Course Descriptions – On Campus Program

Fall Courses

Leaders of organizations must often make difficult decisions that pit the rights of one set of stakeholders against another. Having multiple stakeholders or bottom-lines brings with it challenges when conflicts arise, with the perennial question of whose rights/benefits prevail?  What trade-offs need to be made between multiple bottom lines? Does the mission of the organization prevail over the privileges of employees/clients? To what extent can large donors influence the mission of the organization? What is an appropriate social return on investment? This course will introduce the factors that influence moral conduct, the ethical issues that arise when pursuing social goals, and discuss the best ways to promote ethical conduct within such organizations. The course will use specific case studies, real and hypothetical, to analyze a variety of ethical issues that arise [including finance, governance, accountability, fundraising, labor (paid and unpaid), client groups, and service provision] among the multiple stakeholders and balancing multiple bottom-lines. This course is offered in the fall semester and will conclude by discussing ways that organizations can prevent and correct misconduct, develop a spirit of ethical behavior, and institutionalize ethical values in the organization’s culture.

Fall 2020

Thursdays, 4:00pm – 7:00pm

Economic analysis and financial accounting are like languages: fluency comes with practice. In-class review of case studies (including, on occasion, in-person discussions with the representatives of diverse agencies and organizations featured in the case studies) will enable students to test and develop their capacity for applying conceptual tools and analytical methods to sometimes messy and always complicated, real-life situations.

The course objective is to develop theoretical understanding, critical judgment, and practical skills for sensitive and effective engagement with financial and economic matters of significance. Students will learn:

  • Different ways of thinking about the economic foundations of social policy,
  • The basic terminology, tools, and methods for analyzing the financial statements of a wide range of organizations, and
  • Accounting procedures for evaluating business, government, and organizational operations, policies, and practices.

This course is at once macro and micro in its orientation. It provides a conceptual basis—derived from mainstream and alternative perspectives—for thinking about the economic and financial dimensions of human development and social policy, and it introduces a set of core competencies for leadership and financial management of organizations, including conventionally and alternatively structured for-profit enterprises and not-for-profit organizations, consulting firms, research institutions, schools, arts and culture organizations, governmental agencies, philanthropies, cooperatives and employee owned businesses, movement collectives, labor unions, religious institutions, community development corporations, community development financial institutions, local currencies, community land trusts, resource trusts, and other third-sector organizations. The course is open to students across the University. All graduate students who take this course must register under NPLD 790. All undergraduate students must register under NPLD 590.

Fall 2020

Tuesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

CALL TO ACTION! It is time for the next generation to reshape the world. NPLD 791 provides opportunities for participants to create new insights that help to rebuild the environment-humanity relationship, advance the human condition, and re-form the prevailing economic system.

NPLD 791 is a 1 cu synchronous, virtual, experiential course that operates on the principles of discovery learning. It has three parts: (1) A primer that explains the course architecture; (2) Module 1, which enables course members to hone their inter-personal and group skills while also studying a scholarly text on a specific societal dilemma; (3) Module 2, which has course members working together, developing implementable plans that address a real world problem of their choosing.

In 791 members are in three separate sections for the primer and Module 1. In Module 2 all sections work together. A special feature of this course is that participants co-discover and co-create three different bodies of insights. After every session, small groups of participants co-educate their peers about what they have just learned. This has a multiplier effect. Basically each individual does one full course, but gains three courses worth of education.

Permits required. To get a permit please contact Jeff Klein and you will be registered for one of the following sections. All Penn Graduate School members are welcome. (791 is the precursor to the Power Lab at Penn.)

Fall 2020
Primer and Module 1

Section 301: Tuesdays of September 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th & October 6th, 5:30pm-9.30pm

Section 302: Wednesdays of September 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th & October 7th, 5:30pm-9:30pm

Section 303: Thursdays of September 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & October 1st, 8th, 5:30pm-9.30pm

Co-educational events (all sections jointly): Sundays of September 13th, 20th, 27th & October 4th, 6:00pm-7:00pm

Module 2

All sections jointly
Friday, October 9th, 6:00pm-9:00pm
Saturday, October 10th, 9:00am-12:00pm & 1:30pm-5:30pm
Friday, October 16th, 6:00pm-9:00pm
Saturday, October 17th, 9:00am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-5:00pm

This fall semester course will review the everyday tools that nonprofit managers and development officers need to raise funds from individuals and other sources of private philanthropy. Last year, Americans gave approximately $300 million to charitable organizations and 83% of it was from individual giving. The fundraising profession has created a body of knowledge in the past twenty years that can guide effective fundraising programs so that charitable organizations can support their mission. The class sessions will review the theory and practical techniques that development professionals use everyday in large and small organizations, including annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, cultivation of donors, making your case for support, the Seven Faces of Philanthropy, special events, and prospect research. There will also be discussions of philanthropic trends and current giving patterns. For those who are interested in nonprofit leadership and positions of influence, these will be critical tools to understand.

Fall 2020

Mondays, 5:00pm – 8:00pm

This half credit course will provide the tools and framework for helping to understand the role that marketing and brand building can play in the non-profit sector. As such, we will create a shared understanding of the key concepts that help define branding and the classic elements of marketing that will serve as a foundation for discussion and analysis throughout the semester. We will identify the fundamental differences that non-profit organizations face in building their brands and how those challenges differ from traditional/for profit brand building. We will identify tools and frameworks that brands/organizations can use to help design and implement marketing strategy. We will utilize current and relevant case studies that help demonstrate the core concepts of this course.

Fall 2020

Wednesdays: September 9th, September 23rd, October 7th, October 21st, November 4th, and November 18th, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Half credit

The first part of the course will offer a broad perspective on development, aid, and the role of NGOs. The latter half of the course will focus on issues in NGO management: problem analysis, solution design, fundraising, staffing (expatriate and local), monitoring and evaluation (including randomized controlled trials). The course is aimed at students with none to moderate experience in international development, but students with extensive work experience with NGOs or development work are encouraged to join.

Fall 2020

Wednesdays, 10:00am – 12:50pm

The twofold purpose of social impact measurement is to assess and improve the impact of nonprofit programs and to offer actionable information for ongoing improvement. Social impact measurement is an essential learning opportunity for grantmaker and grantee. However, developing an evaluation plan, instruments, and process that is culturally responsive with an equity lens and also aligned with nonprofit’s capacity is critical.

This course will offer an overview of leading social impact measurement methodologies and tools and field exercise experience. During the field exercise, student teams will develop an evaluation plan and associated instruments for a local nonprofit using one or more of the methodologies. Teams will present their evaluation plans and offer recommendations for implementation. Lectures will be complemented by class time devoted to field exercise team meetings and off-site field work.

Fall 2020

Mondays, 9:00am – 11:50am

Spring Courses

This course introduces students to important international development challenges and different approaches adopted in addressing them. Seven specific development challenges: hunger, health care, education, credit provision, risk management, provision of savings avenues and livelihood creation will be discussed in detail. The prevailing scenario, the progress made and the gaps that remain will be discussed. The different approaches adopted in addressing each issue will be highlighted after which one or two international cases will be discussed in detail. Some of the approaches discussed include initiatives by cross sector collaborations, not for profits, for-profit social enterprises, philanthropic organisations, and innovative Government programs.

The penultimate session will focus on the challenges of adopting innovative approaches to development challenges in bureaucratic settings, an area that is especially important as well as particularly challenging. Strategies and tactics used by such innovators will be discussed. The final session will be about scaling up successful innovations. Different models that have been used to scale up innovation will be discussed. Both final sessions also include case study discussions.

Spring 2021

Mondays, 5:30pm – 8:30pm EST

This half credit course will provide a basic understanding of the law that applies to nonprofit organizations, with an emphasis on the law affecting 501(c)(3) public charities. It will focus on ways to obtain and maintain federal tax exempt status, including issues of private inurement and private benefit, limits on advocacy, lobbying and electioneering, unrelated business income tax, and excess benefits taxes. It will show how legal structure and governance procedures affect the answer to the question “Whose Organization Is It?” Students will review bylaws of multiple organizations to see how differences in structure reflect the great diversity of nonprofits and why “one size does not fit all” within the sector. They will learn how to avoid bad legal drafting that can create problems for dysfunctional organizations.

The course will explain fiduciary duty of officers and directors, explore the extent of potential personal liability, and review necessary insurance and indemnification. It will review Form 990 publicly available tax returns of multiple nonprofits to see why a tax return may be a nonprofit’s most important public relations document. It will also review the basics of charitable giving through a mock meeting of university development officers, outline the concepts of planned giving, and discuss the requirements for charitable solicitation registration at the state level. It will explain the legal requirements for maintaining endowments and discuss a series of ethical issues that can face nonprofit executives and their lawyers.

Students will receive one year of free access to Don Kramer’s Nonprofit Issues® website, and will emerge with a better understanding of the key legal issues facing the nonprofit sector that regularly make the news.

Spring 2021

Thursdays: January 21st, February 4th, February 18th, March 4th, March 18th, and April 1st, 6:00pm-9:00pm EST

Americans gave more than $400 billion to nonprofit organizations last year, the highest total ever recorded.  Now, more than ever, it is crucial that nonprofit leaders master the art and science of raising philanthropic capital.  Participants in this innovative class will:

  • acquire an understanding of the nonprofit funding landscape;
  • learn proven and creative strategies to secure investments;
  • gain the experience of giving and motivating charitable commitments; and
  • receive peer evaluation and professional consulting feedback.

This experiential and interactive learning half credit course will provide students an opportunity to evaluate a nonprofit organization endeavoring to attract voluntary support, and coach students to think through and develop the ideas, skills, and tools required to participate personally in today’s philanthropic market.

Spring 2021

Fridays: February 19th, February 26th, March 19th, March 26th, and April 16th, 10:00am – 12:00pm EST

This half credit class will provide students with the ability to use the financial tools of cash flow, budgeting, and forecasting models to assist in strategic thinking as it relates to a nonprofit organization. In addition the class will provide tools that can be used to follow implementation of such strategies including: personal cash flow; basic financial statements; supplemental schedules; and cash flow, budgeting, and forecasting.

Spring 2021

Fridays: January 22nd, January 29th, February 5th, February 12th
Mondays: January 25th, February 1st, February 8th
5:00pm – 8:00pm

Students will learn how innovation and entrepreneurship play a central role in public problem solving. The course will explore how social entrepreneurs co-develop new ideas with key stakeholders, articulate problems and solutions, define intended impact, understand competition, and collaborate with other actors. At the end of the course, students will have mastered a set of conceptual tools and strategies that will allow them to be effective problem solvers in diverse settings throughout their careers. The course has five core objectives:

  1. To introduce students to the concepts and practices of social entrepreneurship;
  2. To introduce students to the components of a successful social enterprise;
  3. To train students to view the world from a perspective of social innovation;
  4. To encourage and empower students to develop their own innovative solutions to different social problems around the world.
  5. To introduce students to real social issues and social innovations in a real-world setting.
Spring 2021

Tuesdays and Thursdays, January 26th – February 25th, 12:00pm – 1:20pm EST

This course is designed for interdisciplinary students interested in cultivating flourishing organizations, engaged stakeholders, and inspiring leaders across sectors and especially within nonprofits. Over the past several years, the field of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) has proliferated, yielding a compelling body of knowledge on how and when people thrive at work. This course focuses on both the theoretical and practical insights that can be gained from cutting-edge POS research and applied to help practitioners enrich people’s experiences at work and beyond.  Special attention is placed on how this wisdom applies not only across sectors but also specifically to the nonprofit organizational context.

The course is built upon a foundation of experiential learning, such that students can expect to experiment and apply course concepts in their own lives throughout the semester. In other words, students will start with themselves as the first site of learning and development. The experiential community is enhanced further with team projects where students assess and consult with local nonprofit organizations. These team projects culminate in students presenting to their actual nonprofit organizations their recommendations for enhanced strategy and practices.

In particular, the learning objectives of the course provide students with:

  1. Techniques and real-world experience in using positive leadership concepts to enrich one’s own career, relationships, and life;
  2. Ability to identify opportunities to use positive leadership practices in the workplace to enhance stakeholder engagement, individual and organizational performance, and collective impact;
  3. Tools for applying positive leadership concepts in nonprofits, as well as all other organizational domains (e.g., business, government, coaching, the family, etc.);
  4. Research and consulting experience with a local non-profit organization.
Spring 2021

January 23rd-24th, February 20th-21st, March 20th-21st, April 17th-18th; 9:00am – 4:00pm EST

Design and Incorporation of High Impact Not-For-Profits is designed for those who have a practitioner’s interest in the design, governance, leadership, and management of high impact not-for-profit organizations.  This course is taught through learning best practice theory, applying this theory to a simulation experience, and providing students the opportunity to apply their new knowledge and experience in an interview with a current not-for-profit leader. Students, through the combination of theory and practice, are provided with the essential competencies and tools to design and incorporate a not-for-profit, conduct in-depth analysis of a not-for-profit’s effectiveness including, but not limited to, governance, leadership, social impact, financial sustainability, and systems and policy influence.

Through the mock simulation process of designing, incorporating, and governing students will leave with a “best practice” not-for-profit manual that includes articles of incorporation, bylaws, governance deliverables, strategic business plan, organizational scorecard, 3-5 year budget, development plan and public policy strategy.

The knowledge and tools, gained through readings and the mock simulation experience, will be applied, in the form of a thorough analysis, to the governance, leadership, strategic and/or business model, financial sustainability, social impact, marketing and communication, and public policy influence of an existing organization.

Spring 2021

Tuesdays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm EST

NPLD 750 examines the relationship between business and society using the prevalent framework of corporate social responsibility (CSR) with a focus on corporate philanthropy. The large question that we focus on is “What is the responsibility of business to society, if any?” We examine how it is conceptualized, its practice, the societal partnerships forged, and its impact. Businesses performing philanthropic activity often use their platform of CSR activities to engage with society, directly, via a corporate foundation, or through partnerships with nonprofit organizations. Although such philanthropic activities are not directly related to profit-making ventures, they may boost their reputation, be used in marketing their products, talent recruitment, increase employee engagement and commitment, and thus contribute to the profit indirectly. Many businesses undertake their CSR related philanthropic activities using strategic partnerships with nonprofits or public sector organizations to meet their goals. This provides opportunities to nonprofit and public sector leaders in achieving social and sustainable change.

Spring 2021

May 20th – June 1st, 10:30am – 12:00pm & 2:00pm – 4:00pm over 6 synchronous days

This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental issues in strategic management and leadership of nonprofit organizations, with an emphasis on acquiring operational skills grounded in research and critical thinking. The course is designed for those who may have had years of experience managing other people and programs in the nonprofit sector but who want to develop a more systematic mastery of this challenge, as well as students from other sectors who aspire to a nonprofit leadership role. Most class periods will consist of a combination of discussion and lecture. Lectures will introduce new concepts; class discussion and group exercises will allow us to explore and apply those concepts. Guest speakers will share their insights and experiences. You should feel free to ask questions during lectures and are encouraged to engage in discussions.

Spring 2021

Tuesdays, 2:00pm – 5:00pm

CALL TO ACTION! It is time for the next generation to reimagine and shape anew a desired future for this world. NPLD 791 provides opportunities for participants to create new ways of managing our environment-humanity relationships, advance the human condition, and re-examine our assumptions about wealth creation and distribution. Those new approaches begin with developing greater interpersonal and group skills, which enable us to function better in the current environment where human connection can be elusive.

NPLD 791 is a 1 cu synchronous, virtual, experiential course that operates on the principles of discovery learning. It has four parts: Module 1 introduces the intellectual and experiential architecture of the course; Module 2 gives participants many opportunities to hone their interpersonal and group dynamics skills while also studying a scholarly text on a specific societal dilemma (potential topics are pandemics, restorative justice, truth and reconciliation commissions, how China became capitalist; the abundance paradigm); Module 3 has course members working together, developing implementable plans that address a real world problem of their choosing; Module 4 entails reading a final book and writing a final paper, which integrates the participant’s learnings with the insights created by the course participants.

For module 1 and 2 NPLD 791 participants are assigned to one of three separate sections. In Module 3 all sections work together. During Module 4, course members work alone. A special feature of this course is that during Modules 1 & 2 participants co-discover and co-create three different bodies of insights. After every class session, small groups of participants co-educate their peers across cohorts about what they have just learned. This has a multiplier effect, which gives individuals much more than a single course worth of education.

All Penn Graduate School members are welcome. (NPLD 791 is the precursor to the Power Lab @ Penn.)

Spring 2021

Thursdays, 3:00pm – 6:00pm EST

This spring semester course will focus on how urban communities are shaped by the nonprofit sector and the billions of philanthropic dollars that fuel their work. By bridging theory and practice, the class explores what dynamics are at play to deliver vital services or programs in health care, education, the arts, community development, and other issues. The course will also focus on these important questions:

  • Whose responsibility is the public good? How is that responsibility shared by the public, private, and nonprofit sectors?
  • Given the responsibility for the public good, which individuals and groups make the decisions about how to serve the public good?

Students will consider these questions in an interdisciplinary context that will bring a historical and philosophical perspective to the examination of the values and institutions that characterize contemporary philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. All NPL students who take this course must register under NPLD 797.

Spring 2021

Wednesdays, 5:30pm – 8:30pm EST

Summer Courses

Thinking like a designer can transform the way people and organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy. This approach, called design thinking, brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren’t trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. Design thinking is a deeply human process that taps into abilities we all have but get overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. It relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional, and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols. Design thinking is something you can learn only by doing, so we’ll get out into the world and tackle a design challenge of our own together. We’ll learn how to research by researching, learn how to prototype by prototyping and learn how to communicate our ideas by pitching to a group of experts. At the end of the class you should feel confident in your abilities to apply design thinking to any challenge you’re facing and to come up with new ideas and solutions as a result.

Summer 2020

Synchronous Sessions: Thursdays, 7:00 – 9:00PM EST

SOCIAL, PUBLIC and LAW POLICY is designed for students to strengthen and develop their skills to formulate, shape, and influence public policy. Students will strengthen and develop their skills in policy formulation and implementation. The social, economic, legal, ethical, and political environments, which influence public policy, planning, evaluation, and funding will be explored. Participants will (a) analyze the structural, social, and policy issues that have galvanized advocacy efforts and (b) explore the roles that the government, private sector, and consumers and advocacy groups play in setting policy agendas and examine the intended and unintended effects of these policies.

With an increasing competitive market, the overall social sector is changing the landscape for private, nonprofit and government organizations nationally and globally. The public, as well as leaders in government, social investors and philanthropists are demanding new social models that are cost effective, financially self-sustainable, adaptive to feedback and metrics, with clear outcome accountability measures, and the potential for large-scale impact, policy influence, and systems change.

Summer 2020

Synchronous Sessions: Tuesdays, 5:30pm – 7:30pm EST

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