Encore Assignment

Fellowships place highly skilled experienced professionals in fellowships with nonprofit organizations and public agencies that are helping our communities in a variety of social purpose initiatives. Operated by 501 Commons, this program provides you the opportunity to strengthen nonprofit organizations in a paid fellowship. The Fellows’ work can be focused on strengthening internal systems such as IT, HR, accounting, and planning. Or, your work can be more external by deploying outreach and messaging to stakeholders in government and business.

Fellowship opportunities are typically 1,000-hour, 12 month part-time engagement. Cost includes a salary for the Fellow and a fee to 501 Commons to find, support, and train the Fellow. Fellowships offer a high-impact means of building capacity by utilizing their experience and specific skills.

The Fellowships program is supported by the 501 Commons team, who will facilitate the process of recruiting, training, and matching Fellows with participating nonprofit organizations.

The Process

A work host organization is closely matched with the Fellows candidate with the most relevant skills and interests. We monitor the assignment throughout the year to ensure success and lasting results. Education and support are provided to Fellows on climate change and other relevant nonprofit topics.

How It Works

You can request a fellow and we will contact you to learn more about your project and the skills you need. We will identify candidates for you to interview to determine if they are right for your organization and the project/role you have in mind. The fellowship period typically lasts twelve months with the Encore Fellow working as a half-time salaried member of your staff.

501 Commons recruits individuals with a wide variety of skills, including:

  • Marketing and communications
  • Information technology
  • Human resources
  • Financial management
  • Business development
  • Strategic planning
  • Operations
  • Performance management
  • Project management
  • Program development

In addition to the wide ranging roles and projects fulfilled by traditional Encore Fellows, there are two specialized types of fellows:

Climate Fellows: Climate Fellows work in a variety of roles to address the challenges of climate change. Many of these fellows have deep technical expertise and experience applicable to research, advocacy, partnerships, and public education. Fellows are keenly interested in climate change and have a passion for making a positive difference in their communities. Fellows receive training on best practices relating to nonprofits.

Fellowship in Fundraising: Fellows write grants, manage fundraising events, develop marketing and fundraising collateral, research potential donors, thank current donors, and solicit new donors. They can also work to strengthen your organization's infrastructure for fundraising through projects such as selecting and implementing a donor database, recruiting influential board members, and improving the organization's financial and program reporting.


Fellowships bridge the resource gap many nonprofits face by providing them the talent and skills necessary to tackle society’s greatest challenges. Sponsoring organizations, or "work hosts," benefit from the fellows' professional skills and expertise, which are carefully matched to support a specific project assignment. Like paid internships or national service programs, Fellowships offers you an additional staff member but Fellows arrive with experience in a professional role, existing community and professional contacts, and deep knowledge of their field. The program is remarkably affordable when you consider the value of their well-developed skills. Fellows receive a yearly salary ranging from  plus benefits in accordance to your policies.

501 Commons will recruit, screen and train the Fellow and act as a “staffing agency” to match your organization with an individual who has the skills you are looking for. Once a successful match is made, we receive a fee to cover our recruitment, matching, planning and oversight responsibilities.

Read this story by NPR and hear from an organization how participating in this program has benefited from the skills of their multiple Encore Fellows.

How to Host an Encore Fellow

Request a fellow today if you would like an experienced and talented Fellow to help advance your organization’s mission. You don’t have to be 100 percent certain about your needs or the role the fellow would assume. We can help you craft a role that will be both beneficial for your organization and a rich opportunity for the fellow.

The Fellowship program is available to any type of organization. A fellow can be requested for any role between 300 and 1,000 hours you need.


Interested in learning more? Contact Kerry Kozuki atkerry@501commons.org to discuss how this program could help you increase your impact and build your organization's capabilities.

Encore Climate Fellows

If your organization is committed to addressing climate change, consider how your work can by an Encore Climate Fellow. Fellows serve in a variety of roles. Many have deep technical expertise and experience applicable to research, advocacy, partnerships, or public education.

Learn more

Encore Fellowship in Fundraising

An Encore Fellow in Fundraising can develop your organization's fundraising capacity, expand donor networks, and execute capital campaigns and other initiatives. Fellows have experience from business and government careers to apply to your fundraising efforts.

Learn more

The Encore!Connecticut program: How corporate professionals move into nonprofit leadership

Encore!Connecticut is a four-month workforce development program tailored for seasoned corporate professionals seeking to transition their skill-sets and experience into successful professional and managerial employment in the Connecticut nonprofit sector. It is designed to leverage the student’s professional experience and prepare the individual for life in the nonprofit arena. Presently, the Encore!Connecticut program is offered in Hartford and Fairfield County.

Program Overview

Education: The education component of Encore!Connecticut focuses on the differences in best practices between corporate and nonprofit business management examining where practices mesh as well as differ. This process will enable you to identify the transferable skill-sets you bring to the nonprofit sector from your prior work experience. The deep immersion component of Encore!Connecticut is essential to the learning process and the job search. All classes of Encore!Connecticut are held in regional nonprofits, from small to large, with a diversity of missions. This allows the Encore Fellow to experience directly the diversity, challenges and opportunities of working in a variety of nonprofit work environments…and for the leaders of the Fairfield County and Hartford nonprofit sectors to meet and get to know you.

Lead Instructors and Faculty:
Encore!Hartford is led by Dr. David Garvey, Director and Linda Friedman, Program Director of the UConn Nonprofit Leadership Program. Encore!Fairfield County will be co-led by Scott Wilderman, President and CEO of Fairfield County’s Career Resources, Inc., one of the nation’s leading workforce development organizations and Bob Francis, Executive Director of RYASAP, a nationally recognized youth and community leadership development coalition serving Greater Bridgeport.

The classroom component of both programs is premised on practitioner-based learning. Lead instructors will be joined by leading Connecticut and national nonprofit practitioners who will provide their expertise on specific topics and their wisdom from decades in the field. Participants (Encore Fellows) will engage with top nonprofit professionals and executive directors on key best practices for managing and growing nonprofit organizations, along with discussions with individuals already enjoying successful encore careers in the nonprofit sector.

Encore Fellowship:
Based on the field and position interests of the Encore Fellow, each will be matched with a Greater Hartford or Fairfield County, as appropriate, nonprofit for a two-month, 30-hour week professional level management assignment that meets the career goals of the Encore Fellow and the specific needs of the nonprofit organization. The matching process is similar to the job interview process; where both the nonprofit and Encore!Connecticut Fellow is determining the best match. During the Encore!Connecticut fellowship periods fellows will meet as a group, facilitated by the UConn Nonprofit Leadership Program, to share and process their fellowship experiences.

Selection of Encore Fellow Host Organizations:
Through an application process, interested Greater Hartford and Fairfield County nonprofits will submit a job and project description, along with confirmation of organizational capacity to support the efforts of an Encore Fellow. The organization will agree to assign an Encore Fellow supervisor who meets the standards of the Encore!Connecticut program, and who will agree to meet with a program representative at the beginning and periodically during the course of the fellowship. Proposals are carefully vetted to provide fellows with interesting and challenging projects.

Matching of Encore Fellows with Host Organizations:
Discussions with fellows as to their interests and nonprofit experience needs to determine best possible placements will take place at the beginning of the program. Interviews between the participants and prospective fellowship host organizations will be arranged enabling the opportunity to discuss suggested projects and determine if it would be a good fit for both.

Program Assessment:
Encore Fellows will be asked to complete three comprehensive evaluations. Two of the evaluations will focus on the classroom component of the program and one on the fellowship. Encore Fellowship Hosts will be asked to complete one comprehensive evaluation covering their experience as a host organization. These evaluations will be used to make changes to the current and future program revisions as warranted.

A graduation celebration will be held at the end of the program. Invited to honor the graduates will be program instructors and presenters, executive directors/CEOs who hosted education sessions at their organizations; fellowship host organization supervisors and managers; nonprofit professionals who participated in networking opportunities for the fellows; representatives from partner organizations and, of course, families and friends of the graduates.

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