellogg School of Management and Northwestern University faculty will share theories and frameworks that nonprofit leaders can apply to their individual situations. Participants will be asked to share their experiences in large and small groups and learn from each other as well as the case examples presented by the faculty. Designed for senior leaders and board members, this program will provide an opportunity for leaders to create a strong, forward-looking strategic orientation for their organization.

Center for Nonprofit Management

Build a durable strategy of change, mission and money.


Who Should Attend

  • Nonprofit CEOs, executive directors and senior nonprofit leaders looking to gain an understanding of their role in planning for their organizations’ futures
  • Nonprofit board members interested in setting strategic direction within their organization

Key Benefits

  • Understand how your organization creates value in a competitive world
  • Learn frameworks to support prioritizing your mission through all activities
  • Develop an analytical approach to your organization's strategy
  • Discover how to engage internal and external stakeholders through strategic communication

Program Content

Building (or Rebuilding) Your Theory of Change

  • Understand how your theory of change needs to evolve to meet changing internal and external challenges
  • Identify your roadmap from strategies to resources to impact
  • Explore potential evolution of your business model

Prioritizing Mission and Money

  • Empower professional leadership to balance the key aspects of nonprofit organizations – mission impact and financial stability
  • Utilize academic frameworks to analyze and prioritize strategic decisions to further the theory of change
  • Identify strategies to engage board members in essential conversations regarding organizational priorities

Strategic Planning

  • 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

Strategic Stakeholder Engagement and Communications

  • Identify, prioritize and effectively engage key organizational stakeholders
  • Empower strategic and frontline leaders to stay ahead in their highly competitive industry by developing a deliberate and compelling stakeholder engagement strategy
  • Recognize the power of stakeholder mapping
  • Lay out and prioritize the communication channels to maximize effectiveness for communicating to service markets and stakeholders
  • Deploy communications to ensure the organization is visible, accessible and accountable


Liz Livingston Howard - Academic Director; Clinical Professor of Management; Executive Director of Nonprofit Executive Education

Michelle Shumate - Academic Director; Associate Professor, Communication Studies; Associate Faculty, Institute for Policy Research; Director of Graduate Studies, Master’s in Communication Studies; Founding Director, Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact

Accommodations, Fees & Policies


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.

Hospitality during the Program

We strive to provide healthy meal choices for our participants for breakfast, lunch and breaks. We typically provide a range of choices, including some vegetarian-friendly and gluten-avoidant selections. We cannot meet all dietary preferences, but we will do our best to accommodate health restrictions, religious restrictions and food allergies.


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

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

2021 Session

June 8-9, 2021

Start: June 8 at 8:30 AM

End: June 9 at 5:00 PM

Chicago campus


Scholarships Available

Kellogg School of Management

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