The Nonprofit Board Leadership Program (NBLP) provides an opportunity for students to simultaneously conduct a pro bono consulting project for a nonprofit organization, while also serving as a board observer. The program was created in response to the high level of student interest in nonprofit board service and nonprofit organizations’ growing need for board members with business training and experience.
Participating students gain:
- Practical experience to help them better understand strategic and tactical issues facing nonprofit boards;
- Insight into the differing roles of board members and nonprofit managers and the challenges both parties encounter in driving the nonprofit’s success;
- Inspiration and excitement in anticipation of contributing as future board members in the nonprofit sector.
The program has three components: training sessions at the School; observation of the nonprofit organization and its board or appropriate committees of the board; and a student project conducted with the alumnus and the executive director of the relevant nonprofit organization.
Alumni play a key role in the program. Each alumnus introduces the student to the executive director of the nonprofit organization, and together they agree on a project to be completed during the course of the academic year. This project bolsters the alumnus board member’s and executive director’s understanding of an issue important to the nonprofit and provides the student with a meaningful experience that draws on his or her course work at the School. Before attending any board or committee meetings, students are expected to have gained an understanding of the nonprofit as a whole. To that end, we expect students to observe the nonprofit’s operations by attending one or more staff meetings and serving as a volunteer, if applicable.
"Through the Nonprofit Board Leadership Program, students have the opportunity to apply their business talents and energy to real-world projects and come away with insights into board management gained through first-hand experience. The program provided our organization with invaluable skills to complete critical research and compile leading edge industry data. The work completed will be transformative for our organization.”
Melissa Raso ‘96
“I am learning as much from the students as they are from me and I feel lucky that some of these friendships will last a lifetime. It is an honor to be part of the NBLP, Columbia Business School’s best kept secret.”