Arrive in Seattle early to join us for additional educational sessions before BLF.

BLF Pre-Sessions

The Board’s Role in Fundraising

Download session materials – Handout #1

October 18 | 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Leadership from the board of directors is a critical component in nonprofit fundraising success. Is your board comfortable in its fundraising role? Do your board members know the steps to successful fundraising? Do they know that fundraising is really not about asking for money? Do you know how to engage your board in meaningful fundraising? This interactive workshop will answer these questions and identify resources to assist you in helping your board fulfill its responsibility to fundraise. You will learn

  • the reality of today’s nonprofit environment
  • why the board must have a culture of fundraising
  • why having the right board is critical for effective fundraising
  • how to gracefully retire some board members and recruit others
  • how to strategically maintain a strong fundraising board
  • the importance of the staff and board team in fundraising
  • why mission is critical in fundraising success
  • that donor cultivation and stewardship trumps solicitation
  • how hoard members can be great fundraisers and never ask for money
  • why the board’s fundraising  or development committee does not fundraise
  • why board members must make leadership gifts
  • how board members can help in planned giving

If you are a development professional or nonprofit CEO, consider bringing one or more board members with you. The more board members you bring, the closer you will be to making progress.  Staff members who attend alone will walk out wishing their board members had heard this message. Create a team and create change.

No cost to participate! Registration is required to participate.

Register now

Certificate of Nonprofit Board Leadership for Board Officers

October 18 | 8:30 am – 4:00 pm

Nonprofit board officers play a unique and essential role in advancing the work of a nonprofit organization through their strong and effective leadership. In this session designed for board chairs, vice chairs, treasurers, secretaries, and those moving into these roles, we will explore the practice of transformative governance.

This session will also include approximately one hour of joint learning and sharing with the chief executives participating in the Leadership Certificate for Nonprofit Chief Executives program. Please encourage your chief executive to attend this program.

$499 Members | $599 Nonmembers

Register now

Leadership Certificate for Nonprofit Chief Executives

October 18 | 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

The BoardSource Leadership Certificate for Nonprofit Chief Executives education and training program is designed to help chief executives work effectively and efficiently to build a constructive partnership with the board. Whether you are new to the position or a seasoned leader, you will learn practical approaches to some of the most challenging aspects of the job.

This session will also include approximately one hour of joint learning and sharing with board officers participating in the Certificate of Nonprofit Board Leadership for Board Officers training. Please consider sending a team of your board leaders to this program.

$499 Members | $599 Nonmembers

Register now

Purpose-Driven Practice: A Day of Learning & Sharing for Consultant Members

October 18 | 8:30 am – 4:00 pm

Nonprofits and their leaders look to consultants to help them increase their impact in a constantly changing environment. Whether you specialize in large, medium, or small organizations, education or environmental protection, social enterprise or strategic planning, you are seeing clients that have likely experienced a host of actual — and proposed — changes in 2017.

The consultants-only day is designed to inform, inspire, and invigorate you in new ways — all in support of the purpose-driven practice you desire. Come join your peers for a day of networking, learning, problem-solving, and considered dialogue.

Together, we’ll

  • identify trends we’re seeing in boardrooms and issues we should be thinking about
  • employ our collective intellectual capital to real challenges
  • expand our exposure to consulting strategies and frameworks
  • network and meet new friends with shared interests

Here’s what participants have had to say about past gatherings:

  • Thanks for a great day! This is definitely a value add to the CGT and I look forward to more.
  • Thank you for creating such a fun learning environment.
  • The keynote speaker was dynamic and engaging. I can’t wait to pour over the tools.
  • Loved sharing resources and challenges.
$199 Members | This event is restricted to Consultant members and Certified Governance Trainers only. This event is free to Certified Governance Trainers.

Register now


Ruth-BernsteinRuth Bernstein

Assistant Professor in Nonprofit Studies, University of Washington Tacoma

Ruth Bernstein, PhD, is an assistant professor in nonprofit studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. She earned her doctorate of management degree from Case Western Reserve University. Ruth is a regular presenter at ARNOVA (Association for Research in Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action). Her publication and research interests focus on (1) diversity, intercultural interactions, and inclusion within multicultural communities, including nonprofit boards, voluntary organizations, and universities, and (2) nonprofit governance. For the past two years, Ruth has served as a member of the governance section for ARNOVA. She is active with many Tacoma-area nonprofits.

Jenifer Gager Holland

Senior Director of Programs & Consulting, BoardSource

Jenifer Holland directs BoardSource’s consulting practice and helps lead the organization’s research-to-practice and sector leadership initiatives. In addition to supporting BoardSource’s governance knowledge creation and management, she is active in career development for social sector professionals as a mentor and peer.

Jenifer joined BoardSource in 2012. Prior to that, she was program manager at The Finance Project. Jenifer also helped found and served as executive director for the Alliance for Community Enhancement, a youth mentoring organization in New York City. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Washington.

Vernetta-WalkerVernetta Walker

Chief Governance Officer and Vice President of Programs, BoardSource

Vernetta Walker, JD, has worked with many national and international nonprofit organizations addressing a wide range of governance issues, from how to start a nonprofit organization, to improving board engagement and performance and restructuring complex entities. Her areas of expertise include board roles and responsibilities, board self-assessments, understanding conflicts of interest and legal compliance, exceptional practices, and transformative governance. Vernetta provides governance counsel, training, and solution-based strategies to clients, which have included Habitat for Humanity International, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, YMCA, Smart Start agencies, US Black Chamber, and the Concordia University system, among others. Vernetta also leads BoardSource’s diversity and inclusion work to help nonprofit boards address the challenges and obstacles of integrating successful diversity and inclusion strategies and practices.

Vernetta brings a broad depth of knowledge and expertise to BoardSource. She practiced law for a large firm in Orlando, Florida, for several years and also served as associate general counsel for the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, rendering technical assistance, consulting, and training to many of its 1400 member organizations. Prior to Maryland Nonprofits, Vernetta served as foundation advocacy counsel for the Alliance for Justice and as director of the Administration of Justice Grants Program for the Florida Bar Foundation.

Vernetta is a contributing author to Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals, a Jossey-Bass publication (2011), and Investing in Change: A Funder’s Guide to Supporting Advocacy, an Alliance for Justice publication (2004). She has served on several boards, including Planned Parenthood, Lynx (Orlando’s regional transportation authority), the Paul C. Perkins Bar Association, and the Valencia Community College Advisory Board. She received a JD degree from the Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, Missouri, and a BA degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. She is admitted to the Florida and Maryland state bars.

Certificate of Nonprofit Board Consulting

October 16 – 18 | 8:30 am – 5:00 pm (Breakfast: 8:00 am – 8:30 am) 

To better meet the ongoing need for governance training among nonprofit organizations throughout the country, BoardSource has created the Certificate of Nonprofit Board Consulting. This three-day course is designed to heighten the skills and abilities of those who currently, or would like to, consult and train nonprofit boards of directors on governance issues.

SOLD OUT. If you would like to be put on the waiting list for this program, please email