Civic Space Park and the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus
Professional development

Nonprofit Management Institute

Best Skills Best Churches

Faith communities face many of the same challenges as secular nonprofits, from fundraising and marketing to volunteer and financial management. To create Best Skills Best Churches, we adapted our renowned nonprofit training for denominations and faith traditions across the country, empowering their leaders with the skills and tools they need to effectively guide their communities.

Since 2015, Best Skills Best Churches has filled an educational niche for both clergy and lay leaders of any faith tradition. This program, offered through the ASU Lodestar Center's Nonprofit Management Institute, is specially designed to meet the needs of communities of faith. Best Skills Best Churches' six courses provide you with an unparalleled opportunity to develop and enhance your leadership and management skills in order to best serve your faith community.

Best Skills Best Churches graduates

How Best Skills Best Churches helps faith leaders manage their communities

Since 2015, Best Skills Best Churches has supported both clergy and lay leaders from a variety of faith traditions. Hear from the Rt. Rev. Megan Traquair, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, about the program's impact on her congregation.

Read the story


Volunteers in Service

Managing our most valuable assets: Volunteers in service.   People, whether they are employees or volunteers, are the life-force of any nonprofit organization.  This training session will provide tools for developing job descriptions, recruiting/hiring, orienting, training, and evaluating and coaching the performance of employees and volunteers.  Special emphasis will be placed on communication, motivation and recognizing volunteer and employee efforts including appreciation and celebration.

Legal Aspects of Governance

Participants will learn about the legal aspects of nonprofit governance. The role of the vestry will be discussed as high-quality leaders in the parish and their role in leading the church into the future.  An understanding and appreciation of the roles of board members will be discussed. The role of strategic planning in governance will also be discussed.

Effective Communication and Handling Conflict

This course will provide participants with a foundation for dealing with the types of internal and external communications needed to effectively manage staff, volunteers, and congregants.

Participants will explore various ways to address conflictual issues from governance to financial stability, and best practices in managing parish ministries programing.

Marketing and Community Presence

What is the public face of your faith-based organization in the larger community? What role does marketing play? How can you better use new technologies and relevant language to reach members and prospective members? How do you become known in your community?  How do you develop your brand?  This course will explore marketing concepts that offer an inviting message to the community and appeal to the non-attending people.  It will provide practical insights on using tools such as websites, blogs, Facebook, etc., to create a message that will resonate with and welcome people outside of your current membership.

Financial Management for Effective Service

How do you ensure you have the necessary resources to meet the mission of your nonprofit organization? Accounting practices for nonprofits will be explored, as well as ethical and legal/tax issues. In addition, budgeting, and how to read financial statements will be covered.

Fundraising Aspects of Stewardship

This course will explore tools to enhance your congregation’s stewardship and giving, with checks and balances to maintain transparency. This session explores the basics of philanthropy and the donor centered fund development process and how to create a plan that will result in effective fundraising strategies for staff and volunteers – even in tough economic times.  Discussion will be on how to raise enough funds to effectively cover the operating budget.

Contact us about Best Skills Best Churches

For additional information on launching a Best Skills Best Churches cohort for your faith community, please contact the Nonprofit Management Institute at or call 602-496-0500.


Best Skills Best Churches steering committee

This group of community leaders assists with the curriculum development and continued expansion of Best Skills Best Churches, ensuring we are meeting the needs of faith communities.

Richard Morrison, Chair of the Steering Committee; Co-Founder of the Morrison Institute for Public Policy — Phoenix, AZ

Cheryl Farrell, Communications Professional, Cheryl Farrell Communications; 2022 Best Skills Best Churches alumna, United Church of Christ — Oak Park, CA

Kristen Hansen, Pastor, Desert Foothills Church — Phoenix, AZ

Robert Garris, Executive Director, Trinity Church Wall Street — New York, NY

Brad Munroe, Executive Pastor, Presbytery of Grand Canyon — Tucson, AZ

Megan Pontes, Associate Teaching Professor, ASU Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions — Phoenix, AZ

David Sivecz, Interim Associate Pastor, American Lutheran Church of Sun City; 2022 Best Skills Best Churches alumnus — Sun City, AZ