We help strengthen organizational leadership in nonprofit organizations. Our professional development curriculum for CEOs and executive directors, boards, staff, and volunteers addresses topics relevant to nonprofit leadership and allows leaders to learn, understand, and clarify issues on a particular topic as well as apply what they have learned in a peer context.


Leadership Programming and Technical Assistance

STEPS Inc. leadership programs are designed to:

Leadership Program design and technical assistance is available to communities and organizations in all stages of program implementation. We support the development, training, evaluation and sustainability of programs through technical assistance and consultation.

Leadership Development

STEPS, Inc.’s multi-disciplinary team work with an array of community and organizational clients. With decades of experience working throughout communities and organizations in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Ohio and beyond, STEPS has the developmental and leadership expertise to tailor programming to the specific leadership needs of any community or organization.

Board/CEO Executive Leadership Development

Developing executive leadership and board effectiveness to take your nonprofit to the next level.

Nonprofit leaders occupy unique positions in a unique field. Laden with constantly changing—and challenging—demands, executive directors and CEOs require a distinct set of skills and strong networks of support. STEPS, Inc. develops nonprofit leadership through an integrated program of instruction and coaching that is specifically designed for CEOs and executive directors, and boards. Put STEPS’ nonprofit experts to work for your organization.

Some of the program’s outcomes are:

Program and Process Evaluation

Since the evaluation process or evaluation needs look different for each organization or program, the Fanning Institute provides evaluation services in the form of technical assistance and clinics/trainings in the following areas:

Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is a tool for individual leadership development and change management. Specifically, coaches work with individuals to identify challenges and develop strategies for changing behaviors that lead to personal success and improved business impact. Skills and knowledge are built utilizing a variety of tools including setting expectations, improving communication, and addressing nonproductive behavior.

Nonprofit Board Governance

STEPS, Inc. works with nonprofit boards across the spectrum of budget size, paid versus volunteer staff, years incorporated, and many other features. Board governance training can be offered in a cohort based class, or individually to organizations as a retreat option. The training incorporates the basics of effective governance practices, types of board models, and how all of those relate to our model of the nonprofit lifecycle. The most effective piece of the training is learning from each other, and addressing the common board and organizational challenges.

Strategic Planning and Facilitation

Planning to plan is an important leadership process for organizations at all levels. STEPS, Inc.’s approach to strategic planning begins with organizational leadership, community stakeholders, and board members working together to decide upon a timeframe for the planning to occur. Facilitating the initial meeting is important to gain buy-in from the group, and to decide how much of the process the organization will be responsible for and how much involvement Fanning faculty will have.

Once the timeframe is decided, the next step is to hold an organizational leadership retreat to come together on a vision of where the organization is now and where they want to be in a specified amount of time. Providing technical assistance and leadership skills during this process is important to focus the group on the activities and goals it will take to each their strategic vision.

The strategic planning process can vary by organization size, resources available, and length of time for implementation of the plan. STEPS provides leadership in this process from a very small half-day retreat with a one-year work plan to a 12-month information gathering process with the outcome of a 5-10 year strategic vision. The process is inclusive and experiential to provide as much input from the stakeholders as possible.