Nonprofit Board Certification

Guidance for Strengthening Your Board Service

The Nonprofit Board Certificate Program offers guidance for those serving or planning to serve on nonprofit boards. Our program defines the roles and responsibilities for board service.

Matthew Downey, our resident expert in board governance teaches the certificate program. Matthew Downey has worked in the nonprofit sector as a consultant, program manager and development officer for more than 20 years. Presently, Matthew serves as the program director for Nonprofit Services where he oversees the Johnson Center’s technical assistance and capacity building services for nonprofit organizations. In this capacity, he is a frequent speaker and instructor on a wide array of nonprofit management issues and offers one-on-one technical assistance to nonprofit organizations across the state of Michigan. His areas of expertise include fund development, governance, board/staff relationships and general nonprofit management issues.

The program is a four-hour workshop that includes the following topics:

1. The Roles and Responsibilities of Being on a Board

  • Prevalence and impact of nonprofit organizations
  • How nonprofit organizations operate
  • Board roles and responsibilities

2. Legal Responsibilities and Liabilities of the Board

  • The nonprofit organization as a legal entity
  • The legal “duties” and responsibilities of board members
  • Legal liabilities of board members
  • Sarbanes-Oxley and nonprofit board service

3. Nonprofit Fundraising and the Board

  • Revenue sources of nonprofit organizations
  • Donor motivations
  • Truths about fundraising
  • Prospecting individual donors

4. Nonprofit Financial Management and Board Structures

  • Evolving issues facing nonprofits and their boards
  • Nonprofit and for-profit finances: What are the differences?
    • Nonprofit income statement
    • Nonprofit audits
    • IRS Form 990
  • Nonprofit Board Committees and Taskforces
    • Elected position
    • Recruitment

If you are interested in training for your business or organization, contact Kevin Peterson for information on arranging a customized training for at or call 616-331-7585.