Establishing Excellence: Creating a Great Nonprofit

12 Month Comprehensive Program

Strong Safety & Health Measures in Place w/ Virtual Participation Options Available

High-Quality Renowned Curriculum

MS Alliance Principles & Standards for Nonprofit & Philanthropy Excellence

Incredible Guest Speakers & Trainers

Experts and Leaders from a Variety of Nonprofit, Philanthropic, and Public Sectors

Products of the Program

Legal & Tax Forms 
Board Development Plan 
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan 
Evaluation Plan

HR/Staffing Plan 
Strategic Plan 

Low Cost

$2,000 Per Organization + $1,000 Per Additional Team Member

Staggered Payment Schedule

Payment 1: January: $150
Payment 2: February: $150
Payment 3: March: $750
Payment 4: June: $750
Payment 5: September: $200

Comprehensive Instructional Approach

Whole Group Instruction 
Small-Group Workshops 
One-on-One Consulting 

New and small nonprofits frequently struggle for years to be viable.  Establishing a solid foundation early is the best way to increase the odds of success and sustainability. This model is designed to provide ease of entry for nonprofits.  We begin in a cohort model, where participants can benefit from collective support and thinking and gradually evolves into one-one-few coaching and finally one-on-one consulting. By going through this learning track you will launch your organization on a stronger footing than many others ever achieve.

Monthly Schedule

Friday 29th

Half Day


So you think you want to start a nonprofit? This session will help you better understand the world of nonprofits, and help you focus your passion, and determine how best to apply that passion to create the greatest impact. Passion for your chosen cause is a powerful force, but without a clear focus and a plan, you may not have the impact you hope to have. The workshop is the first in a series, designed to help you get off to a good start.


Understand the nonprofit sector nationally and in Mississippi.

Clarify your mission, to provide focus and increase the ability to communicate what your organization does…and doesn’t do.

Develop a basic knowledge of how to conduct a community resource mapping exercise / environmental scan related to your mission.

Friday 26th

Half Day



Ready to create a new nonprofit? There is specific paperwork that you’ll need to complete, and legal requirements that you’ll need to satisfy. This session will help you better understand what needs to be in place legally to create this new organization: the paperwork, the corporate documents and the structure needed to be compliant. While there’s no such thing as “nonprofit jail”, you can inadvertently get into serious trouble if you don’t keep an eye on the requirements of both the Secretary of State and the IRS. The workshop focuses on giving you all the tools you’ll need to be compliant, and lay the groundwork for a successful organization.


Know what you need to do to file to become a nonprofit in Mississippi.

Understand the basic legal obligations of all nonprofits.

Understand the basics of nonprofit Boards of Directors.

Friday 26th

Whole Day


Intro to Board Governance: The strength of a nonprofit’s Board of Directors is a key determinant of the organization’s long-term success. Yet, there is often a lack of clarity of the Board’s role and the rotation of Board member terms. Key topics covered in this session include:
• Board Member Responsibilities and Legal Duties
• Diversity on Boards
• Board Recruitment
• Board Composition Best Practices

Intro to Financial Management and Budgets: Often the most technically challenging aspect of nonprofit management, it is crucial that all Board and staff members have a grasp of the organization’s financial practices, plans, and status. This module helps interpret the language and disentangle the numbers. The information provided in this module is intended to give you an overview of nonprofit financial management. Key topics include:
• Terms
• Internal Controls
• Budgeting
• The Board’s Role in Nonprofit Financial Management

Intro to Fundraising: Nonprofit donations are an opportunity for individuals and institutions to contribute to a cause of their choosing. But with that gift comes an obligation for the nonprofit to ensure its proper handling. In this session, you will learn:
• Key Concepts
• Code of Ethics
• The Board’s Role in Fundraising
• Federal, State, and Local Laws for Fundraising
• Donor Relations


Board Development:
List board member responsibilities & legal obligations including leadership, policy-making, budget approval, and fundraising.

Discuss the importance of including diverse board members that represent the community served.

Describe board member recruitment including how to engage board members and capitalize on their skill sets and resources to advance the organization.

Identify how the board should adhere to the following best practices/legal requirements of board size, officers, term limits, orientation, attendance, meetings & minutes, code of ethics, review of board performance, and compensation.

Financial Management/Budgeting:
Understand assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenses and the accounting equation.

Learn and understand the difference between cash and accrual accounting and the impact on your financials.

Discuss FASB Statements of Financial Position (formerly called Balance Sheet), Activities, & Cash Flow.

Review the concepts of internal accounting/financial controls.

List the steps in the budget process.

Describe the recommended best practices for board roles and responsibilities of the organization’s finances including the adoption of written financial procedures to monitor major expenses.

List the key concepts related to annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, and the pyramid of giving.

Explain why the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Conduct is widely accepted as the national standard in nonprofit fundraising.

Describe the recommended best practices for the board in fundraising.

Discuss the federal, state, and local laws concerning fundraising practices and the registration of professional fundraisers/companies registered with the MS Secretary of State.

Discuss the elements of donor relations: donor communications, donor intent, guidelines described in the IRS Publication 1771 concerning donor charitable contributions, and gift acceptance policies.

Describe the recommended best practices for board roles and responsibilities of the organization’s finances including the adoption of written financial procedures to monitor major expenses.

Friday 16th, Saturdays 17 & 24th

3 – Half Days


These days will be dedicated to working with a coach in small groups to create your budget, board development, and fundraising plans.

Friday 14th

Whole Day


Strategic Planning: Organizational planning is a critical process that defines a nonprofit’s overall direction, activities, and strategies to be employed to fulfill its mission. Planning should unite the Board, staff members, and volunteers in a common goal and define the organization’s purpose to the general public. In this session, you will learn about:
• Nonprofit Mission Statements
• Community Needs & Constituents
• Environmental Scans
• Success Factors for Strategic Planning
• Operational Plans
• The many different roles that founders can play in the organization – and, if you are the founders, how to determine your “best and highest purpose” for the organization in the long term.

Evaluation: How do nonprofit leaders know if the programs or services they design will be effective? How do they know if their program or service delivery is meeting the expectations of funders who support their work? What do grants mean by “outcomes measurement”? How can you use evaluation as an “early warning system” for how things are working? This module will assist in setting up a “ruler” to measure the work of the nonprofit, as well as tools to report the results and methods for modification when needed. You’ll learn about:
• Importance of outcomes measures — Communicating Impact, etc.
• Terms
• Linking Mission to Outcomes for Impact
• Writing Outcomes Statements


Strategic Planning (VMOSA + Values):

Explain how a mission statement guides the actions of the organization.

Discuss the elements addressed in environmental scans and strategic plans including: developing strategies, setting goals and timelines, assigning responsibilities.

Define the term “operational plan”.

Understand the role that founders play, in strategic planning and within the organization.


Identify outcome measurement terms and sample impact statements.

Discuss the value of using outcome measures–consider funders, clients, and your operational & marketing plans.

Develop one measurable outcome for your organization and the process for implementation.

Friday 18th

Whole Day


Human Resources and Volunteer Management: Even if a nonprofit is an all-volunteer organization, there are important legal and management responsibilities that all nonprofits must take into consideration. Professional development programs should be structured and intentional, focused on leadership development and creating a learning organization where information and knowledge are shared and modeled at every level. In this session, you will learn about:
• Federal, State, and Local Employment Laws
• At-Will, Contractors, Exempt Employees
• Compensation and Benefits
• Job Descriptions, Recruitment, Interviewing
• Background Checks, Drug Testing, Hiring
• Performance Evaluations
• Grievances and Terminations
• Orientation, Employee & Volunteer Manuals, Training
• Employee and Volunteer Policies, Procedures, and Code of Ethics

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Is your organization committed to these concepts? What’s your evidence? This session will explore ways to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of the organization, including hiring both staff and volunteers, board diversity, and ensuring cultural competency in the delivery of programs.


Human Resources:
Discuss the key employment laws and how they impact the workplace.

Articulate important policies and procedures needed to support a healthy work environment.

List the elements of a clear job description and be able to write one.

Identify key elements of new employee orientation and assess your organization’s current methods.

Volunteer Management:

List the steps in assessing the capacity of your organization to engage, supervise, and support volunteers including risk management procedures that provide ad­equate levels of insurance for volunteers and the use of liability waivers where appropriate.

Explain the process to develop a clear description of the scope of the work, necessary skills, expected time commitment, and the impact and benefits of the volunteer’s service and conduct background checks.

Describe how the organization’s volunteer recruitment incorporates a broad range of internal and external strategies to reach out to diverse sources of volunteers.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

Friday 16th & Saturday 17th

2 – Half Days


These days will be dedicated to working with a coach in small groups to create your evaluation and HR/staffing plans.

Friday 20th & Saturday 21st

2 – Half Days


These days will be dedicated to working with a coach in small groups to create your strategic and DEI plans.

Dates and times based on your schedule


These months are dedicated to supporting you through the remaining elements of starting your organization. We will link you with a consultation for one-on-one support.

Program Coordinators

Mary Ellen Calvert

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Nancy Perrett

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Kimberly Massey2

Kimberly Massey

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