Nonprofit Management Student Association: Year in Review

PROVO, Utah – Aug 07, 2019 – The Nonprofit Management Student Association (NMSA) was incorporated into the Ballard Center during the 2018­–2019 academic year. The NMSA has grown from its infancy in 2009 to a total of seventeen board members and seventy-eight student members. Today, nineteen students are active contributors to the program. The overall mission of the NMSA is to “develop future leaders in the nonprofit sector by providing memorable experiences, coordinating professional networking, and connecting students with internship opportunities.”

Year in Review


The board members organized twelve club events this past year including a tour of the FIVE.12 Foundation, assembling hygiene kits for the Community Action Food Bank in Provo, organizing a campus-wide internship fair with more than 450 student attendees, and attending the CNP (certified nonprofit professional) conference in Orlando, Florida.

Many students found the FIVE.12 Foundation tour particularly interesting. FIVE.12 provides backpacks full of food to elementary school students who would otherwise go home hungry once school lets out for the weekend. The group of NMSA students who participated in this activity were especially interested in this element of nonprofit management, and this behind-the-scenes tour opportunity was made possible because of the NMSA. 

“NMSA had a lot of great events this past year, but the most meaningful to me was our nonprofit networking event,” says Amanda Eldredge, a senior from Rancho Cucamonga, California, who is majoring in English with a nonprofit management minor.“It was designed to provide BYU students with the opportunity to have one-on-one time with nonprofit professionals. Because of who I met at that activity, I am starting a paid internship with The Younique Foundation this summer. That’s the purpose of NMSA events. We want to help students connect with nonprofit professionals who can bridge the gap between them and the nonprofit sector.” 

The CNP (certified nonprofit professional) certification night also increased students’ abilities in the nonprofit management field.At this event, students were able to learn how to become certified, including learning how to fill out paperwork and understanding the general process for certification. “This was previously a pain point for students, and we turned it into something fun,” says Talon Hicken <insert identifying information: title, year, major?> said. “Students came together and did this as a community rather than doing it alone.”

Yearly Goals

A new goal-setting process was implemented last year. Each board membersset specific goals at the beginning of the year outlining what they wanted to accomplish in their roles. Examples include delegation and information management, budget management, logo/branding, newsletter dissemination, alumni LinkedIn, and tracking/reporting. Each board member set one to three goals specific to their position on the board. 

“The goals that board members set reflect their own dreams and desires for NMSA,” Talon says. “We gave students the opportunity to come in and write down their wish for NMSA. We then helped them achieve their NMSA-related dream.” 

Closing Banquet Highlights

In celebration of the year, the NMSA held a closing banquetin April. “This is the biggest banquet we have ever had,” Talon says. For the first time, nonprofit professionals and professors attended the banquet in addition to students. “The board members set the bar high,” Talon says. “Next year’s leadership is capable of setting the bar even higher. Overall, the banquet showcased the impact that NMSA has had in the community as a whole in addition to students’ lives.”

CHOICE Humanitarian

Lonny Ward, the current director of the Center for Humanitarian Outreach and Inter-Cultural Exchange (CHOICE), gave the keynote address at the banquet. The overall goal of CHOICE Humanitarian is to improve the living conditions of those suffering from the effects of poverty (e.g., lack of clean water, malnutrition, illiteracy). 

The organization executes a tailored, specialized plan that consists of listening to community needs, strengthening the community through training, guiding community members as they develop a plan, providing ongoing mentorship, and evaluating what worked and what did not. This model has allowed the organization tohelp developsmall businesses in Nepal and help women in developing countries createdreams for their lives from an early age.  

“Your character defines you,” Ward noted in his presentation. “Be mindful of your life influences. What effect have parents, friends, books, and teachers had on your life? What about the effect of disappointments, opportunities, and challenges?”

2019–2020 Board Members

The following NMSA presidency members were announced in their respective positions for the upcoming academic year: 

  • Jonelle Olsen, president.Jonelle is a senior studying Spanish and minoring in nonprofit management. She served as the NMSA executive secretary previous to her appointment as president.
  • Kiana Tibas, vice president
  • Nathan Hubert, vice president

“Next year, we look forward to serving even more students who are interested in a career—or just volunteering—in the nonprofit sector,” Jonelle Olsen said. “We are excited to increase awareness about the NMSA and the services it provide.s. We plan to provide personalized internship opportunities for students, teach marketable skills that will help make the sector even more impactful, and provide a community for those interested in dedicating part of their lives to helping others.”

2019 Cohort of CNP Recipients
The 2019 cohort of CNP recipients surrounds experience design and management professor Brad Harris (middle). Students elect to complete extensive extracurricular requirements in order to qualify for the CNP certification from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.
COO of Choice Humanitarian Lonny Ward
Lonny Ward, COO of Choice Humanitarian and a BYU alum, addresses CNP recipients and NMSA guests on the power of choice and how it influences potential.
Jonelle Olsen shakes Talon Hicken's hand.
Jonelle Olsen shakes Talon Hicken’s hand after Brad Harris announces that she will serve as the 2019–2020 NMSA president.

Media Contact: Alicia Gettys (801) 422-5283
Writer: Ballard Center