Nonprofit Learning Institute



Presented by Bank of America and Philanthropy Massachusetts, the Nonprofit Learning Institute each year brings twenty nonprofit organizations from a broad cross-section of​the nonprofit sector together to participate in a series of technical assistance and capacity building sessions. Each organization sends two attendees to sessions led by experts from leading service organizations and/or consultants in different topic areas. In addition to the sessions, there are a number of supplementary opportunities to meaningfully engage, network, and share experiences with your peer participants. The program was founded in 2011 and is sponsored by Bank of America. Over the last seven years, this program has increased the effectiveness of 140 nonprofit organizations from throughout Massachusetts.

2019 Nonprofit Learning Institute

Nonprofit Learning Institute 2019 Session Descriptions:

  • Launch of Nonprofit Learning Institute (January 8, 2019, 8:00am - 8:30am)
    This will be the orientation for the Nonprofit Learning Institute. During this orientation, we will go over goals and expectations for the program, as well as learn more about the organizations in the program.
  • Board Engagement & Development (January 8, 2019, 8:30am-12:00pm)
    This session will focus on engaging and developing a board; purpose, roles and responsibilities of the board of directors; opportunities for board leadership; and, strategic board recruitment.

  • Capitalization & Financial Stability (February 5, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm)
    This session will cover the fundamentals of nonprofit finance including: how to read income statements and balance sheets and how to assess your organization’s financial picture, as well as a framework for understanding full costs. The focus will be on how to build financial strength over time to best support your mission and how to articulate your financial needs.
  • Communications & Marketing (March 5, 2019, 10:00am - 2:00pm)
    This session will cover marketing and communication strategies designed to help nonprofit organizations communicate their organizations’ mission and story in an effective way to reach a wide audience.
  • Development & Fundraising (April 9, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm)
    This session will include a panel of fundraising specialists who will walk participants through best practices around strategies for building capital, soliciting major gifts, and creating a strategic development plan.
  • Scaling & Strategic Planning (May 7, 2019, 1:00pm – 5:00pm)
    This session will walk participants through what it means to be strategic; how an organization can do so; and a truly strategic plan should look like. In addition, the presenter will discuss methods of scaling and questions to ask when considering scaling your organization.
  • Closing Reception (May 7, 2019, 5:00pm - 7:00pm)
    This will be a closing reception celebrating the work put in by participants throughout NPLI with the opportunity to meet with other organizations who have participated in the Nonprofit Learning Institute.


  • Organizations must have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in Massachusetts

  • Annual operating budget should be between $500,000 and $2 million
    (Budget size should not deter organizations from applying. Organizations outside this range will also be considered. See Application for details.)

  • Oganization must commit to have two organization representatives all sessions
    Representatives should be senior level staff or board members.


  • All sessions will be hosted at Bank of America (225 Franklin Street, 5th Floor, Post Office Square Room, Boston, MA 02110)

  • Food and refreshments will be served at each of the sessions

Application Timeline:

  • September 2018: Application released

  • November 9, 2018, 5:00 pm: Deadline for application submission

  • November 26, 2018: Participants notified of application status

  • January 2019 – May 2019: Nonprofit Learning Institute Sessions    

For the complete guidelines and application questions for the 2019 Nonprofit Learning Institute, please click here. Note that the application must be completed online, and the application questions in the following document are just for reference.



“It is definitely worth the time and effort. A large key to taking what is learned and implementing it is to have both board & staff representation at the sessions. It provides a great opportunity to hear the same story, share takeaways and to learn that your organization is not alone in its struggles and challenges. You build a sense of community and a stronger knowledge base of how you can meet some of the challenges”

"Having one consistent board member attend with me was really key in helping us implement some of the ideas from NPLI. This way, suggestions for change were coming from both a board member and the executive director, giving it more credibility and strength”

"This training is some of the best Boston has to offer, both for Board and staff. Excellent strategies that could be immediately implemented by motivated participants."

"Our board recruitment and vetting has become much more organized, as well as a formalized rotation plan so that the board continuously brings on new members and doesn't get stale”

“Very helpful for both board development and prospective donor ‘pitches.’ Was especially helpful to be able to bring key board members with me on specific subjects. They got a lot of out of it”

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