Core Competencies for Small Nonprofits


This project focuses on building the HR management capacity of small nonprofits (those with ten or less employees) by providing a rational framework for the common skills, knowledge and attributes required to carry out core functions.

Drawing on existing work on competencies and the processes used to develop them, this project takes into account the unique aspects of working in a nonprofit including working with volunteers, governance by volunteer boards of directors, accountability for funding from governments and other external sources, responsibilities related to fundraising and charitable requirements, and providing non-commercial client services at the community level. Through this project the HR Council will:

  • Identify and validate core competencies for key functional areas common to organizations across the sector
  • Produce and disseminate information on core competencies
  • Produce user-tested competency-based management tools and actively promote their use broadly in the sector
  • Identify, with input from capacity-builders, sector networks and potential users, potential strategies, and additional products to expand the application of competencies in small organizations


Project Activities

  • Conduct research on existing relevant competencies, develop and validate core competencies for key functional areas in small nonprofit organizations, and recommend processes for validation
  • Develop and test a number of practical competency-based tools for small organizations such as 'how to' manuals, checklists and templates
  • Make the competency-based tools and products available in the HR Toolkit
  • Develop and facilitate information sessions for capacity-building organizations, sector networks and umbrella organizations to support the further dissemination of the core competencies tools in small organizations


Project Advisory Committee

An Advisory Committee provides advice, expertise and guidance to the HR Council as it undertakes project activities. The following individuals currently sit on the Advisory Committee:

Tim Crooks - Chair
Executive Director
Phoenix Youth Programs

Jane Hirst
Regional Executive Director
Boys and Girls Club Alberta

Eleanor Adams
Administrative Manager
SaskCulture Inc.

Michael Litchfield
Lawyer/Management Consultant Principal
Redwood Law Corporation and ThinkLab
Consulting Inc.

Michelle Baldwin
Executive Director
Pillar Nonprofit Network

David Sheach
Executive Director
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Abbotsford, Mission, Ridge Meadows

Vicki Bryanton
Organizational Planning and Special
Projects Management

Stephanie Smith
SFS Enterprises
Owen Charters
Executive Director and CEO
Jody Stadnyk
National Executive Director
Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Canada

For more information about this project please contact