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.

This program is offered in a live virtual format. Our live virtual programs are built to deliver a rich experience that’s comparable to our in-person programs. You will have the opportunity to engage with our faculty and your peers in live discussions and lecture sessions. You will come away with the tools to navigate and succeed in the new business landscape.

Center for Nonprofit Management

VIDEO: Learn more from Center Director Jennifer Paul

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 Change Management

  • Understand why most change programs fail and how to overcome corporate inertia
  • Diagnose your current organizational context and focus on the key levers that will drive your success
  • Craft an individual plan that will enable you to be an effective agent of change

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

Ernest Duplessis - Industry Lecturer, Integrated Marketing Communications, Northwestern Medill (retired); Founder/Pastor, S.T.U.D.Y.S. Ministries; Former – SVP, Communications and Government Affairs, Mondelèz International; VP, Corporate Communications, Kraft Foods; Public Affairs Officer, US Navy

Richard Jolly - Clinical Associate Professor of Management & Organizations

Accommodations, Fees & Policies


This program is delivered in a live virtual format via the Zoom platform. Please visit our live virtual programs page for more information.

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 scholarship requests are reviewed by our registrar and any scholarships granted will be charged to your credit card.


  • If you request a scholarship, your credit card is submitted upon registration and will be charged once your request is approved (allow 1-2 business days for review).
  • If you do not request a scholarship, your credit card will be charged upon application submission.

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 two rollovers, after the second 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.

Approved By CFRE


Full participation in this Kellogg Nonprofit Executive Education program entitles you to 12 points in Category 1.B—Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.

Note: Participants who wish to apply for continuing education points on their CFRE application for initial certification and/or recertification will be able to access a tracking form on the course site, once they register for the program.

Learn More

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

Kellogg School of Management

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