Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management

Professional Development Workshops and Webinars

The Axelson Center offers workshops and webinars, 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 and webinars will re-energize you and prepare you to meet the nonprofit management challenges ahead of you.

To receive the latest information about workshops and webinars via email, subscribe 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 and webinar offerings below.

Strengthen Your Core: Essential Practices for Small Nonprofits

Join us for our new program, “Strengthen your Core: Essential Practices for Small Nonprofits,” being held September 16th, 17th, 23rd and 24th for 1.5 hours each day. This series was designed specifically for small nonprofits (budget under $1M), and it will serve as a programmatic appetizer for the Axelson Center’s Bootcamp for New Nonprofit CEOs (coming January 6-8, 2021). If you are looking for professional development that will serve as a perfect beginning for a deeper investment in yourself as a leader, be sure to join us and 4 of our top presenters for this four day, intensive webinar series.

Attendance will be capped at 30 people to allow for dialogue and sharing of resources and best practices.

Please note special pricing for this series:

Early Bird – $50.00 – thru August 26
Reduced Price – $65.00 August 27 – September 9
Full Price – $75.00 September 10 – September 16

If you are interested in attending this webinar series, but recent events have made it financially difficulty for you or your organization, please email Mary Karen Reynolds at


Wednesday, September 16, 2020 10:00am – 11:30am
Design Tools for Small Organizations with Jennifer Madden, PhD, MNO, Director, Master of Business Design and Innovation Program, Carthage College
Design is a solution-finding approach to solving problems using collective creativity to strengthen individuals, teams and organizations. In this highly-interactive session, participants will learn how to utilize human-centered design tools such as logic modeling, statement starters and problem tree analysis to understand and redefine challenges, and identify viable, strategic solutions for leadership, innovation and program planning.

Thursday, September 17, 2020 10:00am – 11:30am
Financial Management with Gretchen Upholt, MPA, Lead Consultant, Midwest of FMA
Organizations with few staff members often face challenges finding people with the financial skills they need to lead their teams and implement strong internal controls. In this session, explore best practices and tools for staffing and risk management that will inspire confidence in your funders and partners.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 10:00am – 11:30am
Fundraising on a Shoestring: Common Tactics to Ensure your ROI with Sidney Freitag-Fey, MA, CFRE, Director of Development and Marketing, Delta Institute
Small nonprofits have distinct needs from larger development shops. Learn and discuss cost-effective fundraising approaches to maximize your time, decrease your expenses, and meaningfully engage new and current donors. We’ll collaboratively explore fundraising approaches, volunteer usage, portfolio management, and low- or no-cost ways to manage your fundraising (and some of your marketing) efforts.

Thursday, September 24, 2020 10:00am – 11:30am
Board Development with Mary Morten, President, Morten Group LLC
A well-functioning, engaged governing board is critical to the success of even the smallest nonprofit organization. In this session, learn how to strategically select board members to ensure a mix of skills and backgrounds appropriate for your organization’s needs and stage of development. Discuss how board policies such as term limits and “give/get” help engage directors while securing resources for the organization and why collaborative work between the board and executive leadership is important to organizational success. Every board member needs a success story about the work of your organization–how do you share your stories of hope and change?


Previous workshops this year:

Self-Care for Nonprofit Leaders

The Essentials of Major Gifts: Trends, Prospecting, Planning and Solicitation

Activate Your Strengths, Elevate Your Organization

Optimizing the Three T’s of Your Governing Board: Time, Talent and Treasure

Equity and Governance: Rethinking Best Practices

How to Use Your Newsletter to Strengthen Relationships (Free)


Journey to Conscious Inclusion: Understanding, Challenging and Managing Bias and Microinequities

Grant Writing for Beginners: Research, Approach, Write

Best Practices in Junior and Associate Boards

Digging Deeper into Digital Marketing for Mission Impact

Axelson Access Event: Nonprofits and the Future of Chicago

Understanding Full Costs of Programs

Fundraising 101

Honest Conversations About Leading

Storytelling for Nonprofit Leaders: Connecting the Personal to the Professional

Understanding Your Form 990

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.


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