Certification Program in Nonprofit Resilience Management

Managing for Resilience: A New Approach to Nonprofit Management

The National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise’s “Managing for Resilience: A New Approach to Nonprofit Management” online instructional program is now available for digital, asynchronous access. “Managing for Resilience” was launched as a series of ten interactive workshop modules in fall 2021 through spring 2022.

A minimum of five recorded workshop modules, out of a total of ten possible video sessions, must be completed to be eligible for certification. Two of these five modules, modules 1 and 2, are required for certification, and three additional modules may be selected as electives. Participants may purchase access to individual course recordings and not pursue the certification. Participants seeking to receive certification for their participation, and to demonstrate mastery of the course materials, are required to complete a written exercise per each module completed in pursuit of certification. Successful completion of the written exercise must be verified and approved by NCNE to obtain credit toward certification.

Cost for participation is $100 per person for each module recording (no refunds). Sessions available for purchase are listed below. Each video session includes the complete, uncut original recording of the live workshop. Access to purchased video recordings will be sent to the email address provided during the transaction, within three business days after the purchase has been successfully processed and verified.

Participants who purchase video access to five or more modules in a single transaction are eligible for a 10% discount. Simply enter the coupon code 5ORMORE during check out to apply this discount. Dues-paying NCNE members are eligible for a 10% discount per module. Members: Contact us to receive your members-only discount code. Only one discount may be applied per registrant per transaction (discounts may not be combined). Click here for additional terms and conditions.

NCNE has partnered with the Jack, Joseph, and Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in the delivery of the resilience curriculum sessions.

Watch our one-minute video to learn more about the program.

NCNE Course Modules and Research Advisory Network Instructors

Module 1 (Required for certification)
Live session recorded on September 17, 2021

A Basic Understanding of Organizational Resilience

Dr. Elizabeth Searing, University of Texas at Dallas

Nonprofit leaders generally understand that they need resource “cushions” to cope with unexpected demands on, or shortfalls of, their resources. For example, they commonly try to put aside some reserve funds or hold back on committing expenses (such as maintenance or new hiring). However, the constellation of resilience strategies is much richer than what is normally practiced; moreover, nonprofits fall significantly short in following recommended practices such as maintaining sufficient financial reserves or developing networks. Thus, nonprofit leaders can benefit from a fuller understanding of the ways in which organizations can increase their resilience. Distinguished scholars have studied tools such as organizational slack and innovation, identifying their importance in addressing uncertainty and environmental pressures. This module lays the foundation for a robust portfolio of potential strategies for organizational resilience.

Module 2 (Required for certification)
Live session recorded on October 1, 2021

A Basic Understanding of Risk

Dr. William L. Waugh, Jr., Georgia State University

Nonprofit leaders must appreciate the different varieties of risk that they face, so that they can develop appropriate strategies to address each type of risk. These include “normal” statistical risks that are ongoing and relatively predictable from past experience, and can be addressed with well-known mechanisms such as insurance and diversification. But crises are often precipitated by events that are unfamiliar and unanticipated and require a different set of strategies associated with organizational resilience. Risks are also differentiated by their incidence over time. The management of risk requires understanding of how people respond to risk and how risks can be better framed and communicated in order to elicit greater support and adherence to risk management policies. Moreover, some level of risk taking is necessary to achieve desired benefits.

Module 3
Live session recorded on October 22, 2021

Assets and Liabilities Resilience Strategy

Dr. Roland J. Kushner, Muhlenberg College

This module will examine the balance sheets of nonprofits from the viewpoint of organizational resilience, including financial and non-financial assets and liabilities. Special attention will be given to the role of debt, liquidity, and restrictions on the use and sale of nonprofit financial and material assets as they affect the fragility and resilience of nonprofits in a crisis. The role of endowments, reserve funds, lines of credit, marketable assets, collateral and social capital will be considered. Emphasis on healthy nonprofit governance practices and external networks and relationships as they relate to financial health and organizational resilience will be highlighted.

Module 4
Live session recorded on November 5, 2021

Cost-related Resilience Strategy

Dr. Teresa Harrison, Drexel University

This module will delve deeply into the nature of costs and how they may be structured to accommodate risk and resilience in a crisis or to prevent a crisis from occurring. A basic distinction will be made between fixed costs, which do not vary with the level of output, and variable costs, which do. One set of resilience strategies consists of converting the former to the latter. For example, organizations can rent rather than buy their physical space and capital equipment and they can reduce their permanent staff in favor of contract workers. Also relevant is the concept of joint costs, i.e. costs shared by two or more program activities. The ability to shift the burden of joint costs among programs with different revenue possibilities, is another potential element of resilience strategy. In addition, understanding the relationship between variable costs and revenues is a key determinant of when an organization is better off shutting down versus maintaining operations in a crisis. Finally, the potential for an organization to exploit economies of scale and scope by developing contingency plans for organizational expansion and collaborating, merging or consolidating with other organizations.

Module 5
Live session recorded on November 12, 2021

Income-related Resilience Strategy

Dr. Dennis R. Young, Georgia State University and Case Western Reserve University

The structure of an organization’s revenue is also related to its resilience. Having fixed sources of revenues (that do not vary with output) such as investment income can protect against sudden losses of “variable revenue” that is contingent on producing output. Semi-variable revenues which are less vulnerable to reductions in output than ordinary sales revenue, such as memberships and subscriptions, can also be helpful. Having diverse sources of revenue can protect against the loss of any particular revenue stream. In the COVID-19 crisis, for example, earned revenue from fees and marketplace sales have been extraordinarily vulnerable, whereas in prior crises such as the financial collapse of 2008-2009, philanthropy and returns on endowment were especially hard hit. Except for “perfect storms” in which all sources of income are comparably affected simultaneously, diversification can serve as a protection in a crisis.

Module 6
Live session recorded on December 3, 2021

Technology-related Resilience Strategy

Dr. Kristina Jaskyte Bahr, University of Georgia

The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that various nonprofits can shift some of their services from physical to virtual delivery. This has held true for many schools and universities, museums, performing arts organizations, health care institutions, and numerous other organizations. These experiences demonstrate that nonprofits may enhance their resilience through their capacities to change, adapt, or supplement the technologies with which they address their missions. This module examines how nonprofit organizations can develop and manage technology-related resilience. It explores priority areas for developing technology-based resilience and emphasizes the importance of leadership and organizational culture for developing and maintaining this resilience. It offers a variety of ways that nonprofits can experiment and innovate with alternative technologies to achieve their mission and goals.

Module 7
Live session recorded on December 17, 2021

Human Resources-related Resilience Strategy

Dr. Rosemarie Emanuele, Ursuline College

Crises that cause organizations to reduce, increase, or otherwise change their services, often require adjustments to their workforces. Thus, a more flexible workforce can be an important element in a successful resilience strategy. For example, organizations forced to shut down operations may face painful choices associated with reductions in force and payroll contraction. Alternatives include furloughs, reduction of hours, termination of positions, combining of positions, and shared salary reductions. As well, the development of workers’ capacity to flexibly engage in multiple kinds of work, and the engagement of volunteers to supplement and substitute for paid workers, may be additional sources of resilience. This module will explore the differential consequences of such strategies, in terms of resiliency, economic benefits and costs, and fairness, in both the long and short term. Finally, mirror-image strategies will be considered for organizations required to expand quickly in a crisis, such as occurred for food banks and hospitals in the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, the module will also explore how workforce capacity can be expanded while retaining long term resilience.

Module 8
Live session recorded on January 7, 2022

Entrepreneurial Resilience Strategy

Dr. Charles Mel Gray, University of St. Thomas

Crises inevitably cause dislocations in the economy, which may create new opportunities as well as problems. In a crisis, organizations find new ways of doing things, which is the essence of entrepreneurship. For example, entrepreneurial leaders find alternative ways of delivering existing services, they find new services and markets within the framework of their existing missions, they find new ways of exploiting underutilized assets to produce new sources of net income, and they even find ways to stretch and adapt their missions. For example, in the COVID-19 crisis, churches and schools have opened their physical plants to sheltering the homeless and temporarily expanding hospital capacity, while JCCs have expanded their child day care programs to include instruction for students whose parents must work and cannot assist them with online learning at home. This module will explore how nonprofits can develop an entrepreneurial mindset, and how they can assess their competitive advantages in new markets and for new products and services, including investment in innovation, as a way of making their organizations more resilient. The module will also consider how nonprofits can guard against mission creep as they become more resilient.

Module 9
Live session recorded on January 21, 2022

Network-related Resilience Strategy

Dr. Rikki Abzug, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Most nonprofits are involved in multiple networks including industry and professional associations, federations, government funding networks and ad hoc task forces, committees and coalitions. These networks have the potential to serve as safety nets and sources of information and other kinds of help for nonprofits that are at risk of failure in a crisis. Thus, nonprofit leaders should understand the resilience value of joining various kinds of networks, as well as the merits of forming new networks and helping networks themselves develop resilience strategies to assist their members in a crisis. For example, options open to formal umbrella type associations may include educational programming, pooled emergency funding and insurance programs reserved for assisting members in a crisis. More generally, collaborations and consolidations may be explored as a way for nonprofits to increase their resilience.

Module 10
Live session recorded on February 4, 2022

Red Flags and Stress Tests

Dr. Robert L. Fischer, Case Western Reserve University

After the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the federal government subjected the largest banks to “stress tests” to ensure that they would not fail in the next crisis. Similarly, nonprofits could benefit from risk-related audits that would periodically assess their vulnerabilities in crisis situations. Such tests would scrutinize various dimensions of vulnerability including financial, technological, human resource, and network relationships. In addition, nonprofit managers need day to day information that would signal potential trouble and raise “red flags” before the onset of crises. Current performance assessment and monitoring systems in nonprofit management are not well tuned to crisis situations but they can be enhanced to include resilience measures. In this module, participants will learn about performance measurement principles and potential crisis vulnerabilities and asked to design dashboards and stress tests for their own organizations.

10% Discount for NCNE Members 

Dues-paying NCNE members may purchase access to course modules at a 10% discounted rate. Proof of membership affiliation is required at the time of registration. Dues-paying members will receive their 10% member discount coupon code by email (please contact us if you did not receive this code). Only one discount may be applied per registrant (discounts may not be combined). Non-members who apply the member discount code will have their orders canceled.

Click here for additional terms and conditions.

10% Discount for 5 or More Modules

Participants who purchase access to five or more video recordings in a single transaction are eligible for a 10% discount. Simply enter the coupon code 5ORMORE during check out to apply this discount. Only one discount may be applied per registrant (discounts may not be combined).

Click here for additional terms and conditions.