North Park University - Chicago North Park University - Chicago

Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management

Professional Development Workshops

The Axelson Center offers a series of workshops each fall and spring, providing you with an opportunity to connect with knowledgeable experts and network with colleagues from across the sector. Whether you’re a program manager at an arts organization, a financial manager at a social services organization, an executive director at an education-based nonprofit, a fundraising director at a transportation advocacy organization, or you wear all of these hats on a daily basis, the Axelson Center’s workshops will re-energize you and prepare you to meet the nonprofit management challenges ahead of you.

To receive the latest information about workshops via email, please click here.  Information about registration rates, payment options, and our cancellation policy can be found at the end of the page. Also, you can find information about our prior workshop offerings below.

Goal-Setting for Successful Events (FREE)
Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 9 – 11 a.m.
Presented by Melissa Lagowski, President and Founder, Big Buzz Idea Group

Nonprofit Finance 101
Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 9 a.m. – Noon
Presented by Andreason Brown, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Spencer Foundation

Make Data Work for You: Becoming a Data-Driven Fundraiser
Wednesday, March 13, 2019, 9 a.m. – Noon
Presented by Sharon Tiknis, Executive Vice President, East Division Manager, The Alford Group

Design Thinking:A Solution-Based Approach for Strategic Planning
Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 9 a.m. – Noon
Presented by Jennifer Madden, PhD, MNO, Assistant Professor of Management and Marketing and Director of the Master (MSc) of Business Design and Innovation program at Carthage College; President, Leverage Point Development

Staff Management for New Supervisors
Wednesday, March 27, 2019, 9 a.m. – Noon
Presented by Michelle Aronson, MBA, People Experience Officer, Human Resources, Swedish Covenant Hospital; Adjunct Professor, North Park University School of Business and Nonprofit Management

Metrics That Matter: Measuring, Monitoring and Benchmarking
Wednesday, April 3, 2019, 9 a.m. – Noon
Presented by Laura Zumdahl, PhD, President and CEO, New Moms

Social Enterprises for the Greater Good
Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 9 a.m. – Noon
Presented by Brenda Palms Barber, Executive Director, North Lawndale Employment Network; Chief Executive Officer, Sweet Beginnings, LLC

Finances, Strategies and Governing Boards FREE
Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 9 – 11 a.m.
Presented by Gretchen Upholt, MPA, Senior Consultant, FMA

Previous Workshops Last Fall:

Beyond Small Talk: Strategic Networking for Nonprofit Professionals 
Presented by Pam Schilling, MBA, Founder, CEO, and Career Strategist, Arch Career Partners

Hospitable and Effective Hiring: Interviewing, Onboarding and Retention
Presented by Nurys Harrigan Pedersen, President, Careers In Nonprofits

The Healthy Workspace: It’s Not a Diet, It’s a Culture
Moderated by Sandee Kastrul, President and Co-founder, i.c. stars
Panelists: Renauld Mitchell, Partner/Director of Chicago Operations Moody Nolan, Inc.; Ashley Ritter, MOL, Ritter Coaching and Consulting and Jennifer Sobecki, CEO, Designs for Dignity

Make Your Annual Giving Appeal Less Spooky
Presented by Sidney Freitag-Fey, MA, CFRE, Director, Development and Communications, Delta Institute

Financial Turnaround: a Crain’s Panel with Nonprofits Who’ve Done It
Moderated by Lisa Bertagnoli, MA, Reporter, Nonprofits and Philanthropy, Crain’s Chicago Business
Panelists: Jackie Edens, CEO, The Inner Voice; Allison Henry, MBA, Executive Director, The People’s Music School; Michelle Larson, PhD, President and CEO, Adler Planetarium

Handling HR When You Don’t Have an HR Department
Presented by Greg Crawford, MA, PHR Vice President Human Capital Management, AssuredPartners Illinois

Brand Building for Social Impact
Presented by Stephanie Rath, Vice President of Marketing and Brand Management, YMCA of the USA

Fiascos, Falls and Floods! Why Nonprofits Need Risk Management
Presented by Peter Persuitti, Managing Director, Insurance & Risk Management, Arthur J. Gallagher

You may register for more than one workshop in a single transaction. To pay by check, complete this registration form. Please make your check payable to North Park University and mail to:

Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management
3225 W Foster Ave, Box 4
Chicago, IL 60625

Please note: Day-of registration is not permitted.

Event Locations

Most workshops take place on North Park University’s campus, located near West Foster and North Kedzie Avenues in Chicago, unless otherwise noted. Specific session location information for each workshop is sent via email to registrants.

Workshop Fees

The following fees apply for workshops unless otherwise stated:

  • Half-Day Workshops: $90 (includes beverages and course materials)

20% Discount available for in-person workshops

  • Forefront (formally known as Donors Forum) associates: individuals who are employed or volunteer with a tax-exempt organization; Independent consultants, consulting firms and grant making organizations are ineligible for this discount.
  • Individuals from tax-exempt organizations with an annual operating budget less than $1 million
  • Current undergraduate and graduate students from any college or university
  • Individuals with 5 years or less experience in the nonprofit sector

Payment Options

All workshop registration will be processed online through the Axelson Center’s NeonCRM system. Payments will be processed through PayPal and appear on your statement as PAYPAL* NPU AXELSON or Paypal*NPU Axelson.

Registrations using check payments cannot be indicated online at this time. Please complete the Axelson Center’s Manual Registration Form (a fillable PDF) and return to the Axelson Center via mail or e-mail to register by check. Checks should be made payable to North Park University.

Cancellation Policy

(Last updated 7/31/14)

The Axelson Center reserves the right to cancel any workshop. Should the Axelson Center cancel, registrants will receive a full refund.

Registrants choosing to cancel their workshop registration will receive a refund minus a $15 administrative fee. Notice of cancellation must be received by the Axelson Center at least five working days prior to the workshop. We regret that no refunds can be made after that date under any circumstances. Registration payments may not be transferred to a different event.

Spring 2018 series:

Creating a Culture of Communication
Presented by Cori Moschberger, LCSW, MSW, Counselor and Organizational Development Consultant and Pier Rogers, PhD, Director, Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management, North Park University

Design a Successful Planned Giving Program
Presented by Robert Shafis, JD, Territorial Director of Planned Giving, The Salvation Army, Central Territory

Telling Your Story and Making the Ask: Connect the Dots
Presented by Mary Morten, President, Morten Group LLC

Career Mapping for Your Next Strategic Move
Presented by Nurys Harrigan Pedersen, President, Careers In Nonprofits

Activate Your Strengths, Elevate Your Organization
Presented by Monika Black, PhD, Co-Founder and Chief Strategist, TandemSpring

Preparing for Your Year End Audit
Presented by Jim Quaid, CPA, Director, Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams, Ltd. (ORBA) and Harry Fox, CPA, Manager at Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams, Ltd. (ORBA)

Fall 2017 series

Gearing Up for #GivingTuesday (FREE)
Presented by Sarah Barnes, MBA, Director, Marketing and Business Development and Kelsey Nelson, MA, Associate Consultant, Campbell & Company

More Efficient, More Effective: Getting More Done in the Same Amount of Time
Presented by Gretchen Slusser, President, thredpartners

From Burden to Benefit: Boards as Partners through Turbulent Times
Presented by Roslind Blasingame-Buford, EdD, President and CEO, LINK Unlimited Scholars

Investing in Millennial Talent
Presented by Sandee Kastrul, President and Co-founder, i.c. stars

Demystifying Donor Advised Funds (FREE)
Presented by Jacob M. Drescher, MBA, Financial Adviser, Cooper Meyer Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors

More than a Grant: Cultivating Relationships with Foundations
Presented by Claudette G. Baker, President, Claudette G. Baker & Associates, Inc.

Spring 2017 series

The Essential Guide to Real Estate for Your Nonprofit (FREE)
Presented by Tim Ryan, MBA, President, Managing Broker, Monarch Realty

Building on Team Strengths for Organizational Success
Presented by Monika Black, PhD, Co-founder, Chief Strategist, TandemSpring

Planned Giving Primer
Presented by Robert Shafis, JD, Director of Major and Planned Gifts, Field Museum

Beyond Show and Tell: Connecting with Funders for a Meaningful Site Visit
Presented by Frank Baiocchi, MA, Senior Program Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation

The Journey to High Performance
Presented by Debra B. Natenshon, MS, Founder and Chief Consultant, DBN & Associates, L3C

Program Evaluation Doesn’t Have to be a Monkey Wrench
Presented by Salvatore Alaimo, PhD, Associate Professor, Grand Valley State University

The Three G’s of Board Service: Give, Get or Get Off
Presented by Mary Morten, President and Principal Consultant, Morten Group

Understanding Your Form 990 (FREE)
Presented by Jim Quaid, CPA, Director and Tanya Gierut, CPA, Tax Professional, ORBA

Fall 2016 Workshop Series

Ensure Organizational Leadership: Succession Planning for All
Presented by Tom VandenBerk, CEO Emeritus, UCAN

Fearless Fundraising With Your Board: Building Relationships That Last!
Presented by Mary Morten, President and Principal Consultant, Morten Group

Federal Funding 101: Demystifying Your Search in a Changing Landscape
Presented by Deidra Somerville, MSW, CFRE, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs, Roosevelt University

Gearing Up for #Giving Tuesday
Presented by Caitlin Bristow, JD, Consultant, Campbell & Company

Making Waves as a Thought Leader
Presented by Susy Schultz, President, Public Narrative

Partnering for Success: How to Effectively Engage Nonprofit Consulting Services
Presented by Heather Greenwell, Vice President of Consulting, Executive Service Corps of Chicago (ESC)

Together We Are Stronger: A Real Solution to Complex Problems
Presented by Gretchen Slusser, President, thredpartners and Joseph Mole, MSW, (Former) Executive Director, Emmaus House

What’s Next? Unlock the Potential of a Career Map
Presented by Shannon Deamer, MA, Managing Director, Careers In Nonprofits, Chicago and Atlanta

When Volunteers are More Valuable than Money
Presented by Elizabeth Schwan-Rosenwald, Chief External Relations Officer, Taproot Foundation

Past Workshop Series Offerings

Spring 2016 Workshops


Contact the Axelson Center via email or at (773) 244-6284.