2020 Alliance Career Development Award

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Career Development Award program is designed to eliminate the barrier of an unpaid internship and increase diversity of the nonprofit workforce by providing $2,000 internship stipends for students completing their Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential. The program also fosters partnerships with internship sites, building stronger relationships with our national and local partners. The scholarship is provided in two checks to the student, one at the beginning of the internship, and one at the completion of the internship.

The Career Development stipend is awarded through a competitive process. The application requires notation of student volunteer and leadership activities, a 750-word essay on one of the topics provided, and two letters of recommendation. The applicant’s Alliance Program Campus Director completes a separate evaluation form once the application is submitted. The student application is due October 7th and campus director referral form is due October 9th. A Selection Committee, composed of faculty and nonprofit professionals, reviews each application and recommends the award recipients.  

Student Application   Campus Director Student Evaluation Form


Program Information and Qualifications

  • A stipend of $2,000 is provided by the Alliance.
  • Only junior, senior, post-baccalaureate or graduate students may apply 
  • Added points are assigned to applicants with documented financial need, which is determined by a student’s FAFSA Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) number
  • Added points are assigned to candidates who acquire internships with the Alliance’s Nonprofit Workforce Partners
  • Applicants must complete an internship during the calendar year 2020 that meets the requirements of both the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential and those of your individual campus program

Student Application Guide

We encourage every student applicant to review the Student Application Guide prior to submitting an application.

Student Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for the Alliance Career Development Award, you must:

  • Be enrolled in an affiliated Nonprofit Leadership Alliance campus program.
  • Have an active online CNP Profile including:
    • Student enrollment fee paid
    • Profile approval from your campus director (status as Actively Seeking Certification).
  • Be a junior, senior, post-baccalaureate, or graduate student.
  • Have completed or scheduled to complete nonprofit specific coursework, including introductory nonprofit sector coursework prior to beginning the internship.
  • Plan to complete an internship during the calendar year 2020 that meets the requirements of both the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential and those of your individual campus program.

*Note: Beginning with the 2020 Career Development Award cycle, only students completing their internship in the calendar year 2020 will be eligible for the Career Development Award.  

**Please see Internship Site Eligibility for information regarding acceptable internship locations.

  • Be committed to finishing all CNP credential requirements and earning your CNP immediately upon graduation with your Bachelor’s degree or completion of graduate level requirements including:
    • Completion of CNP competency requirements through coursework as set by your university or college.
    • Completion of a 300-hour internship at one organization.
    • Attendance at AMI (Alliance Management Institute), or Virtual AMI.
    • Completion of Leadership/Service activities.
    • Completion of a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
Internship Site Eligibility Requirements

Internship sites that are utilized for the Alliance Career Development Award must:

  • Be classified as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization
  • Not be a part of the student’s college or university*

*Organizations that are affiliated with the campus may be acceptable, as long as they do not share the same tax ID as the campus itself.

Completing the Career Development Award Application

Both the Student Application and Campus Director Student Evaluation form are submitted online via Google Forms. Please note that you WILL NOT be able to save your work and come back to it later in the online application. We highly advise you complete your responses beforehand and copy/paste them into the application. It’s the student’s applicant job to make sure the Campus Director Student Evaluation is submitted by their Campus Director by October 9, 2019. The following information describes in detail the sections within the Student Application.

Section 1: General Information: This section asks general contact information including:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number and email

Section 2: Student Eligibility: Applicants must currently be attending an Alliance campus partner institution and have an active student profile within the CNP program. This section includes information directly related to the eligibility of the applicant including:

  • College or University
  • Academic Level
  • Completion or scheduled completion of nonprofit specific coursework, including introductory nonprofit sector course
  • Anticipated graduation date
  • Anticipated CNP completion date
  • Indication of an active Alliance student profile
  • Indication of a paid enrollment fee
  • Indication of a potential need for assistance in securing internship site
  • Indication of understanding that if you do not complete an internship, the full stipend will not be awarded and that you may be required to pay back any stipend funds received.
  • Alliance Management Institute (AMI) status
  • Internship status

Section 3: Leadership and Engagement Experience: This portion of the application requests the student demonstrate an overall commitment to improving their community. This section asks the applicant to provide the following information:

  • Leadership and Engagement Experiences: List and describe two leadership and service experiences within the community or on campus (which are encouraged to be in your Alliance Student Association). You must include the name of activity, organization(s) involved, your role and impact of the experience or project (200-word limit), and approximate start and end dates.

Section 4: Essay  

  • Essay prompts: Select one essay prompt that best describes your leadership, diversity or internship goals/achievements (750-word limit).
    1. In 750 or fewer words, please describe a personal leadership or service experience and discuss the impact it has had on your career plans.
    2. In 750 or fewer words, please describe your experience interacting with diverse groups of people and discuss how this will help you in your nonprofit career.
    3. In 750 or fewer words, please describe the nonprofit-specific coursework you have completed and discuss how you plan to put this knowledge into action in your internship.
  • Essay is scored based on content and organization of ideas, proper grammar, and spelling. You are encouraged to have someone proofread your essay before submission.

Section 5: Letters of Recommendation

  • Two formal letters of recommendation are required.
  • At least one letter should be from a campus leader (faculty, advisor, or administrator) other than your campus director. The second letter can be from your employer (i.e., supervisor, manager), or community leader (i.e., official leaders, civic leader, religious leader).
  • Letter must be typed, dated and signed.
  • Must email letters of recommendation to alondra.ayala@nonprofitleadershipalliance.org

Section 6: Extra Points*

  • Internship with an Alliance Nonprofit Workforce Partner: Information required is partner name, city and state, and internship supervisor/mentor name and contact phone number or email. Please reach out to Katie Rossman at Katie.Rossman@nonprofitleadershipalliance.org to be connected to one of our National Nonprofit Workforce Partners.
  • Financial Need: Applicant may submit their FAFSA Estimated Family Contribution number (EFC). To retrieve this information log into your account through fafsa.ed.gov. The EFC number is included on your confirmation page, please create a PDF of this page and upload to the online application before submitting.

* These two items are not required for application submission

Section 7: Application Certification
At the end of the application, please double check that all information is correct. The online application form will ask you to verify the information contained in your application and your understanding of the terms of the award.

Section 8: Campus Director Evaluation Form
Your Campus Director will provide an evaluation based on your progress in the CNP program and your likelihood of completing CNP requirements. A Campus Director Evaluation is required before the application will be forwarded to the Selection Committee. This form is due with the Student Application on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 and can be found here.

Selection Committee Review/Scoring Factors

Review of application by Alliance Career Development Selection Committee
Eligible applications are forwarded to the Alliance Career Development committee Selection Committee for blind review. All identifying information is removed from the student application. This includes the student’s name, campus affiliate, etc. The committee is comprised of Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Campus Directors and faculty, CNPs, National Board Members, and National Workforce Affiliate Executives. Reviewers are expected to avoid any conflicts of interest and abstain from scoring an applicant with which there is (or appears to be) a conflict.

The Selection Committee scores each eligible application on four components:

  1. Leadership and Engagement Experience: Be sure to specifically discuss your role with the project and the importance of this role to the project's overall impact. 
  2. Essay: You only need to respond to one essay prompt. The essay is critiqued on clarity and appropriateness of content and form. It is highly recommended that you have someone to proofread your essay before submission to avoid spelling and grammatical errors.
  3. Two Letters of Recommendation: At least one letter should be from a campus leader (faculty, advisor, or administrator) other than your campus director. Your campus director will have an opportunity to complete a student evaluation. The second letter can be from your employer (i.e., supervisor, manager), or community leader (i.e., official leaders, civic leader, or religious leader). Both letters must be typed, dated, signed, and on the official letterhead of the campus or organization.
  4. Campus Director Student Evaluation Form: The form asks your campus director to indicate your length time in the CNP program to rate you on a scale of 1 to 10 in comparison to other students on your campus who have received or are applying for the Career Development Award, and to discuss your qualifications (such as academic standing, progress in nonprofit coursework, and likelihood of completing the CNP credential requirements). Please follow up with your campus director to assure that this form is submitted.

Additional points included in the final score
Additional points are added after the Selection Committee submits their scores. These items are not required for your application.

Internship with Alliance Nonprofit Partner: Points will be given to students who acquire internships with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance’s National Nonprofit Workforce Partners. For a list of current partners please visit https://www.nonprofitleadershipalliance.org/about/nonprofit-partners/

Financial Need: In order to help more students for whom an unpaid internship would be a barrier to CNP completion, students are requested to provide their FAFSA Estimated Family Contribution number (EFC). The submitted EFC will be weighted appropriately to assess financial need. Students who do not provide an EFC will be assumed to be in the top financial percentile and will not receive weighting. To obtain your EFC report, visit FAFSA at https://fafsa.ed.gov/.  

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance reserves the right to change any component of the Alliance Career Development Award and application process at any time. This includes scoring criteria, terms, and conditions.

Dates and Deadlines


Application open:

June 14, 2019

Student application due by:

October 7, 2019

Campus Director student evaluation form due by:

Student applicants are responsible for ensuring their campus director completes the student evaluation form.   

October 9, 2019

Award notices to students and Campus Directors:

November 8, 2019

Student internships must be completed by:

December 31, 2020


Need Help Finding an Internship?

Check out internships that are eligible for the Career Development Award.

List of our Nonprofit Workforce Partners

Please reach out to Katie Rossman, CNP to be connected to one of our National Nonprofit Workforce Partners.


 To officially enter the application process for the 2020 Career Development Award, students must submit the 2020 Career Development Award application and have their respective campus director submit the Campus Director Student Evaluation Form by October 9, 2019. Applicants are responsible to make sure their Campus Director completes the evaluation form by the due date.  

For questions, please contact Student Services Coordinator Alondra Ayala.


Hear From Award Recipients


“If it was not for my Alliance Career Development Award I would not have been able to complete my internship. The only way I could complete the whole 300-hour internship requirement was if I could find a paid internship for the summers and [my internship site] could not afford to pay me minimum wage for 20 hours a week over the summer. However, they were able to match my scholarship and I was able to find another part-time job and take an online class this summer. It was not easy but my internship has been one of the best experiences of the CNP credentials. I can not thank the Alliance enough for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of the Alliance Career Development Award recipients.”

Genelle Monger, CNP
Western Michigan University


“LifeDesign Inc. was my first internship experience. I decided to ask the CEO for more information about the Career Development Award, which led to more opportunities. I was able to connect with the CEO personally, as well as earn a stipend. Taking that step made my experience with LifeDesign Inc. that much more gratifying.”

Jeff Cheng
Indiana University


“My time at YUSA not only helped me receive this credit but taught me what I love about nonprofit and finance. They helped me tie both my interests together and taught me what real-life work experiences would be like after graduation. The Career Development Award (NextGen) helped me achieve this by giving me the means to purchase train tickets to commute to the internship office. Without the Alliance’s support, this would not have been possible.”

Emily Martin
North Park University