|36 points for degree completion||On-campus instruction|
|Part-time* or full-time program||Fall and Spring intake|
|3–12 terms to complete**|
* International students in need of an F1 visa must enroll full-time (12 credits) and study on campus.
** Summer courses included.
Students in the Nonprofit Management program complete twelve 3-point courses:
Eight core required courses which provide an overview of the nonprofit sector and its various components and required management skillsets; Three elective courses, in which students can focus their studies in particular areas within or outside of the nonprofit sector (e.g. fundraising management);
A capstone project: a real-time, client-based group project supervised by a program faculty member designed to address high-level considerations within the field and integrate a student’s knowledge gained throughout the program.
Each course consists of theoretical and practical approaches to its subject matter. In-class exercises (such as formal presentations, role play, and experiential learning) and real institution-based assignments provide students with applied, tangible skills that readily transfer into the workplace, while homework (including readings, research, and report writing) keeps students up to date on the latest trends, techniques, and strategies in nonprofit administration. The program imparts both the requisite subject matter necessary for mastery of the field as well as the techniques and tools essential for individual confidence and success.
The curriculum is demanding and requires a significant commitment of time and energy outside of classroom. Students must complete the 36-point program with an overall grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better in order to be awarded the degree.
Core Required Courses
- Role and Unique Nature of the Nonprofit Sector
- Nonprofit Governance
- Nonprofit Financial Management
- Managing Nonprofit Assets: Human and Data
- Marketing and Communications for Nonprofits
- Data Analytics/Metrics in the Nonprofit Sector
- Ethics in the Nonprofit Sector
- Fundraising Fundamentals for Nonprofits
- Capstone Project
Choose 3 from below
- Policy and Advocacy in the Philanthropic Sector
- Legal Landscape for the Nonprofit Sector
- Foundations: Unique Roles, Responsibilities, and Challenges
- Nonprofits and Government
- Social Purpose Businesses: At the Intersection of Philanthropy and Profit
- The Wired Nonprofit
- Introduction to Planned Giving
- Advanced Planned Giving
- Annual, Capital and Endowment Campaigns
- Grant Writing
- Prospect Research: Fundraising Techniques & Technologies
- Innovations in Philanthropy
- Portfolio Management
- Public/Private Partnerships: Combatting Global Health Threats
- Other (with the program director’s approval)*
* Offered outside the Master of Science in Nonprofit Management program; some are offered online.
Core Nonprofit Management Courses
This introductory course sets the context for the unique and fundamental role the nonprofit sector has played in American society, both historically and in current communities. In particular, the course will address the distinctions among nonprofit, government and private corporate culture and structure, including inherent opportunities and challenges the nonprofit sector by necessity confronts and embraces. Changing perceptions of the nonprofit sector, as well as fundamental changes in how the nonprofit sector represents itself, will be explored. Students will be exposed to current policy issues and the trajectory of the evolution of the field.
Whatever its size, scope, or funding, every nonprofit organization has a governing body authorized to exercise power on behalf of the community it serves, in furtherance of its nonprofit mission. In today’s environment of rapidly increasing transparency combined with the growth of the nonprofit sector, it is critical for nonprofit managers to understand how to lead and govern effectively. This Nonprofit Governance course is designed to prepare students to develop, manage, and work effectively with governing boards of directors and trustees, all of whom have the shared goal of meeting the mission of an organization. Topics include: (1) the work of the board, including legal, ethical and fiduciary oversight; strategic thinking and planning; ensuring resources; (2) the stakeholders involved in governance of an organization, including the board (composition and structure) and shared leadership with other staff and management; and (3) board culture, including board development, board dynamics, meetings, and board engagement.
As mission-based organizations, nonprofits have unique considerations when applying ethical considerations to their daily work with staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, donors and the public at large. Ethics in any field incorporate considerations of trust, honesty, equity, transparency and disclosure, but in the nonprofit sector these values are under additional scrutiny due to the public trust on which the sector relies, as well as donor dollars. Beyond mere theory, this course will ground ethics considerations in real-world scenarios and help develop a framework through which new and unique ethical dilemmas may be navigated.
This course is intended for members of nonprofit organizations who must understand and apply financial knowledge in their management and governance roles. It covers cash-flow analysis, budgeting, fund accounting, cost accounting (determining costs for programs and services), and understanding financial statements, including balance sheets, cash-flow statements, statements of activity, and operating and capital budgets.
Students will gain an overview of major concepts of management and organization theory, concentrating on understanding how to manage assets, both human and data-oriented, in organizational contexts, with heavy emphasis on the application of concepts to solve managerial problems. By the end of this course students will have developed an understanding of how to protect and promote a nonprofit’s most valuable assets: its staff, volunteers and data.
This introductory course will afford students the opportunity to (1) learn basic concepts in marketing, particularly as applied to the unique considerations raised by the needs of nonprofits; (2) develop decision-making skills by applying these concepts to in-the-trenches challenges within nonprofit organizations; and (3) develop marketing strategies appropriate to various stages of their nonprofit organization’s life cycle. One focus will be on new methods of marketing and communications new available through new technological platforms, including social media. Students will be exposed to the variations in marketing and communications when addressing various stakeholders in the nonprofit sector: individual donors, grant makers, beneficiaries, the media and the public at large.
Data analytics and resultant metrics analysis are skillsets now being utilized and even required in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector at a rate and level of sophistication never before seen. Unlike the for-profit sector, metrics evaluation methodology in a mission-based environment is not always obvious nor agreed upon by stakeholders. In this class, you will discuss the research and practice methodologies related to nonprofit organization and program evaluation. We will explore a model for evaluation that includes both qualitative and quantitative benchmarks of success. Through the development of an intentional approach to data and analytics, students will learn how to assess service needs and determine the effectiveness and efficiency of individual program components or entire service systems.
This course provides a comprehensive overview of fundraising and development in the nonprofit sector and introduces students to basic terminology and concepts in the field. The various fundraising vehicles are surveyed and participants learn to apply fundraising strategies as they balance individual donor and institutional needs. Relationship building, the solicitation process, the psychological dynamics and the realities of asking for money are examined as students refine their skills through analysis of case studies and participation in role playing exercises. A full array of written formats used by fundraising professionals including mission statements, grant proposals, acknowledgment letters, and campaign appeal materials are introduced. While students develop an understanding of the essentials of fundraising operations, they also examine the larger issues confronting today’s fundraising managers as well as explore the relationships between fundraisers and a nonprofit organization’s management structure and other stakeholders.
Capstone projects afford a group of students the opportunity to undertake complex, real-world, client-based projects for nonprofit organizations, supervised by a Nonprofit Management program faculty member. Through the semester-long capstone project, students will experience the process of organizational assimilation and integration as they tackle a discrete management project of long or short-term benefit to the client organization. The larger theoretical issues that affect nonprofit managers and their relationships with other stakeholders, both internal and external, will also be discussed within the context of this project-based course.
Student must have completed 24 credits or more in order to enroll in the Capstone course.
The traditional nonprofit fundraising model has helped to finance the discovery and development of healthcare technologies and systems, but today, new approaches are needed to prevent, diagnose, and treat urgent emerging global health threats. This class will examine factors that have led to current challenges in global health service delivery and technology development, and public/private partnerships that are helping catalyze new philanthropic tools and innovative hybrid nonprofit/social financing mechanisms to respond to these challenges.
Now more than ever, philanthropic leaders must navigate a shifting landscape: more demand for programs and services, more attentive governing bodies focused on return on investments, a more competitive national and international marketplace among philanthropic organizations, and more social media outlets to unite or divide diverse stakeholders aiming to influence elected leaders. In the current political environment, there exists ever more scrutiny among policymakers and the general public about the value of the philanthropic sector as a whole and the extent to which public policy should support the sector. Learn the “rules of the road” used by high-performing foundations and nonprofit organizations committed to generating public will and influencing public policy in support of communities worldwide.
With this course offered in the fall of a presidential campaign and dozens of statehouse races, national experts in public policy, coalition building, and strategic communications will share cutting-edge practices proven to yield favorable policy results: How do you define and measure success in advocacy? How do you engage authentically with affected community leaders and other stakeholders with shared interests? How do you develop strategic plans, audience segmentation, messaging, and tactics that break through in a crowded marketplace of ideas? How do you develop a business plan to secure and align your financial and human capital to optimize and sustain impact?
Students will be exposed to cutting-edge policy debates as examples of advocacy campaigns, compare local, state and federal issue campaigns and learn of the network of stakeholders that play roles in public policy and advocacy in the nonprofit sector.
This seminar will provide students with an overview of the regulatory and enforcement context for charities and foundations in the U.S. from both a theoretical and a practical direction. The course will cover the policy, legal and regulatory underpinnings of the nonprofit sector, focusing on the simultaneously independent and interlocking nature of federal and state oversight. The discussion will review lifecycle issues for a charity, including formation and operation of the entity and the major constraints and opportunities inherent in a charitable legal structure. In particular, the class will address the interaction between the regulatory structure and issues such as fundraising/charitable solicitation (including via social media), related and unrelated business activity, social mission/hybrid organizations, political/lobbying constraints and transparency requirements.
Foundations of all types—family, private, community and corporate- have a long and storied history in the United States, reflecting philanthropic support of both many of the largest undertakings in the public sphere as well as myriad community-based and mission-specific causes. Philanthropic dollars flowing through foundations have given rise to both praise for innovative solutions that can be taken to scale as well as criticisms as mere tax dodges by a perceived “money class” wielding outsized influence on social justice and other major legal and cultural movements. This course will engage students using historic and contemporary policy and practical contexts to expand their understandings of foundations of various types and scopes, how they distinctively approach their missions, grant making, and metrics, and how they influence (or don’t influence) policy.
Nonprofits share a unique relationship with governments at all levels, including federal, state, local and international. This course will explore both the opportunities and the challenges that these relationships entail, including nonprofit advocacy, regulation, tax policy, political activity, tension within relationships between government and religious and arts institutions, and international nonprofit government relationships. Historical context will be given, as well as an understanding of how economic and political trends such as the recession of 2008 or political cycles may affect relationships between nonprofits and government.
There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm about social purpose approaches to business: entrepreneurs, investors, charities, foundations, advisors, academics, millennials, employees, consumers, policy makers, media, bloggers, etc. Many see opportunities for investment capital from philanthropy and other investors to converge on addressing social problems and meeting social needs that are otherwise in the gap between philanthropy and business. Some enthusiasts are unbridled in their support; others are pessimistic (or even antagonistic) about the theory and the practice; still others are just making it happen. This course will engage students from the perspective of philanthropy and the charitable sector in helping them understand how the convergence opportunity was identified and is still be defined, what tools/forms, perspectives, and barriers that exist to pursuing those opportunities in practice, and the regulatory perspectives that might enhance or undermine those realities.
The social sector is at a critical inflection point, a moment when external and internal forces are challenging many of its old ways of working. Nonprofits and philanthropic foundations are undergoing a technology upheaval and, simultaneously, an inter-generational transfer of power, as the leadership of legacy nonprofits shifts from baby boomers to diverse Generation Xers and Millennials. This highly interactive course teaches students how the digital media revolution is reshaping the way nonprofits need to operate, and help students to conceptualize and produce digital media strategies aligned with the missions of their cause organizations.
This course also explores how digital media are democratizing philanthropy and placing new pressures on nonprofit organizations to be more responsive, accountable and transparent—and guided by newly available data and impact metrics to better target the expenditure of donor dollars. Finally, this course is designed to help each student learn how to use cross-channel media strategies and basic analytics to measure and improve their organization's ability to reach and recruit today's highly influential cause-wired donors and supporters, online and off.
The course is taught using a highly interactive mix of lectures, conversations with nonprofit digital pioneers, in-depth case studies, hands-on exercises, group discussions, online readings and viewings, and the use of a class Twitter stream and private Facebook group moderated by instructors. Students also will be exposed to the sector's digital leaders through field trips, and will learn how to use a broad array of digital platforms and technologies relevant to fundraising and donor engagement. Sector debates over issues including privacy, big data, citizen storytelling, censorship, engagement, collaboration without cooperation, "leaderless organizations," change management, community building, Millennial recruitment and “movement-building” also will be addressed, debated and applied to real-life challenges in the sector.
This course helps students understand the role of planned giving within an organization’s overall fundraising efforts. Introduces students to the various instruments of planned giving as they learn about the financial and personal considerations driving donor decisions. Through an examination of the legal, financial, and individual personal factors, the course exposes students to the full range of constraints and opportunities involved in planned giving. Students learn to design proposals sensitive to both donor and institutional needs.
Charitable gift planning often requires knowledge of not only the donor’s philanthropic interests and history of giving but also the set of economic circumstances that will influence the size and form of the gift transaction. This advanced planned giving course will expand upon knowledge obtained in the basic planned giving course. It will emphasize some of the complexities in planned giving development in situations where routine solutions may be inapplicable. It will discuss planning for atypical donors and take a holistic approach to applying advanced strategies that take into account estate, financial, tax and investment planning issues.
Experts in various disciplines such as investment management, fiduciary ethics, real property transactions and international fundraising will make special presentations in some of the sessions.
This course addresses these concerns and provides fundraising students an opportunity to discuss and analyze the essential steps needed to plan and implement a successful long-term, large-scale campaign. Students learn how to develop the architecture for and organize the campaign, to establish a timeline, to set reasonable expectations, and develop strategies for effective management of staff and donors. Students will learn to assess the success of the campaign and to place large-scale campaign efforts within the context of the long-range strategic planning process.
This course provides a comprehensive overview of the grants process, with specific reference to the research, writing, and managing of a range of grant types. The grants process is considered within the context of an institution’s total fundraising strategy as well as its overall mission-based goals. The course covers the range of possible grant-giving institutions, including government, corporate, and foundation, as well as the various types of grants, such as challenge, and their respective considerations for the fundraiser and nonprofit institution. Emphasis is placed on developing competitive proposals, accurate budgets, and appropriate systems of administration.
This course teaches students the practical skills needed to develop and utilize research for fundraising efforts. It introduces students to assorted research tools and teaches them to develop targeted research strategies. Within an ethical context, they learn how to obtain information on donors and other funding sources. The course also covers how to summarize research findings and how to use research for enhanced written communications.
The philanthropic model of the twentieth century resulted in remarkable social accomplishments, but now, its inadequacies, restricted vision, and organizational inefficiencies are proving insufficient to allow the nonprofit sector to respond fully to the magnitude of capital needs for large-scale social problems. Significant innovation currently is underway that is expanding the frontiers of traditional philanthropy with approaches that tap social investing and private investment capital to address social problems such as poverty alleviation, homelessness, and the lack of access to healthcare, as well as global environmental challenges, such as climate change and natural resource degradation. This class will focus on this “new frontier” in philanthropy and social investment, and will provide a comprehensive analysis of new actors, new organizational models, and new mechanisms that are helping to expand the traditional philanthropic toolbox. The class also will examine the challenges faced by these actors and what is needed to apply and maximize the impact of these tools. The class will complement the core nonprofit management curriculum and will reflect the up-to-minute dynamism within the nonprofit fundraising sector. It is designed for second-year nonprofit management students with a firm knowledge of traditional fundraising tenets and approaches. A basic knowledge of for-profit financial instruments is recommended but not required.
Focusing on individual securities and portfolios, this course explains how to develop, implement, and monitor investment goals after considering the risk and return of both markets and investment vehicles. Spread over 14 sessions, this course presents both conceptual tools and calculation exercises needed by senior nonprofit professionals and those with policy responsibility for endowment management. By the end of the course, students will understand the investment environment (the investment process; types of investments; and research); return and risk (the concept of return; measuring return; sources and how to assess risk); the time value of money, (simple and compound interest; present and future value of a portfolio asset); modern portfolio concepts (traditional vs. modern portfolio management; standard deviation; correlation; diversification; and beta;); how to analyze common stocks (security, economic, industrial and fundamental analysis); stock valuation (valuing a company and its future; required rate of return; and price-to-earnings approach); fixed-income securities (why invest in bonds; essential features of a bond; and the market for debt securities); portfolio management (mutual funds and exchange traded funds); alternative assets (“plain vanilla” derivatives); and endowment basics (strategy and policy).
The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.