The Alabama Association of Nonprofits (AAN) was created in 1997 as the Nonprofit Resource Center of Alabama (NRCA). At the end of that year, we had 150 member organizations.

By the end of 1998 NRCA had 250 member organizations, and by 2000 we had over 350. While membership dropped off during the pandemic, we are growing again with over 525 members from across Alabama.

NRCA held its first Nonprofit Summit in 1997, with 151 organizations across the state represented and over 250 people in attendance. By 1998 attendance grew to over 350 and continued to increase over the years. The Summit was the trailblazer for nonprofit professional development and networking, positioning nonprofit leaders in the spotlight and cementing their importance in building a better Alabama. NRCA, now AAN, is the state’s first and most dedicated advocate for the nonprofit sector.

We have hosted professional development training and provided nonprofit consulting services for 25 years, impacting thousands of nonprofit leaders and their organizations. Since 2012,  we have provided AAN members with access to the Harvard Business School's Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management course – a prestigious week-long cohort training program for nonprofit leaders. Each year, one AAN member applicant is chosen to participate, and tuition is covered by the Harvard Business Club of Birmingham, a group of Harvard MBA graduates committed to helping Alabama's nonprofit sector. 

In 2013 we introduced our Standards for Excellence (SfX) training series, providing step-by-step guidelines for nonprofits to achieve a well-managed and responsibly governed organization. More than 400 nonprofit members have participated in SfX trainings. AAN helped these organizations adopt the SfX Code, which is focused on mission, management, governance, legal, finance, operations, DEI, resource development, and advocacy. The Code helps organizations to increase trust, manage more effectively, and stay competitive, all of which increase charitable giving.

In 2021, AAN conducted a survey of current nonprofit needs. 70% of respondents said professional development training was the most valuable service we provide.

Today, AAN provides monthly trainings focused in four areas: increasing revenue, developing human capital, improving board governance, and advancing your mission. 

Because not all nonprofit leaders have access to high-level leadership programs, we have restored the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute (NELI). It helps leaders move from knowledge to action, and it is designed for new nonprofit executives—and upcoming executives—to take their organization to the next level.