Dec. 4, 2023

New Non-Profit Leadership Course Created

Faculty of Social Work program will help build skills, organizational capacity and create community

Calgary, AB - There’s a potential crisis coming as leaders in the non-profit sector retire at an unprecedented rate. New leaders are often hired for their skills and history within an organization; however, many have little training in how to run a non-profit.

A new leadership development program, from the University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work is looking to support non-profit organizations and their leaders with a practical and cost-effective program that they can fit into their busy schedules.

“Non-profit leaders have five places to put every minute and ten places to put every dollar. We believe our new course will help them with the skills and knowledge to free up their time to become more strategic and impactful in what they do.”

Nadine Ryan-Bannerman, non-profit leadership coach

Non-profit leadership training

While leadership training for corporate executives is a multi-million-dollar industry, similar training at a reasonable cost is difficult to find in the non-profit world. Ryan-Bannerman says that in her decades of working in the non-profit sector with organizations like United Way she’s seen a need for an affordable and practical training program for local non-profits. And as the retirement wave hits the non-profit sector, she says the timing is perfect.

“I personally know of a couple of cases where a long-term leader has retired,” says Ryan-Bannerman, “and the organization has a brand-new CEO without much leadership experience. Where do they turn? So, we created a cost-effective program that newer or aspiring- leaders can do while they’re working, without a huge time commitment.”

New course designed to create personal networks and connect non-profits.

The innovative, new program will feature a monthly virtual presentation and discussion by recognized, experienced local leaders in various foundational topics. Seminars will include governance, strategic planning, fund development, social enterprise, delegation, diversity and inclusion, stakeholder collaboration, conflict resolution, coaching skills and more.

But the new program is also designed to build community and bring Calgary’s non-profits together as they make new connections through mentorship groups, as well as helping leaders to connect through small and large group networking.

This element of connection for individuals and their organizations is one of the main reasons that UCalgary social work created the program.

“One reason the Faculty of Social Work is offering this unique program is to support our community partners in their work. To help their leadership to grow and hopefully increase capacity for the important work they do. Just as importantly, we hope this will help organizations to better connect with each other.”

Yared Belanyeh, professional development programs lead, Faculty of Social Work

Belanyeh, who has decades of experience supporting non-profits through organizations like the United Way and the United Nations, says the course is an important first step in leveraging the faculty’s social sector expertise to help create real connection among grassroots and non-profits across Alberta.

“That connection,” he adds, “should help organizations understand what they’re all doing as a whole. To see where there are overlaps or gaps in service and hopefully to move together to better meet their collective mission.”

The new program kicks off early next year with an introductory networking session and the first seminar: Not-for-Profit Governance Best Practices.  Registration for the program’s initial offering is limited to 30 people.

Media inquiries

Don McSwiney (He/Him)
Director, Communications and Marketing
Faculty of Social Work

About the University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work
The University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work is Canada’s largest social work school. We are nationally recognized for innovation in social work education and thought leadership from our leading researchers. We offer Bachelor and Master of Social Work programs, graduate certificates, and professional-development programs online and at our Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge campuses. For more information, visit

About the University of Calgary
UCalgary is Canada’s entrepreneurial university, located in Canada’s most enterprising city. It is a top research university and one of the highest-ranked universities of its age. Founded in 1966, its 35,000 students experience an innovative learning environment, made rich by research, hands-on experiences and entrepreneurial thinking. It is Canada’s leader in the creation of start-upsStart something today at the University of Calgary.

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