21st Century Nonprofit

Leveraging Technology to Transform Leadership


ANNOUNCEMENT: We are postponing this course to the summer/fall of 2013. It will likely change format, as well as the dates being different. If you’re interested in receiving direct updates about the program as it develops, go to the application form, enter your name and contact information, then skip the rest of the form and click “submit” at the bottom.

We are partnering with NTEN—the Nonprofit Technology Network–to offer a three-month, action-learning course that takes the ideas in Humanize and puts them to work for your nonprofit organization.

Nonprofits struggle to be nimble and agile in today’s changing environment. It’s a challenge to stay focused on our program implementation and to effectively engage employees, funders, and stakeholders in the process. At the heart of this challenge lies our mechanical and rigid management practices—practices that have not seen innovation for decades.

The 21st Century Nonprofit is a 3-month action-learning program we are offering in partnership with NTEN (the Nonprofit Technology Network) designed to help you leverage technology to transform your leadership and embrace a more open, transparent, and dynamic approach to nonprofit management. After completing the program, you will be able to:

  • leverage technology and social media to change not just marketing and IT, but the way you lead and manage your organization.
  • identify actionable ways you can start shifting your organizational culture to embrace a more human approach to leadership and management.
  • identify specific changes you can make to internal structures and processes to encourage more collaboration, experimentation and openness.
  • address the individual behaviors and skill sets your people need to acquire in order to run with these changes and leave the traditional, mechanical management practices behind.

Program Information

The inaugural program runs January through March 2013, and to be a part of it you must fill out an application (deadline to apply is December 20). If you have questions, contact Maddie or Jamie.

The program will provide tools and analysis for developing and implementing change efforts internally, focusing particularly on using technology (social and otherwise) to move the needle on more effective leadership and management. Participants have the opportunity to learn from experts as well as peer-based learning and support from other nonprofit professionals who are going through similar efforts.

The 21st Century Nonprofit Program will be led by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant, co-authors of Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World. Using frameworks and tools drawn from the book, as well as their years of consulting experience, they will work with participants through a combination of webinars, group teleconferences, and individualized coaching and advice for participating organizations. The webinar series in the program will be open to the public, but the other (primarily virtual) interactions in the program will allow course participants only to learn and discuss with other nonprofit executives in the program, as well as direct feedback and advice from the organizers. The program culminates with an in-person session at the NTC in April 2013.

Participant Qualifications

The program is open only to qualified nonprofit organizations and can accommodate up to three individuals from each organization as participants in the program. At least one of the individuals must be the Executive Director or other senior-level manager. Participation from at least one person representing the technology/social media functions is recommended. Organizations must complete an application prior to registering for the program that indicates the organization’s interest/capacity for exploring significant organizational change, as well as the ability to meet the time commitment of the program.

The first cohort will be limited to 30 participating individuals.

Those who cannot secure organizational commitment to the program can still participate in the 4-part webinar series, which is open to the public.

Time commitment (hours)

  • 1 orientation/meet and greet conference call
  • 6 webinars
  • 4 facilitated discussions (conference call or chat)
  • 8 hours estimated (total over the program) – monthly homework and reading
  • 1 one-on-one call per organization
  • 1 in-person session at NTC

Total: 21 hours (est. 5 hours per month for core three months of the program)

Program Fees

The program fees are $749 per organization for the full program ($675 for NTEN members–10% discount) which includes up to 3 participants from each organization.  Fees do not include NTC registration for the final in-person session.


Program Dates

Orientation/Meet and Greet conference call – to be scheduled with enrolled program participants

Webinar 1 –  Jan 10th – How to Be Open
It’s getting crowded on the social media bandwagon in the business world these days, but “Nonprofit 2.0” requires much more than adopting social tools. It’s about creating organizations that embrace the more human-focused principles that have driven the growth of social media, like being open, trustworthy, generative, and courageous. We’ll need more help with that than we will figuring out Twitter.  In this session, we’ll explore the first Humanize principle, being open. You’ll get concrete tips you can use to:

  • Create a culture that is more decentralized
  • Build systems thinking into your processes and structure
  • Figure out how to make “ownership” a real behavior in your workplace.

Learn how to get started in creating a more human organization, and you’ll find that the adoption of the social media tools will become both easier and more effective.

Program Teleconference 1 – Jan 17th – Follow up discussion

Webinar 2 –  Jan 31st – How to Be Trustworthy
Everyone says they want trust in their organizations, but too few of us know how to actually make it happen. This has grown particularly important in today’s social-media-infused workplace, where issues of trust, transparency, and authenticity suddenly matter a lot more to both customers and employees. In this session, we will explore:

  • The difference between absolute transparency and strategic transparency
  • Creating processes that support people in speaking the truth
  • Redefining what it means to be “authentic” in the digital age.

Program Teleconference 2 – Feb 8th – Follow up discussion

Webinar 3 –  Feb 21st – How to Be Generative

Every organization wants to grow and develop, to get to that proverbial “next level.” Yet somehow we are not willing to do the messy work required to get there. In today’s fast-moving social-driven economy, organizations need to develop their ability to be generative—to manage growth and change in a dynamic and unpredictable context. In this session, we’ll help you start making real change in areas that will build organizational adaptability and effectiveness. Specifically, we will explore:

  • The critical link between diversity and innovation
  • Building collaboration into a broader range of organizational processes
  • The role of the “social object” in connecting to broader networks.

Program Teleconference 3 – Feb 28th – Follow up discussion

Webinar 4 –  March 14th – How to Be Courageous
Fear is at the root of most organizational dysfunction. But simply calling for more courage is not the answer. We have to infuse courage into our organizational DNA. That means strengthening your commitment to learning, making it easier for people at all levels to experiment, and giving serious consideration to the personal development of employees. Human organizations are courageous, and that has profound implications for your organization’s culture, processes, and basic workplace behavior. In this session, we’ll help you start making real change in areas that will build organizational courage and effectiveness. Specifically, we will explore:

  • How organizational learning can breed courage.
  • How to make experimentation a normal part of work
  • The need for people at all levels of the company who have done their internal work.

Program Teleconference 4 – March 21st – Follow up discussion

Final Session (at NTC) – April 11-13 – In-Person Wrap-Up

After three months of working together and supporting each other online, the group participants will have the opportunity to come together in person for this final session at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Minneapolis. Each organization will have the opportunity to present on the key learnings and challenges encountered during the course and get feedback from fellow group members and instructors.

  • Optional – retake the Humanize Assessment and compare against benchmark scores at start of program.
  • Optional – full organizational assessment report [additional fee]


 Jamie Notter (@jamienotter) started his career in the field of international conflict resolution, spending six years designing and delivering training programs in areas of ethnic conflict (if you get a chance, ask him about the awesome people on the island of Cyprus). Jamie then moved into working with organizations, initially as a diversity trainer and consultant, and later leading his own management consulting practice, working extensively with trade associations and professional societies. In 2008 Jamie merged his company with Management Solutions Plus (an association management company) to create the consulting division. Jamie carries a master’s degree in conflict resolution from George Mason University, and a Certificate in Organization Development from Georgetown. An avid writer, he has authored dozens of published articles to go along with three books, including his most recent (with Maddie Grant), Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World. Jamie has been blogging about leadership and change at www.getmejamienotter.com since 2005.

Maddie Grant, CAE (@maddiegrant) draws from more than 10 years of experience in marketing, communications, and international business operations to help associations large and small build capacity for using social media to achieve business results. She is the co-author of two books: Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World, and Open Community: a little book of big ideas for associations navigating the social web. Maddie is the chief social media strategist at SocialFish LLC. There she writes and edits SocialFishing (www.socialfish.org), one of the most visited and respected blogs in the nonprofit community, where she gets to express her viewpoint as a classic Gen-X early adopter and “shiny new toy” addict.