Nonprofit Administration

September 29, 2008


Non-profit organizations are the newest and fastest growing sector in the US with the number of such organizations doubling during the last 25 years. In addition to growth in numbers, nonprofit organizations have become increasingly complex entities influencing public policy, participating in community affairs, and forging partnership with private and public organizations. With increased growth and complexity, a significant need has emerged for sophisticated managers with organizational acumen, technical skills, and an in-depth understanding of what it means to work in the nonprofit world.

Nonprofit organizations touch on every aspect of our lives and on every level of institutions. Most are in social and health services like the American Red Cross, Compass, and the American Diabetes Society. But they include hospitals, universities, museums, social clubs, and economic development agencies. Nonprofit organizations have always been an important part of the public service system. To an increasing degree, governments are providing social services through contracts with nonprofits. For example, continued resource scarcity, devolution of responsibilities by federal and state governments, and privatization have put additional pressure on the not-for-profit sector to fill in where government withdraws and to work in partnership with other organizations in the delivery of public services. Often referred to as the ?third sector,? it is composed of charitable or public benefit, advocacy, mutual benefit, and religious organizations. Of the 1.6 million organizations in the third sector, our primary focus will be on the 1.2 million 501(c)(3) public serving or benefit organizations in the arts, health, and human services, education, and the environment.

This course focuses on issues in the administration and management of nonprofit organizations including relationships between the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. It is the mission of this class to familiarize you with the work of nonprofit organizations and with the challenges faced by this sector. This mission will be achieved by combining theory with practice. We will begin by examining the size, scope, role, sub-sectors, and distinctive characteristics of the nonprofit sector. We will then briefly discuss legal requirements involved in establishing a nonprofit organization and key management trends in this sector. Then our attention will shift to examining some of the critical management tasks involved in building an organization?s capacity to achieve excellence. This can include tasks such as leadership, setting direction and establishing accountability, creating a dynamic and effective board of directors, developing and managing financial and human resources, and effective marketing and communications. This course is an applied course designed for graduate students. As an applied course, you will be required to become involved in a nonprofit organization to experience hands-on and gain knowledge of the reality of nonprofit management. Interested nonprofit organizations are asked to submit proposals outlining clearly defined projects for you to undertake. The nonprofit organizations will get benefit from your analyses and recommendations.

Regarding theory, we will cover the following topics:

  • History and extent of volunteerism and philanthropy in nonprofit organizations.
  • Administrative leadership, administrative organization, board selection orientation and training, board/staff relations, communication, decision making, group leadership, etc.
  • Leadership issues (role of the board of directors, executive leadership, relationship between board and executive director).
  • Marketing, public relations, and managing the agency?s image.
  • Management of nonprofit organizations (mission and mission statement, strategic management and strategic planning, financial management, human resource management, managing staff and volunteers).
  • Legal aspects, including tax implications.

Regarding the practical aspect of the class, you will be asked to work on real projectsi n a nonprofit organization. The projects will vary from one organization to another, and must be directly related to the topics covered in class. At the end of the semester, you will have to prepare an organizational analysis report about your experience with the nonprofit organization.

Course Description: This online course is designed for graduate students, especially those working in the non profit sector as well as others who are interested in management of non profit organizations. The course is designed to respond in part to the following National Association of Schools of Public Affairs Administration (NASPAA) common curriculum components:

  • Budgeting and financial processes,
  • Policy and program formulation, implementation, and evaluation,
  • Decision-making and problem solving,
  • Political and legal institutions and processes,
  • Organizations and management concepts and behavior.

This course covers the fundamentals of nonprofit administration including the historical development, role in contemporary society, and economic and political dimensions of contemporary nonprofit organizations, as well administrative issues including regulation, governance, and organizational management. This course also examines similarities and differences between for-profit and nonprofit organizations, major management issues specifically associated with nonprofits, and exposes students to career opportunities to the nonprofit sector. Particular emphasis will be place upon such normative concerns as mission development, reform strategies, and ethical perspectives as they impact the nonprofit environment. (Additional emphases and/or topics may be developed during the semester in response to student interests and needs.)

Goals, Objectives, and Assessments

Overarching goals of the course:

This course is designed to enhance students understanding of the nonprofit sector in the U.S. and to build conceptual and practical skills needed to perform effectively in positions of
management responsibility in nonprofit organizations. These skills include in creating, developing, and managing a nonprofit organization.

Learning objectives of the course:
At the completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Understand philanthropy, volunteerism, and nonprofit organizations and the role of
    the nonprofit sector in our society and economy,
  • Explore and discuss managerial tools, techniques, and strategies for effectively
    administering nonprofit agencies,
  • Identify the moral and ethical responsibilities of nonprofit administration,
  • Discuss the leadership literature and application to nonprofit administration,
  • Understand different legal issues as they pertain to the nonprofit sector,
  • Explore the relationships among government, business, and nonprofit organizations,
  • Identify trends, challenges, and opportunities in the nonprofit sector.
  • Learn how to effectively communicate both orally and in writing

Course Outline
Module 0: The Syllabus: Introduction to the course
Module 1: Understanding Nonprofit Organizations: Historical & Contemporary Perspective
Module 2: Government, Business, and Nonprofit Relations
Module 3: The Board and Nonprofit Governance
Module 4: Human Resource Management for the Nonprofit Sector
Module 5: Marketing: Images of Nonprofit Organizations
Module 6: Financial Management: Financial Statements
Module 7: Resource Development & Management
Mid-term exam
Module 8: Strategic Planning and Management
Module 9: Managing Nonprofit Performance
Module 10: Sustainability & Nonprofit Leadership
Module 11: Nonprofit Capacity Building
Module 12: Nonprofit Effectiveness and Entrepreneurship
Module 13: Putting it together: Looking ahead

Required text(s):

  • Hudson, M. 2005. Managing at the leading edge: New challenges in managing nonprofit organizations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. ISBN: 0-7879-7806-X
  • Ott J. Steven (ed.). (2001). Understanding Nonprofit Organizations: Governance, Leadership, and Management, Boulder, CO: Westview Press. ISBN: 0813367875
  • Wolf, Thomas. (1999). Managing A Nonprofit Organization in the Twenty-First Century. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN: ISBN: 0684849909
  • Additional materials are on reserve at the UCF library (online).

Course Requirements and Grading Policy:

You are expected to do the readings for each module and expected to participate actively in class discussions and exercises. I will evaluate your class participation on the basis of your meaningful contributions to class discussions. It is critical to manifest a respectful attitude toward the subject and to value the diversity of opinions reflected by your web-mates. I encourage all of you to freely ask questions and to express your opinions.

You are expected to be active participants in the learning process. Each of you is expected to complete the discussion area exercises and to respond to these weekly. Please follow the directions in the module assignments regarding the content of the discussions. Points are awarded for participation, and responses will be graded for understanding of the content, creativity, and the synthesis of information. To earn points for participation, each student must participate in the discussions assigned in the modules. Each module will provide detailed instructions on the content of the postings in the discussion and provide a grading rubric. Five points may be earned in each of the other assigned Discussions from the following modules, and these points account for 40% of the course grade.

Class Participation & Discussion Contributions Total

  • Introduction & Understanding Nonprofit Organizations 5 points
  • Discussion on Board Development 5 points
  • Discussion on Human Resources 5 points
  • Discussion on Financial Management 5 points
  • Discussion on Strategic Leadership 5 points
  • Discussion on Nonprofit Effectiveness 5 points
  • Discussion on Government and Business Relations 5 points
  • Discussion on Ethics & New Challenges 5 points


There is a mid-term exam which accounts for 25% of the course grade. Students must take the mid-term at scheduled time. Study questions for the mid-term will be distributed.

Service-learning (management consulting) project:

There is a term project requirement for the class accounting for 35% of your final grade. The projects will be requested by the nonprofit organization in the Central Florida region and will be distributed to you based on your interests. Each of you will prepare an organizational analysis report about your practical experience in the nonprofit organization. To apply what you have leaned you will be required to administer a self-assessment of a nonprofit organization of your choice after consulting with your professor. Details will be discussed later and an outline will be provided. You will identify a key area or issue in nonprofit management and frame a research question on it. The paper will be based on the relevant literature and information collected from a nonprofit organization. You need to get approval of the instructor on the research question and the choice of the nonprofit agency. The deadline for getting the instructor?s approval on these is 05/24/05 (as posted). The final paper is due on 04/25/06.

The paper needs to be at least 10 pages in length (double spaced) and should not exceed double spaced 15 pages in length. The report should cover the key areas of application of the topic are to be included using the text, the modules, the discussions, and outside consultants (assessment of the mission, strategic plans, and activities of a local nonprofit community organization, using the course texts as primary references for example). The objective of this paper is to provide concrete examples through which you can better understand the importance of mission to the functioning and success of nonprofit organizations and obtain direct experience in the mission-action connection. The project should also give you an excellent opportunity to network in the nonprofit world. The use of the APA format is required with a reference list.

Research Paper Evaluation:

Papers will be graded on (1) how well they describe the organization?s mission/actions, (2) the degree to which they integrate materials and concepts from the course texts and lectures, (3) the depth of the evaluation of the organization being studied, and (4) style and structure. Your paper should include an executive summary, an introduction, a literature review, the organizational analysis, a conclusion, and references, (appendices if needed).

The milestones for the production of the paper are as follows:

a. Select a nonprofit organization
b. Find news articles about the organization (in print or online)
c. Contact the organization and arrange for obtaining mission statement & strategic planning documents
d. Complete the survey instrument
e. Obtain those relevant documents
f. Identify organization activities that you will observe
g. Submit an outline of the paper
h. Submit the final service-learning management consulting project

Statement for Service-Learning: This section of PAD 6149 Nonprofit Administration is a UCF sanctioned service-learning class. Students will spend a minimum of fifteen hours over the course of the semester on a service-learning activity. This activity will address a need in our community, support our course objectives, involve a connection between the campus and the world around it, challenge students to be civically engaged, and involve structured student reflection. We will spend time reflecting on our service-learning experience through a service-learning management consulting project. While there is a 15 hour minimum for service to pass the course, your service-learning efforts will be the core of much of the learning in the course. Therefore your ?grade? for service-learning will come from the tangible class-related projects that come out of it rather than simply from completion of the
hour minimum.

Our service-learning work in this Nonprofit Administration course will involve a service-learning management consulting project report for a local nonprofit organization, public school, or government agency. This will allow students to work with a real world audience and will ensure that the significant time you put into your class project leads to meaningful results. I?ll offer some suggestions for possible organizations groups of students may choose to work with and I?ll invite you to suggest other options. I must approve all projects and each project will begin with a signed agreement among the students, the agency contact person, and me. No student is required to participate in a service placement to which he or she has religious, political, or moral objections. It?s the student?s responsibility to let me know about such objections before we finalize group assignments.

Writing ability: Successful graduate level work requires the ability to write clearly using correct grammar and spelling. Be sure to check all your written assignments and postings before submitting them as points will be taken off for improper spelling and poorly worded sentences.

Course Goals Worksheet

Community Goals:
Train future leaders, set example for community, etc.

Ensure excellence in education and training for public service and promote the ideal of public service.

UCF Goals:
Goal 1: Offer the best undergraduate education available in Florida.
Goal 2: Achieve international prominence in key programs of graduate study and research.
Goal 3: Provide international focus to our curricula and research programs.
Goal 4: Become more inclusive and diverse.
Goal 5: Be America’s leading partnership university.

College Goals:

  1. A commitment to service;
  2. Quality;
  3. Involvement in the work of improving our community. Contributions toward such goals as better healthcare, more effective crime prevention, the eradication of viral diseases and the development of higher living standards for all citizens through active partnerships with corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations.

Department Goals:

  1. Provide the highest quality graduate and undergraduate education for current and prospective public service officials in public and nonprofit organizations.
  2. Achieve local, state and national prominence through contemporary curriculum, innovative instruction, scholarly and applied research, and community service.
  3. Develop and enhance management skills essential to public and nonprofit organizations oriented towards an evolving metropolitan environment.
  4. Promote leadership through adherence to democratic principles and the highest standards of ethical conduct.

Instructor Goals:
Three pillars: collaboration, mutual respect, and engagement. In order for the common goal, respectively learning, to be reached, collaboration needs to be developed. In this collaboration, each partner needs to be actively engaged in reaching the goals.
Participative lectures: most of my classes have some level of award for participation, as I believe the best way of learning. I believe that by building an atmosphere of respect, collaboration and engagement in a classroom, a teacher not only teach, but also prepares students for life.

Course Goals:
At the completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Understand philanthropy, volunteerism, and nonprofit organizations and the role of the nonprofit sector in our society and economy,
  2. Explore and discuss managerial tools, techniques, and strategies for effectively administering nonprofit agencies,
  3. Identify the moral and ethical responsibilities of nonprofit administration,
  4. Discuss the leadership literature and application to nonprofit administration,
  5. Understand different legal issues as they pertain to the nonprofit sector,
  6. Explore the relationships among government, business, and nonprofit organizations,
  7. Identify trends, challenges, and opportunities in the nonprofit sector.

Student Goals:
Please list at least three:


School: University of Central Florida
Professor: Dr. Naim Kapacu
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