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NPO Resilience by Nedbank Private Wealth

Gain the tools you need to strengthen and futureproof your non-profit

This course is created by Trialogue and offered free through sponsorship from Nedbank Private Wealth. 

As non-profits come under increasing financial and capacity pressure, it’s vital they strengthen against future shocks. Dwindling resources, financial pressures, staff shortages, scant public services and lack of vital information make doing good harder than ever. The Covid-19 pandemic has stretched organisations even thinner, while the need for services has increased.  

The need for the services of non-profit organisations (NPOs) has never been greater. Yet, more than half of South African non-profits have no effective future plan and zero cash reserves. 

An NPO with resilience, developed through insight and skill, is stronger, more efficient, delivers better services and is more attractive to funders.  

How do you, as an NPO leader, ensure your organisation is resilient? 


Chief Development Officer, National Institute for the Deaf

“It was really one of the best courses I have done in my 33 years working at NGOs.” 

Fundraiser, Living Through Learning

“I learnt how to fundraise with a difference, to reach more donors and to think of more innovative ways to reach fundraising goals.”

Chairperson, Mbhashe Community Radio Station Eastern Cape

“The course made move out of what I thought was a comfort zone of knowledge, and think out of the box, based on examples given. I learnt almost everything in this course, not to be just a leader and see your team as just any other employee, but to understand the human behind the employee.”

Progamme Manager, Centre for Early Childhood Development

“I already knew about the importance of partnerships and collaboration. But, this course highlighted how important these are and how it can be used as a tool to innovate, especially during a crisis. I want to start proactively building partnerships so that they can be leveraged during a time of crisis.”

Chief Resources Officer, National Institute for the Deaf

“I learnt the importance of providing monthly mental health days to prevent staff burnout, and about moving away from the old thinking that you have to be at work for 8 hours. The productivity when you are at work is more important than the amount of hours at work.”

What level is the course?

This course is for non-profit leaders, managers, board members and executives who need to equip themselves with tools to build and manage a more resilient NPO. 

The material is also of value to corporate funders who wish to gain greater insight into healthy NPOs and understand how to apply this knowledge in their corporate social investment (CSI) strategies. 

Course description

This course provides a comprehensive toolbox of resources and knowledge to help you strengthen your non-profit organisation, while planning to manage future threats. 

A practical toolkit for NPOs

Developed in partnership with Nedbank Private Wealth, this course offers  comprehensive training on resilience for NPOs. It will help you identify threats and opportunities, make meaningful change to your organisation and meet the unique challenges of supporting and uplifting society. 

Real-world insights from leading experts

This course was conceptualised using lessons learned from the Nedbank Private Wealth Innovation Awards for non-profits. It includes valuable insights from the most successful entrants. You’ll also get well-researched expertise from Trialogue and relevant advice from leading international non-profits, to help you build a stronger organisation. 

Learn in your own time

Total learning time is approximately 8 hours, and each lesson takes an average of only ten minutes to deliver the essentials of each subject. Additional resources are provided so you can dig deeper. You’ll also have opportunities to reflect and answer questions so that you can apply your new skills as you learn.  

What will you discover in this course?

The strategies and processes NPOs apply to make themselves stronger and ready to respond to opportunities and threats.

Module 1: Course introduction

Learn how to navigate the course and how to get the most out of it.

Module 2: Understanding NPO resilience

Explore the true meaning of resilience and why it’s important for your NPO. Then, meet the successful South African NPOs you will learn from throughout the course. Get introduced to vital concepts for NPO preparedness and success. Acquire key tips from experts, along with stories of how NPOs have implemented these concepts to thrive, even in a crisis.  

By the end of this module you will: 

  • Have a clear view of what resilience is and why it’s important for your NPO. 
  • Be familiar with the six key concepts of resilience: 
    • 1. Managing risk 
    • 2. Building financial resilience 
    • 3. Ensuring strong leadership and teams 
    • 4. Partnering and collaborating 
    • 5.  Managing operations and systems for continuity 
    • 6. Adopting an agile and innovative approach 
Module 3: Managing risk

Resilient NPOs know how to manage risk. In this module, we delve deeper into risk management and how to evaluate your organisation and uncover the risks you face. 

By the end of this module, you will:  

  • Know what risk management entails in the context of NPOs. 
  • Understand the importance of risk management. 
  • Recognise the different types of risk your organisation could face. 
  • Evaluate key risks within your organisation. 
Module 4: Building financial resilience

In South Africa, more than half of NPOs have no cash reserves. Cash flow is a constant challenge. Knowing where to access enough funding, or the right funding, is often a barrier. 

A financially resilient NPO can sustain itself, even in the face of a crisis, like the pandemic. And financial resilience is part of good governance – vital to secure funding. This module explores some ways of making your NPO financially secure, with tips and advice from experts in both NPOs and corporate philanthropy.

By the end of this module, you will:  

  • Explore financial resilience and how it should apply to your organisation. 
  • Know key concepts to build and manage financial reserves. 
  • Grasp the importance of diversifying funders and funding sources. 
  • Reflect on your own organisation’s financial resilience
Module 5: Ensuring strong leadership and teams

Great leadership doesn’t happen by accident. It is created through knowledge, experience and personal skills developed over time. Strong leaders build and manage strong organisations. During a crisis, their importance is clearer than ever.  

In this module, you will discover more about the skills and qualities of effective leadership in an NPO. You will explore strategies, like succession planning, and ways you can build, support, and develop your internal capacity and human resources.  

By the end of this module, you will:  

  • Understand why strong leadership is key to building resilience in your NPO. 
  • Know the qualities of effective NPO leaders. 
  • Begin to formulate strategies for succession planning 
  • Be able to explain capacity building and its importance for building resilience. 
  • Explore strategies to support and nurture your team.
Module 6: Partnering and collaborating

Strategic partnerships bring many benefits for an NPO. Shared resources, new insights and greater opportunities stem from a collaborative way of working.   

This module explores what an inclusive and collaborative approach can look like for your NPO, with tips and strategies for fostering good relationships with partners and  stakeholders.  

By the end of this module, you will:

  • Be able to formulate ideas to make your NPO more inclusive and collaborative. 
  • Understand why it’s important to foster strong partnerships. 
  • Know practical tips and strategies to foster collaboration.
Module 7: Managing operations and systems for continuity

Recovering from a crisis and being able to continue to operate effectively, despite setbacks, means knowing how to anticipate and prepare for the unexpected.  

In this module you’ll learn about using information and communications systems. You’ll also discover the fundamentals of business continuity planning, and the essential components of drawing up a continuity plan for your organisation. 

By the end of this module, you will:  

  • Know the importance of information and communications systems in your organisation. 
  • Know the components and importance of a business continuity plan. 
Module 8: Adopting an agile and innovative approach

There’s no shortage of situations where NPOs have to be agile and adapt to changes quickly. Successful NPOs know how to find new and innovative solutions to the challenges they face, however unexpected.  

This module covers agility and how to foster innovation. It provides tips for growing an innovative environment and offers success stories from organisations that have developed methods to adapt and respond effectively during a crisis. 

By the end of this module, you will:  

  • Understand agility and its importance to your organisation. 
  • Know the essential characteristics of an agile NPO. 
  • Be able to define innovation and explain its importance. 

What will this course do for me?

By the end of this course you will: 

  • Have the practical tools you need to assess your organisation’s resilience. 
  • Be familiar with key concepts in resilience for NPOs. 
  • Recognise the range of NPO resilience issues and strategies using case studies. 
  • Be able to formulate and apply strategies to improve your organisational resilience.

This course is created by Trialogue and offered free through sponsorship from Nedbank Private Wealth.