Next Gen places each participating student on a local nonprofit board of directors. The students act as a full board member, attending meetings, participating in a committee, and in most cases having voting rights. At the same time, they meet as a group each week for training, projects, and discussion/reflection/support. The program is three-semesters long.
- In the first semester, they learn about board governance in general, and work toward conducting an organizational capacity assessment for the group they are working with. We help them use the information gleaned to analyze their organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- In semester two, they use that information to identify a capacity need or opportunity, and then work with the organization to design a project to meet that need. During the semester, the students get training in class on how to write a grant (including a budget) for that project. They also evaluate each others applications and make decisions about which grants are actually awarded, which gives them experience as philanthropists/investors.
- In the final semester, students are given freedom to design and implement a service-learning project that connects their academic interests and skills with their organization's mission. Students in the past have done employee appreciation programs, promotional films, marketing campaigns, board retreats, and more.
The program can be taken as a class for academic credit, or can be done as co-curricular/volunteer project. We work with each student to figure out how to make it work for them. We also build the meeting times for the group around their class schedules.
- Experience within the nonprofit sector
- The ability to gain specific skills and experiences
- An ongoing cohort-based learning oopportunity
- A chance to get involved in the local community
- An opportunity to network with board members
- An increase in personal leadership capacity
- The opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with fellow students and board members