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Welcome to a new ASU Lodestar Center Blog series, “Get to Know the Lodestar Center!” We’d like to provide our readers with a peek into what we do each day to accomplish our mission by introducing members of the faculty and staff via short interviews and conversations. Meet the folks who are here to help you and your nonprofit succeed!
Last time we introduced Anne, a new lecturer in the School of Community Resources & Development and coordinator of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance and the Certified Nonprofit Professional Credential.
The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) is a student association for undergraduates interested in nonprofit careers. The NLA program was originally founded as the American Humanics program at Arizona State University in 1980 with the support of the Phoenix Rotary Club 100 and local nonprofit organizations. They recognized the need for highly skilled leaders in the nonprofit sector. American Humanics officially changed its name to the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance in 2011. Through the dedication of students and the support of the community, ASU has evolved into the nation's leader among the more than 50 universities affiliated with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.
This week, Anne discusses the work ahead and her plans for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.
What are you most excited about for this upcoming school year?
I am excited about working with an amazing leadership team in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association (NLASA) and the ideas that they have started with, and then being able to further those ideas and see what the NLASA members would like to learn and explore further. The students I’ve met so far are very motivated, driven, and passionate about the work that they’ve done and the work that they want to do while they’re students, as well as furthering their career exploration. I am looking forward to developing greater community relationships by expanding the connections they have and bringing them together with connections I have so that the whole class will have an amazing experience together.
I am excited about manifesting the national competencies into what we do on a local level, and bringing those into our classroom space.
The students have put together a series of really interesting and engaging events for the semester, one of which is a retreat for all the students in the NLA program. This will be a chance for us to go off into the woods and dedicate time to further exploring our objectives for the year, as well as getting to know each other on an individual level in terms of personal goals. They’ll be working in committees to further promote the ways that the NLASA can get involved in the local ASU community and the greater Valley community.
I’m also looking forward to opportunities throughout the semester to bring in alumni from the program, both recent graduates as well as long-standing alumni, as testaments to the many ways to get engaged in the nonprofit field. We’ll host an alumni roundtable in the middle of the semester, as a further opportunity for the students to network with the alumni and hear the stories of the paths that they’ve taken.
The student organization is planning events throughout the semester to engage their peers and get to know different agencies throughout the city as well. One example is a longstanding partnership with the Arizona Ironman competition. Our students will be leading the environmental team, so they’ll have hands-on experience partnering with such a longstanding operation. This will also help as a fundraiser for some of their year-long goals, such as attending the Alliance Management Institute in January.
Tell us about the Alliance Management Institute!
As part of the national Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, our students have an opportunity to attend the Alliance Management Institute (AMI), which is a gathering of students, agencies, and alumni working all over the country to come together to brainstorm trends in the field, hear from professionals, organizations, and agencies -- some of them working nationally, such as Americorps -- and to help our students see a greater variety of ways in which their CNP certification could be applied to their future careers. This is also an opportunity for them to get to know students across the country who are interested in similar careers, and create national networks.
This year the AMI will be in Denver, and as part of our courseload the group of students who will be attending the conference will undergo an applied fundraising class to raise the money for them and their cohorts to be able to attend the conference. It’s interesting for a student association to have this applied fundraising experience, so not only are they learning the theory behind running an annual campaign, but they’re putting that theory into practice, learning skills, tactics, and everything that’s involved in it. I think that’s a unique experience for these students, and different from only classroom-based learning.
You can also donate to help send the students to Denver for this extraordinary learning opportunity! You will find the donation link on this page when fundraising begins.
What are your goals for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance at ASU?
I want them to gain the networks, technical skills, interpersonal and professional skills to be able to walk out of here knowing a little bit about everything, to allow them to be well-rounded and thoughtful future professionals.
I also would like to see this program in the Lodestar Center continue to build networks throughout the community, both to benefit our students and to build capacity for organizations throughout the Valley in a sustainable manner. While our students may change over the years, building these relationships between myself, ASU, the Lodestar Center, and these organizations will help to build a more solid network of people working to change the world. At the end of the day, it’s people that make relationships, and we’re encouraging our students, as well as everybody that’s working here, to go out there and make them. That’s how change is made.
I feel very fortunate to walk into 35 years of a long-standing solid foundation within this community, and I hope to bring my previous experiences, my outlook, passions and perspective to push our students to engage in thoughtful and innovative ways, and to push this program to new heights of achievement. This can come through new partnerships, new technologies, and new ways of thinking about the future of the sector as needs change. How do we address the work in ways that can create solutions? These are long-term goals, achieved through mutually-beneficial partnerships within the community, but we are training the next generation of solution-driven nonprofit professionals to be able to adapt to new needs, new technologies, and a changing world.
What do you mean when you talk about a changing world, and what do you see as the future of the program and the future of the nonprofit sector as a whole?
Different ways of communication, new ideas about fundraising, pushing to the next level, building on 35 years of tradition and bringing in new applications, more cross-discipline collaboration -- for example, with small businesses. Something that I’m excited about for this year is that we’re going to be working with a small marketing firm called MM Brand Agency to help our students in talking about the work that they’re doing through brand messaging. It will heighten that storytelling aspect and get us back to the core of why we’re doing what we do, why this work, and encourage them to think about what they want to build with the skills they are learning. What passions drive you and who will benefit because you are here?
Anything else you'd like to add?
I’m grateful to have such a solid foundation to start with, that is well-received in the community and on the national scale. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to be part of a national organization that creates these opportunities for networking with other institutions.
Also, I am grateful to have a large base of alumni of the NLA (and formerly American Humanics) program to help guide me in this transition and to guide our current students into the various opportunities that alumni have gone on to do. This reinforces the idea that we are all a part of something so much bigger than this one semester, or this one course, this one program. They’re entering into a large and expansive community and together we can make such a huge difference in the lives of so many people.