Paducah Academy for Nonprofit Development and Leadership

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The Nonprofit Resource Center and Center for Adult and Regional Education at Murray State University is proud to introduce the Paducah Academy for Nonprofit Development and Leadership. The Academy is a leadership training and networking program for area nonprofit professionals developed by MSU’s Nonprofit Leadership faculty, local nonprofit leaders and professional leadership consultants.

Nonprofit leaders play a vital role in our communities, yet these leaders often face challenges such as inadequate funding, lack of volunteers and limited professional development opportunities. The Academy will provide local nonprofit organization leaders the opportunity to participate in a series of eight monthly seminars (August - April) focused on relevant topics, such as program development, financial management, support resources, communications, marketing and more. Program graduates will receive the Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership as well as CEU credit.

As an associate of the Academy, you will:

  • Gain valuable knowledge and develop leadership skills that you can immediately apply in your nonprofit organization to sustain its mission and goals

  • Network with other nonprofit leaders in your community.

Seminars will be held 8:30 - 1:30 at Murray State's Paducah Regional Campus.
Kick-off event - August 6, 2024, 4 - 5 p.m.
Graduation - April 8, 2025 (immediately after last class)

The cost of the Academy is $250 ($225 registration fee; $25 participant fee). Register online by June 30, 2024 . Limited space available. Lunch will be provided at each seminar.

For questions, contact Dr. Elise Kieffer, Nonprofit Leadership Studies Program Director, at or 270.809.3307.



Seminar 1 - Your Nonprofit Organization (Elise Kieffer, PhD, Murray State University Program Director and Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Leadership Studies):

Clarifying purpose, mission, and goals; establishing a logic model and identifying intended long-term impacts; examining structure, governance, and human resources; and reviewing legal and policy implications. The content of the session will be focused on effective leadership strategy in nonprofit organizational development, and creative methods for strengthening the impact on the organization’s mission. It will set the stage for upcoming sessions that examine structure, governance, and strategic planning.

Seminar 2 - Leadership Effectiveness: Exploring Leadership Style, Gender Dynamics and Leadership Toxicity in the Workplace (Cris Ferguson, Murray State University Dean of Libraries):

Leadership effectiveness is impacted by a variety of factors, such as leadership style, gender dynamics, and workplace toxicity. In this session, attendees will learn about various leadership styles and how different approaches to leadership impact team dynamics and organizational culture. We will explore some of the challenges surrounding gender in leadership, and participants will gain an understanding of how gender impacts leadership practice. Lastly, attendees will learn to identify signs of toxic leadership and acquire practical strategies to mitigate its impact. Armed with this knowledge, participants will leave with actionable steps to promote effective leadership and cultivate a healthy organizational culture.

Seminar 3 - Funding and Financial Sustainability (Dr. Tina Bernot, Ed.D., Executive Director of Development, Murray State University):

Understanding the creative and leading role that funding plays in organizational effectiveness; building a working appreciation for financial management functions; and establishing an interconnected strategy for fund development, financial management, and long-term sustainability. The content of the session will include the fundamentals of financial management and development, including quality practices and proven strategies for financial sustainability.

Seminar 4 - Engaging the Nonprofit Sector Support Resources and Infrastructure (Dr. Chris Dockins, Ph.D., Consultant for Community Foundation of West Kentucky):

Exploring the nonprofit sector support resources; identifying those that most align with your needs and challenges; mapping the nonprofit sector infrastructure and support systems; building a plan of action and schedule for engaging support resources and infrastructure; and distributing responsibility to key stakeholders for exploring and connecting with the selected opportunities. The content of the session will focus on understanding the organization’s potential place in the larger system and strategies for engaging and capitalizing on available resources.

Seminar 5 - Communications, Marketing, and Branding (Britney Hargrove, Communication Specialist):

Developing a quality understanding of the key elements of effective communication; examining the different framing and applications of communication; exploring examples of effective and ineffective applications; designing a customized marketing strategy for the organization; considering the role of branding in the organization’s work; and developing a plan of work for integrating the lessons into the organization’s strategic plan for the coming year(s). The content of the session will help improve understanding of the range of effective communication methods, the basis for the selection of most appropriate methods, and strategies for accomplishing information goals. The session will demonstrate the need for an integrated set of communications activities that help improve public understanding and appreciation, engage participants, demonstrate results, and garner support.

Seminar 6 - Broadening Your Circle of Support and Capacity (Gina Winchester, Calloway County Deputy Judge Executive):

Mapping the people and organizations that support your constituents and are dedicated to your mission; developing strategies to build or strengthen relationships and formal connections across the map; considering the creation of a formal network of kindred spirits to promote collaboration and support for your mission; and select some starting points for cooperative efforts that will enhance the mission of your organization and the other’s. The content of the session will be focused on claiming the public space, being valued as a community resource, and owning the right to be engaged in leadership roles across the community on activities that relate to the organization’s mission.

Seminar 7 - Strengthening and Motivating Volunteers and Staff (Robin Esau, Professor of Nonprofit Leadership, Murray State University):

Broadening understanding of quality practice in nonprofit volunteer and staff development; exploring the emerging commitment to “peer owned and led” human resource engagement; practicing a range of team building methods; establishing a set of next steps to take toward stronger engagement and commitment; and identifying methods of assessing progress. The content of the session will include needs analysis practices and the development of the human resource structures, effective strategies for management and supervision, and the roles of leadership in organizational, board, and individual performance assessment.

Seminar 8 - Effective Organization and Program Delivery (Mike Gowen, Professor of Nonprofit Leadership, Murray State University):

Studying quality practices of organizational and program evaluation; creating a customized logic model to guide evaluation and assessment; increasing understanding of comprehensive organizational development strategies; establishing a plan of action for implementing a strategic planning process customized to the organization; practicing the art of identifying priorities and articulating goals that align with the mission; and committing to the application of the lessons learned throughout the certification sessions. The content of the session will include basic program development approaches that ensure collective alignment with organizational mission and strategies. The focus is on the identification of guiding principles and impact indicators that advance the mission and upon which programs are developed and evaluated.



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