As the community needs served by nonprofit organizations become more complex, it is critical now more than ever that social-impact leaders have the leadership skills needed to effectively carry forth their organizations’ missions. There has been much debate on what constitutes effective nonprofit leadership development and training. Is it better to focus on more vocational trainings (such as a workshop on grant proposal writing)? Do we really need specialized nonprofit management and leadership training or is corporate leadership training sufficient?

Recent independent research completed by LinkedIn definitively answered these questions. We now know that our missions are better served when we take a broader approach, exposing staff to a wide range of leadership and management topics. LinkedIn’s analysis shows that those who earned the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential were seven times more likely to rise to leadership than those in the control group (nonprofit professionals with similar education status and career paths, but without the CNP distinction). 

By exposing students to a wide range of management and leadership topics, the Certified Nonprofit Professional program gives emerging leaders the ability to participate fully in management-level discussions and think strategically about critical decisions. The result is an army of change agents able to make sound financial decisions, attract funding from a wide range of sources, effectively engage a diverse community of stakeholders, and effectively deploy the right resources to yield the best results. 

Sonila Artani, CNP, Member and Volunteer Engagement Director at the YMCA of Greater Seattle, says the following about the program, “I had the opportunity to learn about all aspects of nonprofit management and leadership. The program gave me the confidence to speak up in meetings and to ask great questions. I am a director at the age of 25. That wouldn’t be possible without the CNP.”

Research shows that a general management credential is the right approach for long-term career success in the nonprofit sector. 

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