NTEN CEO Amy Sample Ward high-fives some of the Certificate earners at the 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference.

The Professional Certificate turns 1: Let’s celebrate!

It feels like just yesterday we were announcing the pilot of the Nonprofit Technology Professional Certificate. We started off with 40 brave souls who helped us learn a tremendous amount about the new approaches, formats and technologies we were using. Their feedback helped us prepare for the public launch of the program in October of 2016.

And now it’s the 1st birthday of the Certificate! Besides eating some cake, we took a look back at the progress and accomplishments that have happened during this first year. We are continually impressed by the how hard this community works and what they can accomplish when they set their minds to it.


In this first year, we had nearly 30 individuals from around the country (and beyond) complete their Professional Certificate.

map highlighting states and provinces where certificate earners are from

Professional Certificate earners spent over 600 hours building their knowledge, skills, and resources so they could more effectively use technology to create change in their communities. The community collectively spent more than 1,000 hours on professional development in the Professional Certificate courses.

These are some seriously dedicated individuals and organizations that have supported them.


We get to work with some amazing members of our community as faculty on our programs. Learn more about this impressive group of individuals sharing their expertise by visiting the Faculty page.

Key lessons learned

In the last year we learned some valuable lessons from running this new program and from feedback.

Blended is better

A mix of self-paced and live events makes for a good mix with participants’ schedules, according to feedback from early enrollees. And making the live events available via recording immediately makes that part more accessible.

Interaction adds value

The flexibility of self-paced content is good but those who were able to join the live events or participate in the community space found a significant increase in the value they got out of their experience. It turns out the faculty and community members are pretty smart folks and engaging with them helps you learn.

What’s next?

In the coming year, we will continue to listen to your feedback and make improvements.

Leveraging the technology better

As we build our own skills with the technology, we will work to create more engaging and effective online learning experiences, truly moving beyond passive learning experiences.

Onboarding improvements

We are working hard to make improvements to our onboarding experience. We are pushing ourselves to share information in a greater variety of formats to help make it easier for you to get underway in our courses.

We appreciate the immense amount of enthusiasm and support you’ve shown in this first year and look forward to making even more progress in the years to come.

Ash Shepherd
Education Director
Ash has been in love with the nonprofit sector for nearly two decades, where he has worked in the areas of conservation, environmental education, social work, youth program development, and technology consulting. He has been an active member of the NTEN Community, serving as a co-organizer of Portland’s 501 Tech Club, and completing a three-year term on the NTEN: Change Journal's Editorial Committee. Ash earned a B.S. from the University of Montana in Resource Management and a Masters in Environment and Development from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa.