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The Art of Nonprofit Management

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ASU Continuing Education Spotlight Stories - May 15, 2013

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The Art of Nonprofit Management


Laura Fisher understands that nonprofit management is very different than the for-profit world.

“When you’re dealing with nonprofits, there are so many legal issues to be aware of to protect the organization and those you are serving,” says Fisher. “I worked for several nonprofit organizations before starting my own business dedicated to serving smaller nonprofits. And most recently, as the acting director of the National Concerns for Police Survivors, I continued to experience very unique situations specific to the nonprofit industry.”

These vary in scope, says Fisher.

“You need to ensure that your funding is going where it needs to go and you need to ensure that all of your legal paperwork is correct,” says Fisher. “All of the classes I have taken as part of the ASU Lodestar Center’s Nonprofit Management Institute certificate program have been instrumental in instructing me what to look for.”

The program Fisher refers to is an interactive and comprehensive curriculum, offered in a non-credit, non-graded format, designed to meet the professional needs of today’s nonprofit professional. Topics include human resources, volunteer management, philanthropy development, board governance and others. Those adults who enroll in this program all share an interest in seeking high-quality instruction and immediately usable management tools.  

“For example, when I took the human resources and legal class, I really gained an understanding and confidence of what can be handled internally,” says Fisher. “I can’t be the catchall for all HR and legal issues, but it gave me the basic knowledge and tools to know what I can accomplish on our own and when we need to pull in additional resources.”

Finding the perfect program in her own backyard

“I did a lot of research on programs and universities that offer nonprofit management degrees or continuing education programs,” says Fisher. “And I came to find out that the college in my own backyard is the only one that really offers anything substantive in terms of nonprofit management.”

Fisher has participated in four face-to-face courses as well as several online courses and webinars. She is on track to complete her certificate even with a cross-country move for a job opportunity in Missouri.

“What is so amazing is how the faculty and staff go above and beyond to help their students,” says Fisher. “Life doesn’t stop for your education and the staff at the ASU Lodestar Center have worked with me to ensure that I can still complete my certificate program. The personalization is incredible and something you won’t find at most places.”

Invaluable content

“At any nonprofit, you have board issues, you have membership issues, you have legal issues, you have staff and volunteer issues,” says Fisher. “And it is just invaluable to know what is right and needs to be done. I have more than made up what I’ve spent on the courses with the resources they have provided me. And not only that, the philosophy that the ASU Lodestar Center has about helping  their students is amazing. They will bend over backwards and do everything to assist you. It’s been an incredible experience.”

To learn more about nonprofit management opportunities at ASU, visit the Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation here.

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