photo of a business meeting

Sessions are designed to provide maximum opportunity for experiential learning that can be applied to the participant’s personal development and organization.


Sessions are held once per month for five months.  This allows for ease of scheduling and low impact on participants work schedule.

Top-Notch Instructors

Our instructors include university faculty that provide training to many organizations along with Nonprofit leaders and practitioners

Growing Opportunities for Nonprofit Leaders

A recent report by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI) shows that nonprofits continue to be a leading employer of new college graduates  and led all other industries this year with a 23% increase in new positions at the bachelor’s degree level compared to 2016 .

Program Description

The Survival Skills for the Nonprofit Leader Program is a short-term low impact manager training program for managers and supervisors working for nonprofit organizations. Course classes take place once per month for five months and are designed to help individuals develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be an effective nonprofit manager.  Students will learn about nonprofit management, leadership, ethics, financial operations, and laws and regulations pertaining to nonprofit governance. Students will benefit from instruction by MSUB faculty and from nonprofit leaders who bring their day in, day out experiences to the learning process. Enrollment is limited to 15 students.

Who Should Enroll

  • Nonprofit employees looking to advance in nonprofit organizations
  • Nonprofit leaders looking to enhance their knowledge and skills
  • Individuals looking to transition into employment into the nonprofit community

Program Cost

The total cost for the program is just $400 or $100 for each class taken separately.

Earning the Certificate of Completion

Students must attend all five training sessions to be awarded a certificate of completion

Session Topics and Program Schedule (Second Wednesday September)

Management and Leadership - 1:00-5:00 PM Tuesday, January 29, 2019

  • Application of ethics
  • Strategies of effective governance and leadership
  • Board Development
  • Staff Development

HR Basics - 1:00-5:00 PM Tuesday, February 26, 2019

  • Hiring
  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Corrective actions
  • Distinction between private/public/ nonprofit laws

Financial Management and Budgeting - 1:00-5:00 PM Tuesday, March 26, 2019

  • Financial management of organizational budgets
  • Federal and State laws regulating nonprofits

Communication in Nonprofit Settings - 1:00-5:00 PM Tuesday, April 23, 2019

  • Organization communication
  • Persuasive communication
  • Interpersonal awareness and communication

Fundraising and Advocacy - 1:00-5:00 PM Tuesday, May 28, 2019

  • Lobbying Laws
  • Making You Case (Selling Your Impact)
  • Community advocacy and Fundraising

Post class follow-up - Instructors provide a recap of what they presented and include links to additional resources.


Paul J. Pope, D.A. received his Doctor of Arts in Political Science from Idaho State University in 2008. ISU is where he also received his Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Science in Political Science degrees. Paul has been published in Administration and Society, Law and Society, Encyclopedia of the First Amendment, and American Politics: A guide for Undergraduates. Paul has been with MSU Billings since 2012 where he is the former director of the MPA program at MSUB and the senior political scientist in the Department of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies.

Michelle Anderson has a MS in Public Relations and a BS in Communication Studies from Montana State University Billings. She has been teaching Public Speaking and Interpersonal Communication at MSU Billings for six years and has worked on many research projects including mental health, suicide prevention, and local food awareness.  She was with The Center for Children and Families as a Trauma-Informed Care Trainer/Coordinator for two years. Prior to that she was an educational coordinator and instructors of vocational and life skills training in the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Heather Thompson-Bahm is originally from Colorado, where she earned her Doctorate in Management, Master in Business Administration, and Bachelor of Science in Biology. Heather is specially trained in Organization Development and Change, a DACUM certified Occupational Analysis Facilitator, and has worked on team collaboration research projects including ‘Ongoing Client Communication,’ and ‘Employee Morale and Retention.’ Dr. Thompson-Bahm has been with the Montana State University system since 2013, and with City College at MSU Billings since 2015, where she teaches business and human resource courses

Matt Lundgren has a B.A. in English Secondary Education from University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and a Master’s of Divinity from Lutheran Brethren Seminary. Matt became the Executive Director of Friendship House of Christian Service in August of 2012. He has served in in many nonprofit organizations doing youth work, college student ministry, Young Life, and as a parish pastor.  He also brings experience from education, retail and construction to his administration and leadership of Friendship House.   Having served the Billings community for more than twelve years before joining the Friendship House, Matt sees intentional community development and leadership development as key factors in moving children and families toward wholeness and health.  Matt brings energy, enthusiasm, and a desire to engage the business, faith and governmental sectors in providing opportunities for a vibrant community.

Ms. Mary Hernandez is principal of Invisage Consulting LLC. She enjoys addressing the organizational development needs of small and large nonprofits serving local to worldwide communities. Mary is a certified BoardSource trainer who works in strengthening leadership so organizations may remain relevant, vibrant, and nimble.  She is a graduate of Montana State University Billings in organizational communication, and currently serves on the board of Riverstone Health Foundation, and the Executive Committee of the national American Civil Liberties Union board and its Montana Affiliate. Mary’s professional memberships include Society for Human Resource Management, Association of Fundraising Professionals, BoardSource, Montana Nonprofit Association and Billings Chamber of Commerce.

From Our Participants

MSU Billings Survival Skills for the Nonprofit Leader was exactly what I needed after my promotion.  This 5 course class provided beneficial information to leaders of any level, and the guest speakers were excellent.  Not only were they eager to pass on valuable lessons they had learned while leading non-profit organizations, but they also explained to us why they work.  We also interacted with each other who are leaders of other organizations that attended this class and all shared our ideas and goals.  I walked away with an amazing sense of understanding from every topic and even made new friends.  Great investment of time and money.

Vicki Massie, Executive Director
St. Vincent de Paul Society

MSU Billings’ Survival Skills for Nonprofit Leaders is a well-designed crash course in managing and leading nonprofits effectively. From governance, to finance and human resources, to communications and fundraising, every topic touched upon issues that nonprofit executives face daily. The knowledgeable instructors provided good evidence based frameworks that sparked collaborative discussion toward practical solutions with my non-profit peers. In leaving every class, I felt excited about what I had learned. I recommend this class for any and all new and upcoming nonprofit leaders.

Adam Liberty, Community Engagement Coordinator
Friendship House of Christian Service

Survival Skills for the Nonprofit Leader is invaluable to both the director of an organizations and even base level staff.  It unravels mysteries around fundraising, communicating with clients and donors, and even addresses the challenges of being a non-profit in a rapidly competitive market.  As a Pastor, I found the cohort model to be helpful in connecting me to the larger community for our shared work.  I would recommend this course to Pastors of small to medium size churches as well as non-profit leaders and staff.

Rev. Tyler Amundson, Shiloh United Methodist Church

Contact Information

To find out more about this and other training programs, please call

MSU Billings Extended Campus
406 896-5872