Professional Development


Workshops, Virtual Trainings, and Webinars

Upcoming Workshops and Webinars

The Axelson Center offers workshops, virtual trainings 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, or an executive director at an education-based nonprofit, the Axelson Center’s workshops, virtual trainings and webinars will re-energize you and prepare you to meet the nonprofit management challenges ahead of you.

Our programs are rooted in the Axelson Center’s seven Hallmarks of Nonprofit Managerial Excellence℠ — the essential elements of a successful nonprofit organization. When implemented, the Hallmarks will help move an organization forward on the path of mission fulfillment and better position it for long-term sustainability.

To receive the latest information about workshops, virtual trainings 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.


Fall Fundraising Series – Overview

Designed for development staff at small to medium-sized organizations, this series of workshops will build skills and engage different dimensions of fundraising.

Attend the free first session—a series overview held virtually—to learn strategies for strengthening practice and relationships in all areas of fundraising. At the end of the overview, presenters from each of the topic-specific workshops (fundraising strategy, grant writing, individual giving/annual appeals, online-giving and events) will give 5-minute introductions to their session so that you can chose which sessions you want to attend. You may choose to attend 1 or all! (For the best value, attend all sessions.)

Presented by Michelle Bibbs, Consultant, The Alford Group

Link to Registration Page

*This overview is free. Please click the link to see detailed pricing for the series.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

10 – 11:30 am




Fundraising Strategy

So you have a mission and a vision, but what is your revenue generation plan or fundraising strategy to make your programs happen? Complete session description coming soon.

Presented by Anedra Kerr, Senior Consulting Associate, Morten Group

Link to Registration Page

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

9 am – Noon

Click registration link to see detailed pricing.


Creating Well Crafted Appeals and Engaging Your Annual Fund Donors

Learn tips for crafting appeals to engage your annual fund donors. Participants will explore annual fund revenue goal setting, donor segmentation and tracking, and key components of appeal letters.

Presented by Sidney Freitag Fey, Director of Development and Communications, Delta Institute

Link to Registration Page

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

9 am – Noon

Click registration link to see detailed pricing.


Growing Your Digital Fundraising Audience

Gain a solid foundation of online fundraising and digital marketing that will help you increase donations – all based on data, testing, and research. Nathan Hill shares learnings from NextAfter’s first-of-its-kind digital fundraising research lab with the Axelson Center audience.

Presented by Nathan Hill, Consultant, Vice President of Marketing, NextAfter

Link to Registration Page

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

10 am – Noon

Click registration link to see detailed pricing.



Re-Thinking Nonprofit Events Post-Pandemic

The pandemic has turned the event industry upside-down. Some nonprofits were able to pivot, while others are trying to identify a strategy that will help them fundraise while minimizing risk. At this workshop, we will look at the components of a successful event and identify the risk associated with event management.

Presented by Melissa Lagowski, Founder/CEO, Big Buzz Idea Group

Link to Registration Page

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

9 am – Noon

Click registration link to see detailed pricing.


Axelson Access

Building Bridges Across Generations and Cultures: Women in Leadership

Hear organizational insights and personal stories from women leaders representing a variety of backgrounds and nonprofit subsectors. What are the lessons that women leaders can learn from one another? What cross-generational wisdom can be shared? Axelson Access is an opportunity for leaders to reimagine the work that they do.

Invited panelists: Irene Jisun Sohn, Executive Director, Hanul Family Alliance; Britney Robbins, CEO, The Gray Matter Experience; Linda Xóchitl Tortolero, CEO Mujeres Latinas en Accion

Link to Registration Page

Thursday, November 4, 2021

12 – 1:30 pm




Evidence-Based Grant Writing

We will share time-tested strategies for writing proposals that are grounded in evidence and set the stage for sound implementation, monitoring and evaluation.  We will show you how to develop a program logic model and take you through the entire grant cycle from ideation to project close. You will have an opportunity to apply lessons learned to prepare a mock pitch to funders and get feedback from your peers and instructor.

Presented by Valerie Leonard, Founder, Nonprofit Utopia, LLC

Link to Registration Page

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

9 am – Noon

Click registration link to see detailed pricing.


Budgeting and True Cost

A viable financial management strategy needs to address a vision for the future as well as incorporate an understanding of the past and present financial position of the organization. This workshop will help participants develop a well-designed budget process that facilitates programmatic, strategic, and fiscal discussions among the leadership team, resulting in a mission-driven budget.


Presented by Gillian Gorra, Senior Consultant, BDO FMA


Link to Registration Page

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

9 am – Noon

$90 Scholarships available


Managing People Effectively

Balancing one’s primary duties AND managing people may sometimes make managers feel like supervision of staff is the secondary component of their role. This session will help you change your paradigm of management to increase your overall productivity and satisfaction, while providing methods to build your skills to ensure your entire team is effective and efficient. 


Presented by Cori Moschberger, Integrated Advising

Link to Registration Page

Wednesday, December 3, 2021

9 am – Noon

$90 Scholarships available

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 2021

Managing Change and Motivation: A Three-Part Series for Seasoned Executive Directors

Is Your Job Search Plan Pandemic Proof: Navigating Today’s Job Market

Career Mapping in Uncertain Times

The State of Nonprofits 2021

Fall 2020

Leading Through Joy!

Digital Branding 101

Is Your Nonprofit Grant and Fundraising-Ready?

From Moments to Movements: Racial Justice for Nonprofits

Strengthen Your Core: Essential Practices for Small Nonprofits

Summer 2020 and prior

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


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