ERSTE Foundation NGO Academy is a joint project of the ERSTE Foundation and the Competence Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship of Vienna University for Economics and Business. The NGO Academy was founded in 2013 with the goal of strengthening the civil society sector in Central and Southeast Europe by providing further educational opportunities. The Academy offers a range of high-quality capacity building programmes designed specifically for executive managers and staff members of NGOs. By transferring knowledge, imparting skills and helping participants to establish networks, the Academy supports the organisations themselves and indirectly also their beneficiaries. ERSTE Foundation NGO Academy offers two programmes: the Social Innovation and Management Programme and the Regional Programme. Both programmes are designed and implemented by the ERSTE Foundation and the Competence Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship on a yearly basis. The Competence Center offers its expertise in the strategic social incorporation and development of the programme based on their research on civil society in the CEE region.
The Social Innovation and Management Programme is held in English and provides further training for executive and organisational staff working for NGOs in Central and Southeast Europe. The training is directed specifically at people in managerial positions with the ability to shape structural and organisational development as well as operational processes of the respective organisation.
The curriculum of ERSTE Foundation NGO Academy is tailored to the needs of the target group and based on the stages of development of social services. Parallel to individual skill acquisition the programme creates a constructive environment for addressing practical issues and establishing a network of peers in the CEE region. These processes are mentored by a faculty of approximately 40 experts with a scientific, non- or for-profit background. The faculty support the participants through lectures, group work, individual reflexion, expert-feedback-sessions and consultation on project and organisation development. This format ensures for varied perspectives and practical application of acquired skills and concepts.
The programme consists of three one-week modules, which take place in Vienna in the spring of each year. As part of the programme the participants are involved in social activities to initiate the formation of a sustainable network. In order to further strengthen the network and provide the opportunity to work on current issues, the participants are invited to an additional alumni module (Module IV) one year after completing the Social Innovation and Management Programme.
In 2018 the Social Innovation and Management Programme was successfully implemented for the fifth time. So far more than 120 people graduated from the programme.
The Regional Programme is part of ERSTE Foundation NGO Academy and offers thematic workshops to strengthen managerial competencies with regard to the local context and the respective needs of NGO staff in Central and Southeast Europe. The Regional Programme consists of a series of independent, mostly two-day workshops, which take place in countries of the CEE region. The workshops are offered in six language groups (English, German, Czech/Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian) to ensure equal access for all participating organisations. The workshops are held in cooperation with a variety of partner organisations and trainers from the CEE region.
The Regional Progamme was first implemented in the academic year 2014/2015. So far more than 1.000 individuals and approximately 270 organisations have benefitted from the 2.000 places available in numerous workshops.