Faith-Based Nonprofit Leadership
Certificate Program

Building the skills and knowledge of current and future leaders in the nonprofit sector.

The Faith-Based Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program is a two-semester program, open to students and non-students,  co-led by School of Divinity professor Dr. John Senior and School of Law professor Steve Virgil.

In the fall 2018 term, the course meets for 13 weeks of instruction between August 29, 2018 and December 7, 2018, on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:30 PM EST. Community members may join the class in person on the Wake Forest University campus or online via video conferencing.

In the spring 2019 term, certificate participants complete a project in consultation with course instructors that advances the mission and vision of their organizations.


The program is ideal for participants who are:

  • Current and aspiring leaders of nonprofits (staff, board members, or volunteers)
  • Interested in forming a new nonprofit

Certificates of completion will be awarded through the Wake Forest University School of Divinity following completion of all sessions and related assignments in the fall 2018 term and a capstone project in the fall 2019 term.

Note: The certificate program is not credit-bearing; students do not earn course credit towards any degree.

Course Topics*

  • The Role of Nonprofits in Society: Morally, Ethically, and Legally
  • The History of Nonprofits in the United States
  • An Introduction to Nonprofits and the Nonprofit Sector Today
  • Crafting Mission and Vision Statements
  • The Legal Structure of Nonprofits
  • Strategic Planning and Competitive Analysis
  • Program Development and Assessment
  • Administration
  • Fundraising, Grant Writing, and Finance and Budget
  • Community Organizing & Asset-based Community Development
  • Lobbying and Advocacy

*Subject to change. Official syllabus to be distributed during first class.


Course Structure

In the fall 2018 term, the  course consists of one weekly course meeting, Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:30 PM EST,  which can be joined in person or online. Some course components will be offered asynchronously via pre-recorded media presentations.

In the spring 2019 term, each participant will complete a professor-supervised project that focuses on a particular strategic need of the participant’s own nonprofit, on some aspect of forming a nonprofit, or on an area of interest related to faith-based nonprofit leadership.

Costs and Logistics

The program cost is $450. Refunds for the course are not available after August 27, 2018.

After completing all sessions, participants will receive a certificate of completion from Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

No longer accepting registrations for the current cohort.


For more information, please contact John Senior, assistant professor of practical theology and religious leadership.

This program is possible thanks to the generous support of the Wake Forest University Provost’s Fund for Academic Innovation and the Jessie Ball DuPont Foundation.