The Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential is the only national nonprofit credential preparing students (undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate) for careers in nonprofit management. 

This group is a powerful network of professionals who are leading some of the country’s most successful social-impact organizations. In addition, the national and local nonprofit organizations that are part of the Alliance network hire more than 50,000 people annually. These are organizations that value the training and preparation that is core to the CNP program.  Recent research completed by an independent organization shows that CNPs are seven times (7x!) more likely to rise to director+ level than their non-CNP peers. 

Due to the unique combination of classroom training, practical experience and leadership activities, CNPs get hired and rise more quickly in their organizations. Plus, CNPs have access to CNP Launch, an exclusive matching system that connects our students and CNPs with nonprofits that are hiring interns and employees.

Four Core Components of Earning Your CNP

1) Coursework through the Alliance’s network of colleges and universities

  • Students receive education and training in the core competencies that nonprofit managers want when they hire new employees.
  • Students completing the program must have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.


    1. Communication, Marketing and Public Relations
      Highlights knowledge, attitudes and activities that nonprofit organizations use to understand, inform and influence their various constituencies
    2. Cultural Competency and Diversity
      Highlights the development of cultural competency preparation for professional practice in culturally diverse settings
    3. Financial Resource Development and Management
      Highlights financial resource acquisition, budgeting, financial management, control and transparency in nonprofit organizations
    4. Foundations & Management of the Nonprofit Sector
      Highlights the history, contributions, and unique characteristics of the nonprofit sector and its management
    5. Governance, Leadership and Advocacy
      Highlights the stewardship and advocacy roles, responsibilities and leadership of the board of directors, staff and volunteers in the development of policies, procedures, and processes by which nonprofits operate and are held accountable
    6. Legal and Ethical Decision Making
      Highlights basic laws, regulations and professional standards that govern nonprofit sector operations, including a basic knowledge of risk and crisis management, ethics, and decision-making
    7. Personal and Professional Development
      Highlights the nature of employment in the nonprofit sector, from researching career opportunities, applying and interview for a job, to continuing professional development
    8. Program Development
      Highlights program design, implementation, and evaluation strategies applicable to all nonprofits (youth services, arts, environment, health, recreation, social services, advocacy, etc.)
    9. Volunteer and Human Resource Management
      Highlights the knowledge, skills, and techniques for managing volunteer and paid staff
    10. Future of the Nonprofit Sector 
      Highlights the dynamic nature of the nonprofit sector, the importance of continuous improvement, emerging trends and innovations, and the critical role research plays in shaping best practices

2) Internship or professional experience at a nonprofit organization

  • A minimum of 300 internship hours is required (those working in the nonprofit sector might be exempt).
  • Internship stipends in the amount of $1,500 are available on a competitive basis.

3) National conference

  • Students have the opportunity to attend the Alliance Management Institute: a national nonprofit career development conference where they 1) meet local and national thought leaders, 2) participate in real and mock interviews, and 3) have the unique experience of serving as a consultant to an existing nonprofit organization.

4) Leadership and service activities

  • Students participate in a wide variety of activities that support classroom learning and prepare them for future leadership roles.
  • Students participate in the nonprofit student association on their campuses, which connects them with the national nonprofit student association.