Earn your certificate in 10 months
Leadership Institute for
Nonprofit Executives

Program Results

The LINE program is a 10-month journey designed to assist nonprofit leaders and those aspiring to leadership roles in the nonprofit sector to build their current skillsets and become effective and successful leaders of nonprofit organizations. The LINE program combines the academic rigor of Rice University and the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies' dedication to philanthropic success to offer you the catalyst you need to propel your organization to the next level or give you the confidence to pursue your nonprofit career aspirations. The certificate includes nine content modules, two electives, two leadership coaching sessions and a practicum.

Icon for paths
Icon for Career Growth
Icon for Paths

The Rice Experience

Why should you pursue Rice University's LINE Certificate?

Icon for Career Acceleration


Emerge with extensive knowledge and understanding of the intricacies of running a successful nonprofit organization and governing an effective nonprofit board. This program also allows you to earn 9.8 CEUs and 85.75 CFRE credits after successful completion of the program.

Icon for Trusted


Work with seasoned professionals who provide practical tools and knowledge through theory and real-life examples.

Icon for Classes


Build relationships with peers who share similar leadership aspirations through the unique cohort experience facilitated by the program


Participants must successfully complete four components to earn the LINE certificate: nine content modules, two leadership coaching sessions, two elective courses offered through the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies and a practicum project. The LINE content modules address a variety of the latest management, legal, financial, marketing and leadership best practices in the nonprofit sector. Designed for executives, future leaders and career-changers alike, each content module offers an in-depth study of the current landscape of the nonprofit sector within the context of proven organizational best practices. Other relevant topics will be included as deemed necessary by the instructors. 

  1. Effective Nonprofit Leadership

Learn about successful leadership in the nonprofit sector and develop goals to improve your own leadership practices. This module addresses, in interactive exercises and discussions, these key leadership practices for nonprofit leaders:

  • Leadership integrity and visionary leadership
  • Relating to the stakeholders
  • Empowering the followers
  • Community collaboration
  • Practicing self-awareness
  1. Successful Nonprofit Organizations and Board Governance

Learn to recruit, retain and effectively manage the board, staff and volunteers of a nonprofit organization. Topics include the following:

  • Board governance: recruiting, orienting, inspiring and retaining a diverse board and committees with the skills, network and expertise
  • Defining board expectations and providing clear board and committee job descriptions
  • The development and implementation of a strategic plan relevant to the mission and goals of the organization
  1. Marketing and Public Relations

In this module, learn the value, function and components of marketing and communication plans.

  • Formulation and role of organizational, as well as audience and/or program-specific messaging through multiple channels of communication
  • Multiple facets of branding, including visual identification and the experience factor of communications
  • Advantage of a collaborative communications, marketing and development team that works toward common goals
  1. Development Planning and Donor Engagement

Learn how to create and implement a fundraising strategy, manage a development team and build relationships with your donor community. Topics include the following:

  • Planning and implementing the fundraising plan
  • Managing the development team
  • Roles within the donor cycle, identification, discovery, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major gift donors
  1. Financial Management

Understand the fiscal responsibilities of the board and staff and how to develop and maintain sound financial practices. Topics include the following:

  • Preparing the annual budget and long-range planning
  • Day-to-day financial administration
  • Creating appropriate reports and financial statements including preparation for an audit
  1. Organizational Effectiveness

Learn to evaluate the organization’s effectiveness, implement steps to achieve its goals and improve the organization's performance. Topics include the following:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the organization
  • Establishing a roadmap to achieve the organization’s goals for social change
  • Developing organizational and program outcomes
  1. Essentials of Talent Management

Learn how to develop and maintain a work environment conducive to attracting and retaining top quality staff and volunteers. Topics include the following:

  • Creating a work environment that attracts, retains and motivates top quality staff
  • Recruiting and selecting an effective, stable team
  • Developing job descriptions, evaluating performance and establishing goals
  1. Current Legal and Ethical Considerations in Nonprofit Management

Learn the complex organizational legal, tax and risk management while discussing the ethical considerations inherent in managing a Texas nonprofit organization. Topics include the following:

  • Critical differences between for-profit and nonprofit corporations
  • Process for forming a nonprofit corporation and seeking relevant tax exemptions
  • Maintaining tax-exempt status
  • Ethical standards
  1. Lessons in Leadership

This module features current and former nonprofit leaders at the board and staff level discussing challenges they face and how the concepts covered in the LINE program are applicable to their respective roles. Class participants have the opportunity to ask questions and gain insight from expert panelists at different stages of their nonprofit careers.


Participants will take the content learned from the other components of the program and apply it in a practical way to complete a strategic project for a nonprofit organization.

This element of the program requires participants to complete a comprehensive strategic-level project for an existing nonprofit organization. The project may be completed for the participant’s organization or in a consulting capacity for another nonprofit organization. If you are not currently connected with a nonprofit, Rice will help you secure an appropriate project. The practicum will culminate with a written paper and oral presentation to the organization and program instructors/staff. Participants will have approximately three months to complete the project. More information will be given upon acceptance.


All participants self-schedule two hours of coaching during the program. The leadership instructor assists you with your career goals and navigating leadership challenges.

*Instructors subject to change


You must take two electives from the courses listed below to meet the requirement for the program. These courses are generally offered in an online or classroom-based format through the Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership.

Note: With approval from the program’s director, past participation in any of the listed electives within one year of entering the program may fulfill one or both of the elective requirements. One of the electives must be an advanced fundraising course. Please contact cpnl@rice.edu if you want to know which courses apply to the advanced fundraising course requirement.


Please find the schedule for Spring-Summer 2024 here.

The Fall 2024-Spring 2025 on campus schedule will be available by April 15, 2024.

Admissions Process

To begin the application process, you must submit the following completed forms:

  • LINE application
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Two professional letters of recommendation
  • Official college transcript (electronic or paper format accepted but must be sent directly from the college/university) or third letter of recommendation
  • Personal Statement

Once all required documents have been received, completed files will be reviewed after the application deadline. Decisions regarding acceptance into the program will be made by an admissions committee and applicants will receive an official decision through email communication within two weeks of their personal interview.

Applications received after the deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.

Early deadline: June 21, 2024

General deadline:  July 19, 2024

Financial Information

Attend an information session to save $250 on the program fee upon acceptance. 

The cost of attendance for the nine content modules, two hours of professional leadership coaching and practicum is $4995, which also includes the cost of required books, access to online platforms, etc. Partial scholarships may be available to individuals currently employed by a nonprofit located in the greater Houston area. Please note that the cost of the required electives is not included in the program cost. The fees vary for the electives (approximately $150-$450 each) and must be paid upon registration in those courses through the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. No scholarship assistance is available for the electives. With approval from the program team, past participation in any of the listed electives within one year of entering the program may fulfill one or both of the elective requirements. Participants who attend an information session are eligible to receive a $250 discount on the total cost of the program. 


Julie Jenkins Talent Management

Barry Mandel Lessons in Leadership

M. Anne Murphy Successful Nonprofit Management and Governance

Barbara Murphy Financial Management

Kelli Newman Marketing and Public Relation

Joe Synan Effective Nonprofit Leadership

Kay Walther Financial Management

*Instructors are subject to change.

Learn more about our instructors

Your Next Step...

Get Started Here