Professional Development Competencies

How to Develop Your Professional Development Competencies
The American Humanics certification program is competency-based, with a strong emphasis on experiential learning. Certification requirements are as follows: baccalaureate degree (any major) and achievement of competencies through coursework, internships, career workshops, the non-profit management seminar (PAF 5453), participation in the AH Student Association, and attendance at the AH Management Institute.

Coursework requirements include 18 credits distributed as follows. Some competencies may be met through coursework. Suggested courses are included in the section Professional Development Competencies. Other competencies may be met with volunteer activities, workshop participation, internship experience, and leadership skills.

Board/Committee Development
  • Explain the purpose of a nonprofit board and its role in the nonprofit organization
  • Demonstrate and awareness and understanding that board members themselves are volunteers
  • Discuss strategies for determining staff support needs for committees and boards
Community Outreach/Marketing and Public Relations
  • Explain the role of community outreach and community development activities in building public awareness of the mission and messages of nonprofit organizations
  • Demonstrate an understanding of public relations and marketing functions in a nonprofit organization
  • Describe the process for creating and implementing an effective marketing plan
Diversity Awareness
  • Demonstrate preparedness for professional practice in culturally diverse settings
  • Demonstrate interaction skills with diverse populations
  • Understand alternative views
  • Appreciate similarities and differences
  • Mindfully approach and successfully navigate encounters, dilemmas, and challenges with diverse populations

Coursework Options: Any 3000-level BHS or HSP or LACS or AAAS

Ethics and Values
  • Explain the importance of having standards and a code of conduct in a nonprofit organization
  • Explain the importance of accountability in a nonprofit organization
  • Explain the value of a commitment to the service of others

Coursework Requirement: PHI 1700    Ethical Theories

Fundraising Principles and Practices
  • Discuss the importance of developing fundraising activities that support the mission of the organization
  • Discuss the various form and methods of fundraising, including major gifts, planned giving, in-kind support, annual funds, grants and special events
  • Explain the variety of techniques and skills used to raise funds from a variety of sources
  • Discuss reason why individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies give to nonprofit organizations
  • Discuss the aspects of managing the fundraising process
  • Demonstrate the ability to write an organizational case statement and grant proposal
Historical & Philosophical Foundations
  • Describe the unique character and structure of nonprofit organizations and role in the civil society
  • Identify the various types of nonprofit organizations that compose the sector
  • Understand the historical, philosophical, religious, political, economic, and social forces that shaped the development of the nonprofit sector in contemporary American society

Coursework Options:
HIS 3450    Health Care in America
PHI 3055    Art and Public Policy
PSY 3072    Community Psychology
POL 2353    Public Policy
POL 3001    Women: Politics and Policy
POL/HIS 3005    Social Welfare Policy
POL 3310    Public Opinion
POL 3422    Urban Public Policy
SOC 3138    Sociology of Complex Organizations
SOC 3155    Urban Sociology
SOC 3170    Social Movements
SOC 3136    Social Welfare Institutions
SOC 3168    Social Change
SOC 3151    Social Issues and Social Policy
SOC 3156    Social Inequality
SOC 3157    Civil Society and Community Organizations

Information Management & Technology
  • Demonstrate basic computer literacy skills
  • Identify component parts of computer equipment and available technology
  • Explain the important of the role of information technology in the nonprofit sector
  • Discuss the social impact and responsibility of technology
  • Explain ethical considerations of using technology in the nonprofit sector
  • Demonstrate awareness and knowledge of technology resources

Coursework Options:
CIS 2200    Information Systems and Technology
CIS 3367    Microcomputer Applications in Business I

Nonprofit Accounting & Financial Management
  • Identify and explain the fundamental principles of nonprofit accounting
  • Explain components of, and procedures for, developing a budget for a nonprofit agency
  • Explain the principles and standards for effective control and monitoring of fiscal operations
  • Read and interpret financial statements and audit reports
Nonprofit Management
  • Explain the importance of a mission orientation and mission statement for nonprofit organizations
  • Explain the role of nonprofit organizations in advocacy and the public policy process
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of human resource and employment issues
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of strategic planning components
Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • Describe the process for developing and implementing new programs, including conducting a needs assessment for the targeted clientele
  • Describe the importance of building inclusive programs for diverse individuals and groups
  • Discuss scheduling considerations and challenges for activities and staffing
  • Discuss how programs may be promoted by accessing various media
  • Discuss criteria for evaluating program outcomes
Risk Management and Legal Issues
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of the basic laws and regulations under which nonprofits operate
  • Describe the four basic steps involved in risk management
  • Explain effective risk management and crisis management
Volunteer Management
  • Discuss the reasons why people do and do not volunteer
  • Explain techniques for the recruitment, orientation, training, motivation, supervision, evaluation, recognition and retention of volunteers
  • Explain the importance of fostering volunteer/staff relationships
  • Describe the components of a volunteer program
  • Describe the process used to plan, develop and implement a volunteer program
Youth and Adult Development
  • Describe the development stages and needs of youth and how they differ from those of adults
  • Explain the ways in which nonprofit organizations meet the development needs of youth and adults
  • Demonstrate ability to plan, organize and conduct activities that encourage and foster mentoring among youth and youth workers
  • Explain the importance of recognizing red flags and engaging in appropriate follow-up for child protection issues
  • Exlain the challenges faced, and special skills required, by youth workers
  • Discuss basic research findings in areas of youth development and mentoring
Foundation Competencies
Career Development and Exploration
  • Demonstrate personal commitment to the mission of a nonprofit organization
  • Discuss the personal rewards for a career in the nonprofit sector
  • Describe opportunities for careers in the nonprofit sector
  • Discuss the realities of the entry-level employment market, including opportunities for growth, the need for relocation and the expected salary ranges
  • Communicate the primary focus of the mission for three or four of American Humanics’ National Nonprofit Partners
Communications Skills
  • Use effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills
  • Use proper grammar and vocabulary in written and oral communication
  • Demonstrate effective public speaking skills
  • Use effective listening techniques
  • Demonstrate the ability to address various members of constituents groups appropriately

Coursework Requirement:
COM 1010    Speech Communication
ENG 2150    Writing II
Coursework Options:
COM 3020    Communication and Advocacy
COM 3069    Intercultural Communications
COM 3150    Business Communications

Employability Skills
  • Develop an effective resume
  • Prepare appropriate job search correspondence
  • Research a nonprofit organization to determine capability with personal values and goals
  • Prepare for an interview
  • Exhibit appropriate personal appearance
  • Demonstrate effective interviewing skills
  • Demonstrate appropriate interview follow-up practices
Personal Attributes
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude
  • Demonstrate initiative
  • Exhibit ethical and responsible behavior
  • Demonstrate honesty and integrity
  • Demonstrate the ability to be an effective team member
  • Demonstrate leadership characteristics
  • Demonstrate time-management skills
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