Executive Programme: Career Transition to the Non-Profit Sector

How to move from the For-Profit to the Non-Profit Sector

Download the programme brochure here.

Content (modules):

The Non-Profit Sector
This module provides a comprehensive introduction into international cooperation for sustainable development and humanitarian action. Participants are offered a historical overview of competing concepts and discuss political and economical options, perspectives and trends for the future. Senior managers from international organisations discuss current challenges based on real-life case studies in both the development and humanitarian fields.

Individual Career Aspirations and Career Perspectives
Participants learn about the key differences between the for-profit and the non-profit sector and the defining elements of successful NPOs. This module includes a self-assessment of competencies and interests. Through individual interviews, career aspirations are identified and possible choices are elaborated upon and discussed based on the results of the initial self-assessment.

Governance, Leadership and Management in Non-Profit Organisations
This module focuses on the core experience of our experts who share hands-on skills and practical tools for the effective leadership and management of NPOs. Participants learn about the main governance models in national and international organisations, their respective advantages and disadvantages, and about effective leadership and management in NPOs, the key to an organisation’s performance and impact.

Strategic Management
Successfully leading and managing a non-profit organisation involves making and implementing strategic decisions concerning how to maintain an organisation’s direction whilst continuously improving performance and impact in an ever-changing environment. Leaders and managers require a wide and diverse range of competencies to successfully motivate and facilitate strategic development and drive real sustainable change.

Shared Experiences and Insights into Successful Career Transition
Hear from those who have moved from the private sector to the non-profit sector. Several speakers recapitulate how they succeeded in developing their careers in the non-profit sector; they share the highs and the lows during their own career transition period, and reveal what worked and what did not. The speakers offer interesting tips and advice on how to best prepare for the changes you will face and develop an appropriate job search strategy.

How to best embark on a career in the non-profit sector
Which core competencies, knowledge, skills and experience do you have that would make a difference in the non-profit sector? What is your USP (unique selling proposition)? Participants review their CV based on the work covered in module 2. With the guidance and support of the trainers, participants benefit from individual interviews with sector specialists in development
cooperation and humanitarian action to discuss career options and possibilities (a total of 3 hours of individual interviews is offered to each participant).

Financial Management and Communication
Participants learn about the core competencies of financial management within a non-profit setting, including planning and monitoring of budgets, strategic financial management, and managing finance effectively to maximise organisational and programme impact. This module also covers how to achieve strong financial communication with management committee members, donors, partners and other stakeholders

Strategic Communications and External Relations
This module follows a three-step process in order to build capacity in managing the communication activities in a non-profit organisation, from planning to implementation through to evaluation. Applying a strategic approach, emphasis is placed on the overall communication of the organisation, its activities, purpose and objectives.

Project Cycle Management in Non-Profit Organisations
This comprehensive module provides fast-track training on how project management is undertaken in non-profit organisations. The module is designed for project managers from any sector and provides training and insight into all phases of NPO project cycle management in a compact format. From needs assessment to the designing and planning of projects, this module also covers monitoring, implementation and preparing evaluations. Participants also discuss the differences between good practices in the two sectors.

Resource Mobilisation
This module offers practical tools and a structured approach into how to successfully sustain an organisation’s activities, through mobilising funds, in-kind contributions and volunteer talent. Participants also explore the marketing and strategic elements of resource mobilisation to enable funding of the organisation or its activities, plus how to elaborate grant proposals. How do you create and develop corporate partnerships and how do you approach individuals and major donors?

cinfo job market presentation : The Swiss Job Market in International Cooperation

Interview in German on jobs in the non-profit sector in the Swiss business magazine Bilanz (08/2014) with NMA’s Executive Director Marco Kirschbaum (English version here).

Geneva Skyline

Making the transition from the private sector to a career in the non-profit sector presents several challenges:

  • How to translate knowledge and competencies acquired in the private sector into those needed in non-profit organisations (NPOs)?
  • Which hard and soft skills are needed?
  • What are the principal differences between the sectors?
  • How to be competitive in the job market for non-profit organisations?

This intensive 20-day programme enables you to identify the competencies and skills you could bring to the non-profit sector to enhance performance and impact. It is organised and facilitated by experts from both sectors to help you define your service offer and unique selling point (USP) when applying to key positions within local and international NPOs.

Participants obtain in-depth knowledge and valuable insight into working in national and international development and humanitarian organisations. Our expert trainers provide valuable tools and methods while exploring with you approaches to the management and sustainable development of NPOs.

An additional six hours of tailored individual support and coaching is offered to participants. Individual discussions focus on themes of personal relevance to help you to develop choices for a rewarding career in the non-profit sector.

The programme also includes valuable opportunities to discuss career perspectives with managers and leaders of internationally active non-profit organisations, with HR specialists and with managers who have successfully transitioned from for-profit companies and established their career in the non-profit sector.

Course Methodology

Each module is tailor-made. NMA trainers are experts in their field. Modules feature presentations, experiential learning and sharing experiences, facilitated discussions, individual and participative group activities.

Facilitators, Trainers and Coaches

They bring in professional experience working for international non-profit organisations from over 20 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well from the private sector.


The course is intended for managers, leaders and specialists from the private and public sector looking to build a successful career in the non-profit sector, including those from the following sectors:

  • Banking and finance
  • Communication, multi-media
  • Marketing
  • HR, IT
  • Administration

To obtain the detailed Career Transition Programme, please call us at +41 22 731 76 66, or email us at courses(at)ngomanager.org.