Archive for June, 2011

Q&A with Certificate Program Participant Aimee Covo

Our certificate programs are a great way to enhance your skills in the areas of Fundraising, Management & Supervision, and Executive Leadership. In a recent interview, one of our Fundraising Certificate Program Participants,Aimee Covo of the Council for Living Music, told us why she took the program, and how it has helped her professionally.

 1. Why did you decide to take our Fundraising Certificate Program?

After much research, I chose to attend the Fundraising Certificate program because it offers a diverse and well rounded series of studies/ workshops in the field of Fund Raising, including exposure to active professionals in the field with tremendous insight and expertise, and provides a certification upon completion.

2. Are there any specific goals you wish to achieve through taking the program?

My goal is to be successful through a complete understanding of the Fundraising process as it applies to today’s market and demands, as well as how to continue being successful in a competitive and turbulent economy.

3. Can you tell me any insights or lessons you have learned from the program so far?

The lessons I have learned include specific tools and tips for success that are both comprehensive and applicable in terms of proposal writing, program presentation & development, managing funds, and developing relationships with grant givers.

4. How do you think the program will be useful to your career and your organization?

The Support Center Online provides credibility (certifiable) and excellence in training recognized by the Philanthropic industry, as well as continuing support and services in development for a sustainable organization- this can only add to one’s position in this field of work and to the growing success of any organization.

Additionally, Aimee had this to say about our volunteer facilitators, “I have discovered the instructors are honest and direct in their approach to their workshops. There is reasonable level of expectations set without deterring from the excitement of possibility, and that is important to me. Plus, the instructors make the learning fun and proactive, engaging the participants to apply what is learned in a safe, professional atmosphere. What could be better than that

Thank you Aimee!


Training our Future Leaders—How Philanthropy is Helping

The nonprofit sector is fortunate to be able to attract many smart and idealistic young people into its ranks each year. But how do we make sure they stay and prosper to handle the leadership and governance challenges of the future?

While University and college-based programs have clearly made great strides in preparing young leaders to enter the sector, many potential leaders who come into the sector are faced with learning critical skills on the job. For example, a well-functioning executive director needs to have good instincts and skills in fundraising, financial management, board relations, and staffing. Most leaders have one or two of these strengths, but do not know where they can turn to get support or skills training in the other areas. Some are even reluctant to ask because they know there is little funding in their organization for it, and they also do not want to be perceived as weak.

A few creative examples of how funders are helping to support nonprofit leadership and staff development shows how a little funding can go a long way to creating welcoming learning environments:

• Cohort Learning – American Express Foundation has provided funding for our Trajectory Leadership Group and Robert Wood Johnson’s New Jersey Health Initiatives program supports a CEO Roundtable. In both settings nonprofit CEOs can bring their issues to a larger, objective group, and hone their skills through interaction with peers and other more experienced executive directors.

• Personalized services – Numerous funders in our region have supported the development and refinement of leadership skills through personalized services such as one-on-one executive coaching, or the short- or longer-term use of a consultant to develop a specific professional capacity.

• Workshop “just-in-time” training – Still other funders (for example, PSEG in New Jersey and the New York State Council on the Arts) provide scholarship support to the Support Center so that their grantees can attend one or more of our many in-person workshops. In this option, the grantee has the flexibility of choosing the courses and timing that best fits their needs and schedules.

• Webinars – This format is good for introductions to a topic or for learning discreet concepts. Bank of America has been hosting numerous webinars to benefit the sector. This, of course, provides ultimate flexibility in reaching staff pressed for time. However, it is not a substitute for the networking that can occur in an interactive, in-person environment.

What will fuel future success is when more grantmakers see how even small investments in their grantees’ staff will have long-term benefits to our communities and those who live in them.

What is working for you, and what would you like to see in philanthropy’s investment in our future? E-mail me at or leave a comment.