OnBoard Governance Certificate

The Alliance for Better Nonprofits' OnBoard Governance Certificate prepares high-potential professionals for service on nonprofit boards and introduces them to organizations that would benefit from their involvement. Participants gain insights about the region and the nonprofits seeking to improve it, and learn what is required for sound board-level thinking and oversight. 

Each of the six evening training sessions will take place at a different local nonprofit. Tuition is $1,000 per person and includes instruction by board governance experts, all training materials, interactive online courses, and dinner at each session. At the end of the certificate program, an inventory of participant's personal skills and interests will be taken and participants will be matched with local nonprofits looking for qualified board members.


  • Complete the APPLICATION
  • Submit your professional resume
  • Include a letter from senior management confirming you are being sponsored by the company (optional)
  • Tuition: $1,000

Questions? Contact Elle Benson at ebenson@betternonprofits.org or (865) 313-2077 x203.

Most past participants are sponsored by outstanding corporations and institutions from across East Tennessee. Benefits for employers include:

  • Connecting your emerging leaders with a network of other high-potential, mid-career professionals
  • Retaining your talent by deepening their engagement to our region
  • Increasing your visibility as a corporate supporter of leading nonprofits
  • Developing board-level thinking among your next generation of leadership

OnBoard Application


"I enjoyed learning the 'behind the scenes' of operating a nonprofit. Great content, and very useful framework for contributing strategically."

"I learned so many different things that will help me even if I never even get the chance to serve on a nonprofit board (but of course I do plan on supporting and serving on nonprofit boards and committees for many years)."

"I'm now engaged in ongoing discussions with two nonprofits about how I can help on committees or become a board member. I'm excited to put what I learned to use."

“Dealt directly with the real issues facing boards and practical training to make an immediate impact. Case studies and group discussions were effective.”

 “I enjoyed the case studies the most because they provided insight on how different nonprofits are run. The discussions during the sessions were great as well because we were able to dig into each of the case studies and collaborate about their strategies.”

Class of 2020-2021 Schedule:

The sessions will take place over the course of six evenings (6-8pm) at different local nonprofits, with an optional tour of the nonprofits's facilities from 5:15-6pm.

Session 1: SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

Understanding Nonprofits and Board Basics

Session 2: october 8, 2020

Mission First: Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation

Session 3: november 12, 2020

Leadership and Management

Session 4: january 14, 2021

Fundraising for Board Members

Session 5: february 11, 2021

Board Governance and Development

Session 6: march 11, 2021

Finding Your Place to Serve / Graduation