young leaders

Evolution of Today’s Nonprofit Professional

posted by
Lyn McDonough,

Program Coordinator Sr.,
Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
ASU Lodestar Center

Whether you were born into it, fell into it or discovered it along your life’s journey, today’s nonprofit professionals follow an evolutionary path much like that of our species.  Crawling, walking, running and potentially walking on water.  The exact time and place of those changes are never easy to spot, do not take a linear path or they can happen right before your eyes.  The Arizona State University’s Certified Nonprofit Professional credential through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (formerly American Humanics) is responsible for students who graduate, not crawling but running to their internships and first professional positions in local and national organizations.


Since 1980, the ASU program has provided both academic courses and hands-on experiences for those who aspire to careers in the nonprofit sector.  Graduates spend five semesters learning, growing and practicing alongside faculty, alumni, staff, nonprofit leaders and community partners, enabling them to become more confident and stand a bit taller before they enter the profession.

One of the most significant advances occurs during the Annual Alliance Management / Leadership Institute Campaign, affectionately known as AMI.  If studies are correct and people fear snakes, public speaking and asking for money more than anything else, this campaign has all but the snakes!  Students build off the work of alumni going back to the 1980’s raiseing funds to attend the national conference in January each year.  Depending on the number of students and the location of the city selected, students have raised as little as $12,000 or as much as $40,000 in three months time.  Some small nonprofits would feel grateful to accomplish this in such a short time.