Indiana State University Newsroom

Students get real-world experience at national nonprofit leadership conference

February 7, 2012

A group of 47 Indiana State University students recently traveled to Kansas City, Mo, for the nation's largest conference focused on nonprofit sector workforce development.

Nearly 800 people attended the 2012 Alliance Management/Leadership Institute. In addition to college students, attendees included campus directors, faculty members, nonprofit partners and professionals, volunteers and AmeriCorps members. ISU's contingent was the largest group of students among nearly 60 college campuses attending the event.

Stephanie Jake, a senior education major, attended the institute for the first time.

"AMI provided me with a chance to hear the stories of nonprofit professionals and relate them to my life and my goals," Jake said.

Featured speakers included chief executives of Boy Scouts of America, Youth Volunteer Corps, Camp Fire USA and YMCA of the USA.

Along with networking opportunities, students took part in workshops on various topics including strategic and financial planning, diversity and ethics in the workplace and strategies of social media.

Students spent one day of the three-day event partnering with Kansas City area nonprofit agencies to help solve issues within the organizations through problem-based community engagement and service-learning.

Jessica Cox and Beth Booher, senior recreation management and youth leadership majors, completed their case study with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City. Their group's goal was to improve Bowl for Kids' Sake; one of the organizations biggest fundraising events.

"We suggested that they show testimonials by the kids involved telling about how the organization has changed their lives in order to make the event more about the kids," Booher said. "The case study helped show me how much money and time that is takes to plan an event. It was more than I thought."

Cox said she liked being able to sit down with an organization and use skills learned in class to help solve a real-world issue.

Students were also encouraged to attend the expo where they learned more about becoming a Certified Nonprofit Professional and had on-site interviews.

"I was offered internship opportunities with Camp Adventure, an international nonprofit organization that partners with U.S. military installations abroad, and the YMCA in Bloomington, Indiana," Booher said.

Zack Hurst, senior sport management major, met Joseph King, former director of development with the United States Olympic Committee. With King's help, Hurst is pursuing a summer internship with the committee..

Professor Nathan Schaumleffel, campus/executive director of the ISU Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Program, has taken students on this trip annually for four years.

This year, Bob Mazzuca, chief scout executive with the Boy Scouts, and Jim Terry, assistant chief scout executive, recognized Schaumleffel as the first recipient of the Boy Scouts' H. Roe Bartle Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Training Award.

"It was a real honor to receive the award from the Chief Scout Executive, and it was very special to have shared that moment with my group of students," Schaumleffel said.

The Alliance Management/Leadership Institute is a requirement for completion of the Nonprofit Leadership Certification program offered at ISU.

Morgan Wiggs, senior recreation management and youth leadership major, served as trip coordinator for the conference.

"All of the planning and preparation that we did as a class and as a student organization leading up to AMI 2012 was well worth the one hour of academic credit we received," Wiggs said.

Although students need to attend only once, several students are participating in the Nonprofit Leadership Student Association Fundraising Committee's annual fund drive

"I plan on moving to Atlanta after graduation so AMI will give me an opportunity to network with nonprofits in the area before I move," Jake said.

For more information on the Nonprofit Leadership Certification, visit

Contact: Nathan Schaumleffel, Recreation and Nonprofit Leadership Program, Associate Professor and Campus/Executive Director of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, at

Writer: Britany Dean, Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, Public Relations Chair, at