OnBoard Governance Certificate Program

The Alliance for Better Nonprofits' OnBoard Governance Certificate program 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 monthly training sessions will take place virtually via Zoom from 11:30am-1pm. Tuition is $500 per person. 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.


Employers: Sponsor your employees to attend this important program! 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 Testimonials:

"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.”

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



Six sessions from February to July on the second Tuesday of the month. All sessions will be held from 11:30am-1pm via Zoom.

Session 1: February 9

Understanding Nonprofits & Board Basics | Led by Dr. Jerry Askew

  • Board Responsibilities
  • 5 M’s
  • Four Quadrants

Session 2: March 9

Mission First: Strategic Planning & Program Evaluation | Led by Elle Benson with a special presentation from the YWCA Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley

  • Establishing & Reevaluating Your Mission
  • Nonprofit Lifecycles
  • Strategic Planning
  • Metrics & Dashboards

Session 3: April 13

Leadership & Management | Led by Dr. Jerry Askew with a special presentation from Kim Bumpas of Visit Knoxville

  • Case Study
  • Motivating Board & Staff
  • Setting Accountability Systems  

Session 4: may 11

Fundraising & Financials for Board Members | Led by Dr. Jerry Askew with a special presentation from Kendrise Colebrook of Autism Breakthrough of Knoxville

  • Reading Financial Statements
  • Fundraising Planning & Diversification 

Session 5: june 8

Board Governance & Development | Led by Anderson Olds with a special presentation from Shawn Stutz of FOCUS Ministries

  • Team Dynamics
  • Board Recruitment & Onboarding
  • Board Representation

Session 6: july 13

Finding Your Place to Serve / Graduation | Led by the ABN Team

  • Nonprofit Matchmaking
  • Q&A