Inspiration & Strategies for Nonprofit Leaders

Program Dates: March 22–27, 2020
Application Deadline: November 30, 2019

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The Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute (NELI) is a six-day residential program designed to enhance the strategic and visionary thinking of experienced nonprofit executives. 

Participants will engage in an examination of their own leadership and management effectiveness and the deeper meaning of their work. Participants will build and sustain relationships with peers and instructors that will support them and their work in the years to come. Attention will be paid to renewing excitement and passion for work in the nonprofit sector.

A combination of academic faculty and seasoned practitioners will lead the program sessions to facilitate intellectually provocative sessions that expose participants to new insights and tools. The use of case studies, peer consulting teams, 360-degree evaluations, group exercises, journaling, and participant presentations will create a highly participatory and multidimensional learning experience.

Learning Objectives

NELI is designed to encourage participants to engage in deeper and higher-level thinking on the purpose and practice of their roles as organizational and community leaders. This high-level perspective will help build skills, confidence, and a commitment to strategic leadership.

Leadership will be taught in the context of the following key competencies:

  • Thinking strategically
  • Inspiring others to perform
  • Understanding adaptive challenges
  • Engaging stakeholders
  • Creating a culture of accountability
  • Enabling and securing support for change
  • Building a viable financial model
  • Enabling the work of the board of directors
  • Enhancing self-knowledge

Participants who complete the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute will receive a Certificate of Completion.


NELI Instructors

Logistics & Preparation


Application deadline is Friday, November 30 (online application here), and with only 30 spots available, we encourage you to meet this deadline to secure your seat.. Applications received after November 30 will be considered on a space-available basis. 

Ideal applicants should have at least two years of executive-level work experience in a nonprofit organization. Bachelor's degree preferred, but not required. If you have questions on your eligibility please feel free to email us to review your resume.


Class sessions are held on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, Washington. The in-class portion runs from mid-afternoon on Sunday, March 22, 2020 through mid-afternoon on Friday, March 27, 2020. The daily schedule varies, but includes evening sessions as well as group project time during evenings and early mornings throughout the course week. 

Lodging and Tuition

NELI is a residential program - lodging is included in tuition and arranged by the program. All participants, including those who live in Seattle, stay in stay in single-occupancy rooms at a nearby hotel throughout the program.

Tuition for the NELI program is $4800, which is inclusive of all instructor engagement, curriculum materials (including reading materials and 360 assessment), five nights of lodging, most meals (morning refreshments, full lunch, afternoon snacks, Sunday and Thursday dinner).


Preparation in the weeks leading up to NELI is key to success in the program. The exercises below provide you with opportunities to engage with the materials prior to the program.

  • 360 Leadership Assessment: Each participant will complete an online self-assessment as well as solicit assessments from at least seven of their supervisors, direct reports, and other colleagues. Time required: 2–4 hours
  • Leadership Challenge Exercise: Each participant will articulate a leadership/management challenge they would like to focus on throughout the course. These challenges are submitted in writing to the Lead Instructor before the program begins. Time required: 1–2 hours
  • Organizational Capacity Assessment (optional): Each participant is invited to complete an assessment of their current organization to reference throughout the program. Time required: 45–60 minutes
  • Pre-reading: Readings will be made available online in late February/early March contains case studies and articles that participants are expected to read prior to attending. Time required: 8–14 hours depending on reading speed