Nonprofit leaders looking to develop their personal leadership skills and make their organizations more effective are encouraged to apply for the 2018 Executive Leadership Program for Nonprofit Organizations (ELPNO).

ELPNO is scheduled for Jan. 7-12, 2018, at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development on the University of Georgia campus in Athens, Ga.

“It was a great experience and probably even more rewarding than I thought it would be,” said Rhonda Fischer, chief operating officer of the East Lake Foundation in Atlanta and 2017 ELPNO graduate. “Someone should sign up for ELPNO if they are serious about being a leader in the nonprofit space.”

Designed for established and emerging executive leaders at nonprofit organizations, ELPNO gives participants the chance to learn from nationally recognized faculty on topics such as governance and financial leadership, personal leadership, strategic leadership and resource development strategies.

“There is a big difference between a manager and a leader,” said Jesse Lecy, a faculty member at Arizona State University who teaches strategic planning at ELPNO. “Leaders develop strategy, while a manager implements strategy. Organizations with high performance have strong leaders that develop strategies which incrementally improve performance.”

Both Lecy and fellow ELPNO faculty member Elizabeth Searing say the program is a great opportunity for nonprofit leaders to enhance their abilities. Searing, a faculty member and director of the Institute of Nonprofit Leadership and Community Development at the University at Albany (SUNY), teaches nonprofit financial management at ELPNO.

“Like blood circulation, money has to flow for a nonprofit to function and I enjoy helping leaders better understand how their organization’s finances work,” Searing said.

Participants will be able to build their professional network by connecting with other nonprofit leaders and more than 200 graduates, representing over 130 organizations, who have completed ELPNO.

“The network we were able to develop there, the conversations that happened in the classroom, at dinner, and in the hallways with other people who were doing similar things or have similar roles, was really helpful,” said Fischer said.

ELPNO is a program that can benefit leaders in nonprofit organizations of all sizes, said Janet Rechtman, Fanning Institute faculty member.

“Some of the largest nonprofit organizations use ELPNO as part of their leadership succession strategy, making sure they have a pipeline to move people into senior management,” Rechtman said. “Smaller nonprofits talk about the importance of ELPNO in helping to ensure the stability of their organizations, and board leaders also benefit from ELPNO because it deepens their understanding of their organizations and the day-to-day challenges nonprofits face.”

According to Fischer, ELPNO came at just the right time for her and her organization.

“I think the opportunity to step away from the office, at the start of the year for a week, to reflect and think about the strategies I wanted to put in place for the coming year was the biggest tangible benefit for me,” Fischer said. “I rarely—if ever—take time to retreat to plan and reflect, and doing so while gaining and enhancing skills in areas like nonprofit finances, personal leadership and strategic planning really helped me.”

The deadline to apply for ELPNO 2018 is Dec. 10, 2017.

ELPNO is a partnership between the Fanning Institute, the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, and the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship at Georgia Tech.

For more information on ELPNO 2018, click here.