Leaders for Change 2023 - Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership & Management


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Leaders for Change 2023 - Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership & Management

The September intake of this programme is now full. Contact Regina Dunne by emailing regina.dunne@ncirl.ie to join the waiting list and be the first to hear about registration for the January 2024 programme.

Run by the National College of Ireland, Leaders for Change is a level 9 Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management is an applied programme, aimed at improving specific, managerial and leadership competencies for managers and executives in Irish nonprofit organisations. 

The course combines academic evidence-based practices with practitioner-led knowledge and skills. The faculty are drawn from academia and from qualified senior managers/CEOs who work within capacity building and research organisations within the nonprofit sector in Ireland and internationally.

The course will focus on very specific and emerging managerial issues in the sector, which are not generally found in conventional MA/MSc/MBA programmes, other than those which focus exclusively on the nonprofit sector. Learners receive very specific 360-degree feedback on their own leadership behaviours as seen by their peers, colleagues, direct reports etc. using a validated instrument.

The managerial portions of the programme (10 of 15 ECTS) addresses, in a foundational way, many of the contemporary issues faced by Irish managers in the nonprofit sector. Topics and skills such as reflective practice, conflict management, emotional intelligence at work, nonprofit governance, managing culture, HR and performance management, impact measurement, change management, influencing government and advocacy, information management, social media and personal presentation skills differentiate the programme from conventional management programmes. While the knowledge base is developed from an empirical perspective, the core focus is on helping learners migrate the knowledge base into a new set of competencies.

Overall Learning Focus

  • Nonprofit Change Management
  • Emerging Management
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Outcome Measurement
  • External Environment and Stakeholder Conflicts
  • Model Leadership Behaviours
  • Implementing Leadership-Driven Changes.

On successful completion of the programme, the learner will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the knowledge and skills to manage an Outcomes Measurement study, using qualitative analytical tools and have the business acumen to analyse and research organizational gaps, opportunities, strategic challenges and how the solutions can be implemented successfully
  • Acquire, interpret and analyse current theories, principles and practices in management and leadership with specific emphasis on the non profit sector and the emerging strategic issues facing the sector in a climate of reduced funding
  • Analyse cause-effect relationships in managerial and leadership settings and make appropriate recommendations to Boards with the skill and knowledge sets to develop and implement agreed plans
  • Critically analyse business issues in nonprofit organisations, understand the external environment and stakeholder conflicts, formulate evidence-based hypothesis and inform organizational strategy
  • Articulate a clear rationale for decisions and proposed strategic solutions and take responsibility for providing solutions to complex and ambiguous problems arising in a nonprofit management context
  • Model leadership behaviours in the delivery of proposed organisational solutions, in the context of the nonprofit sector
  • Understand inherent team, stakeholder and member conflicts and develop appropriate strategies for implementing leadership-driven changes.

Upon completing the programme, the learner will also have acquired:

  • Knowledge and understanding of key emerging management, strategic, advocacy and change management issues facing the sector.
  • Specific knowledge of seminal work on leadership, ethical leadership, organisational toxicity and outcomes measurement.


Two days per month; Attendance at college (online or on-campus subject to guidelines) for three x 3-day blocks and one x 2-day block (11 days total). These blocks will be run over a 6-month or less period, allowing students spend time on applying the evidence-based principles learned, completing applied projects as part of their assessment and focusing on independent learning.

Module Date Time Delivery
Course Block One Monday, 11 September 2023 10am-4.30pm On-campus
  Tuesday, 12 September 2023 10am-4.30pm Online
  Wednesday, 13 September 2023 10am-4.30pm Online
Course Block Two Monday, 9 October 2023 10am-4.30pm Online
  Tuesday, 10 October 2023 10am-4.30pm Online
  Wednesday, 11 October 2023 10am-4.30pm Online
Course Block Three Monday, 13 November 2023 10am-4.30pm Online
  Tuesday, 14 November 2023 10am-4.30pm Online
  Wednesday, 15 November 2023 10am-4.30pm On-campus
Course Block Four Monday, 11 December 2023 10am-4.30pm Online
  Tuesday, 12 December 2023 10am-4.30pm On-campus

Awards & Progressions

Graduates will receive a Special Purpose Award (15 credits) awarded by QQI at level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Successful graduates of the programme are likely to emerge as future senior managers or CEOs of indigenous nonprofit organisations, or develop further career progression in their current nonprofit organisation.

Entry Requirements

Applicants are required to hold a minimum of a 2.2 honours degree at level 8 or equivalent on the National Framework of Qualifications. Applications may also be considered under the college’s Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) policy and this is likely to be particularly germane to the nonprofit sector managers who do not hold an undergraduate degree but have substantive work and managerial experience. This programme requires applicants to have previous work and managerial/team leader experience.

Course Fee

The cost of this course is €1,575.

For a full course description and to apply for entry, please visit the NCI website here.

How to register

The September intake of this programme is now full. Contact Regina Dunne by emailing regina.dunne@ncirl.ie to join the waiting list and be the first to hear about registration for the January 2024 programme.


Testimonials / Feedback

Fully 91% of respondents from the last Leaders for Change reported that the course is better, or much better, than any course they had taken previously.

"I was surprised by the impact the course had on my work life, and how it also transferred to other aspects of my life, it had a really positive impact." - senior leader, tourism

"The 360 degree feedback piece was invaluable." - senior leader, addiction services

"It has been absolutely invaluable to get a greater insight into my own leadership skills and deficits. I definitely would not have had this awareness without doing the course." - senior leader, disability service

"The biggest learning for me has been to understand my core values and principles."  - senior leader, youth services

"It's about putting an academic framework on what are the best management practices that research has shown work. Some of them I am doing already and it's putting a name on these, and then realising I do not do enough other, and learning some new skills." - senior leader, youth services

Who should attend

The September intake of this programme is now full.