According to a 2017 survey from The Bridgespan Group, 80% of nonprofit leaders said innovation was a key component for their organization but only half of them said they were equipped to grow in this area.
“Leaders have to be able to innovate,” said Katie Appold, executive director of Do More Good and Nonprofit Hub. “We used to have this mentality that if you could run the financials or could hire, you were equipped to take the organization to the next level. Those skills and having that understanding are important, but you have to have creativity, innovation and the ability to think of things in a new way — be willing to test new avenues.”
Cultivating innovation empowers leaders to combine their business content knowledge with new ways to grow their organization. With this approach, leaders can better meet the needs of their communities.
Prepared to lead with practical experience
Professional development experience gained through a Master of Public Administration program equips current and aspiring leaders to approach organizational change and development with innovation and influence.
Pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission, this new graduate program at Cornerstone University will prepare leaders with a practical curriculum to make data-driven decisions that result in a sustainable, thriving organization.
Students will specialize their learning in either nonprofit leadership or social justice to be equipped for the work they have been called to, such as careers in health care, community services or ministry. Foundational to this growth is gaining skills through collaboration.
“Part of what makes me so excited about this M.P.A. degree program is that it has marketing as a core component, and it also has some heightened collaboration that I don’t see in other programs,” Appold said.
Students navigate through each course with a community of current, aspiring and future leaders who bring new insights and opportunities for furthering their work and influence in the nonprofit sector.
“In our M.P.A. program, adult learners will have the opportunity to interact with faculty who are active and leading in the nonprofit sector,” said Dr. Graham McKeague, dean of human services at Cornerstone’s Professional & Graduate Studies. “Also, as part of a dynamic, cohort-based learning environment, they will be surrounded by others who are in similar roles and facing related challenges.”
Collaborating with others inspires fresh ideas and incorporates diverse perspectives to cultivate positive transformation.
“A mistake leaders can make is thinking that we have complete knowledge or that the way we’re doing it is the best way to do it,” Appold said. “We have to have the humility to understand that there may be another way to do something better. It’s a way of continually growing in excellence.”
By investing in innovation today, nonprofit leaders can step into areas of need and cultivate lasting, sustainable change for their organizations and community.
Inspire your community for positive change
Tomorrow’s nonprofit organizations need influential and innovative leaders today. Discover how you can be equipped with the resources and knowledge to meet the needs of your community with a Master of Public Administration. Pending HLC approval, the first program cohort launches in September.
Visit adult.cornerstone.edu/mpa-grbj to learn more.