The Competitive Nonprofit: Strategizing to Stay Ahead

Kellogg School of Management

How long?

  • 2 days
  • in person

Kellogg School of Management


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Who should attend

  • CEOs, Executive Directors, and Key Board Leaders of nonprofit and non- governmental organizations
  • Managers and Department Chairs
  • Consultants and Nonprofit Advisors

About the course

Creating and Sustaining a Competitive Advantage

In this highly interactive program, leaders and managers of nonprofit organizations can expand their perspective on the markets in which they operate and learn how to secure their organization’s long-term impact through enhanced competitive positioning.

Guided by expert faculty, you’ll construct a map of the competitive landscape to help identify the strategic risks associated with achieving your mission and the opportunities of working with and learning from your competitors. You’ll leave with a clear understanding of what distinguishes your organization from others in the field, your competitive advantage, how the competition impacts your strategy, and the communication strategies needed for gaining the engagement and support required to enact change.

Key Benefits

  • Understand how well developed, smart strategic decisions can improve your sustainability
  • Identify and build sustainable competitive advantage
  • Identify and assess your organization’s competitors to determine potential opportunities, risks, and allies
  • Design a leadership communication process that facilitates organizational changes
  • Learn how to balance/rebalance for sustainability

Program Content

Understanding Strategic Contexts

  • Identify the difference between mission’ and strategy in your organization’s context
  • Discuss the foundations for success and assess your organization’s assets, capabilities and constraints
  • Determine is unique to your organization that prevents another one from duplicating your strategy

Competitive Advantage and Its Implications

  • Understand the service markets in which your organization operates
  • Establish the role your organization plays in each of these service markets
  • Prepare an assessment for your organization to correlate and align organizational strategy with competitive strategy

Value Creation and Capture

  • Link resources, capabilities, activities and advantages of the organization with its value creation and capture
  • Assess whether the goals/needs of the organization are aligned with its funders
  • Point out the relevant competitors, both for the direct beneficiaries and funding sources
  • Chart value creation based on differentiation
  • Engage in experiential and peer learning

Scaling the Competitive Strategy to New Markets

  • Evaluating the service markets you operate in, what are the possible steps for scaling into new ones
  • Examine how to think about and approach strategic partnerships
  • Conclude if the competitive strategy in one service market is also viable in the other

Strategic Communications as a Competitive Tool

  • Rewrite your mission versus organizational strategy versus competitive advantage
  • Redefine your ideal service market and beneficiary in light of the current landscape
  • Distinguish the value proposition by creating a communications plan
  • Lay out and prioritize the communication channels to maximize effectiveness for communicating to service markets and stakeholders
  • Deploy communications to ensure organization is visible, accessible and accountable


Michael Mazzeo

Michael J. Mazzeo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Strategy, and a Faculty Associate at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research and the Faculty Director of Kellogg's Chicago Campus.  He serves on the editorial board of the Review of Industrial Organization. Mazzeo's...

Nour Kteily

Nour Kteily is an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations. His research uses the tools of social psychology to investigate how and why social hierarchy and power disparities between groups emerge, and how this influences intergroup relations and prospects for conflict resolution. He i...

Michelle Shumate

Michelle Shumate investigates the dynamics of interorganizational networks designed to impact large social issues, developing and testing theories to visualize, understand, and enable effective interorganizational networks in a variety of contexts including nongovernmental organization (NGO)-corp...

Ernest Duplessis

Ernest Duplessis is a former SVP of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs with Mondelēz International in Deerfield, Illinois. Ernest’s career includes over 25 years of Public Relations, Internal and External Communications, Investor Relations and Government Affairs experience spanning c...

The Competitive Nonprofit: Strategizing to Stay Ahead at Kellogg School of Management

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Full disclaimer.

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