Syllabus for Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management 2010


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This is the syllabus for a graduate course I teach called the Theory & Practice of Nonprofit Management.

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Syllabus for Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management 2010

  1. 1. Milano, The New School for Management and Urban Policy Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management SYLLABUS as of 1-11-10Spring 2010Thursdays 6:00 p.m. to 7:50 p.m., January 28 through May 13Room 1107 at 6 East 16th Street (between Union Square and Fifth Ave.)Instructor: Graduate Assistant:Bonnie McEwan Emma FawcettOffice Hours: T & Th, Milano Rm. 703 ejf123@msn.com212-229-5400 x1618 (Milano office)917-693-0940 (mobile & best # for me)bonnie@makewavesnotnoise.comCourse Description:Theory and Practice is, in essence, the story of nonprofit organizations. It’s a big story, and asevery news reporter knows, a good way to tell a big story is to organize it in terms of the “fiveWs” – Who, What, When, Where and Why (and sometimes, How). In this course we will studyand debate these key components of the nonprofit story. What exactly are nonprofitorganizations, why do they exist, what do they look like, where are they, who are the peoplebehind them -- and importantly, where and how do you fit into the story?Today nonprofit executives and volunteers are faced with a dynamic operating environment thatrequires them to respond rapidly to change while at the same time staying true to the valuesthat originally inspired their work. They are subjected to increasing levels of public scrutiny andheightened expectations for performance while in the throes of a stagnant economy. On the flipside, technology and innovative thinking offer an array of new ideas and opportunities foraddressing the complex social issues that nonprofits seek to impact. What tools and skills dononprofit leaders need in order to meet contemporary challenges and maximize opportunitiesfor success? And once you are out in the nonprofit/NGO world of work, how will you balancecompeting demands and make sound decisions for your cause?The objective of this course is to help prepare you to do exactly that. We will examine thehistory and scope of the nonprofit sector, both globally and within the US, as well ascontemporary theories of nonprofit enterprise, governance and leadership, ethics, marketingand brand identity, advocacy techniques, decision-making models and current ideas aboutpossible futures for the sector. Students will leave the course with a solid understanding ofthese intriguing organizations whose bottom lines are focused not on generating profits, but onchanging lives.Required Reading:The texts below will serve as the basis for our discussions, supplemented by journal and otherarticles to be distributed in class or made available on BlackBoard.Robert D. Herman & Associates, The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership andManagement, Second Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, Inc., 2005.
  2. 2. Course Client: Council on Community Services, Port Chester, NYThe Council of Community Services of Port Chester, Rye Brook, and Rye Town is a nonprofit501c3 organization whose mission is to bring together community leaders to assess and meetthe vital needs of the community by identifying those needs and working towards solutions by 1)mobilizing community involvement, 2) developing, redirecting and/or coordinating services, 3)advocating for informed decisions by policy makers and contributors and 4) linking people withcommunity resources. Learn more about our client at Requirements/GradingThere will be two required writing assignments and one group project:1. A short paper (3 - 5 pages) assessing where our course client, the Council for Community Services (CCS), fits into the larger context of the nonprofit sector and suggesting applicable theories that may account for its existence and mission. Course readings, a client meeting and class discussion will provide the basis for your analysis and should be cited in your paper. This paper is due in hard copy at the beginning of class on February 25 (week 5).2. A term paper (12 - 15 pages) on a topic of your choosing that is related to nonprofit policy issues or management functions as suggested by this course. The paper should reflect research and should be properly annotated. To stimulate your thinking, there is a list of some possible topics at the end of this syllabus. To avoid dead ends and time-consuming false starts, term paper topic approval is required in advance. The deadline for approval of term paper topics is April 1 (week 9). Please submit a 1-2 page outline of your paper topic for approval. The term paper is due in hard copy at the beginning of class on Thursday, May 6 (week 14). You should plan on sharing some of your findings as a part of the class discussion on May 6th.3. The group project focuses on analyzing the challenges and opportunities of our course client and suggesting strategies and techniques to help CCS improve its performance. Students will be divided into small consulting groups of 4 or 5 people and will work as a team. Each group will submit its recommendations in a single PowerPoint presentation, supplemented by an explanatory narrative of no more than 5 pages in hard copy, on Thursday, April 15. More details of the group project will be discussed in class.Students are expected to discuss all assignments in class. All papers should be annotated orfootnoted with sources used according to MLA style. LATE SUBMISSIONS WILL BEPENALIZED ONE-HALF GRADE. PAPERS THAT ARE LATE BY MORE THAN ONE WEEKWILL BE PENALIZED A FULL GRADE.Please note that an Incompete is given only in cases of medical emergency or bereavement.Class attendance, promptness, and participation in class discussions are very important. Thefinal course grade will be computed as follows: Class attendance and participation 30% Short paper 15% Group project 25% Term Paper 30%Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management -- Bonnie McEwan 2
  3. 3. Class Schedule and Assignments:Week 1 - Thursday, January 28The ‘Who’ Is You.What you bring and why you’re hereWeek 2 - Thursday, February 4What Is a Nonprofit, Anyway?The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapter 3, “The Legal Framework of the Nonprofit Sector in the United States,” Thomas Silk,and in e-Reserve: “Recollections of Institution-Building” (1771-84), from the Autobiography ofBenjamin Franklin and “Debate Over a Great Society Nonprofit Organization in Mississippi”(1967), Senator John Stennis and Attorney Marian Wright, both in Hammack, David C., Makingthe Nonprofit Sector in the United States, pp. 70-84 and pp. 422-438, respectively.Week 3 – Thursday, February 11Where and When – A Brief History of the SectorThe Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapter 1, “Historical Perspectives on Nonprofit Organizations in the United States,” PeterDobkin Hall, and Chapter 5, “The Internationalization of the Nonprofit Sector”, Helmut K.Anheier, Nuno Themudo, and in e-Reserve: “Economic Cooperation Among Negro Americans”(1907), by W.E.B. Du Bois, in Hammack, David C., Making the Nonprofit Sector in the UnitedStates, pp. 264-285.Week 4 - Thursday, February 18The Five Ws of CCS: Client presentation in classThe Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapter 4, “The Changing Context of American Nonprofit Management,” Lester M. Salamon.Week 5 – Thursday, February 25 – First paper due at beginning of classWho’s in Charge Here? – LeadershipThe Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapter 6, “Board Leadership and Board Development”, Nancy R. Axelrod and Chapter 7,“Executive Leadership”, Robert Herman and Richard Heimovics.Week 6 - Thursday, March 4What’s Up, Doc? – Strategic PlanningThe Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapter 8, “The Strategy Change Cycle…” John M Bryson.Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management -- Bonnie McEwan 3
  4. 4. Week 7 - Thursday, March 11How’re We Doing? – Organization AssessmentThe Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapters 14 and 16, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Nonprofit Organizations”, Vic Murray and“Outcome Assessment and Program Evaluation”, John Clayton Thomas.SPRING BREAK – Thursday, March 18 – NO CLASSWeek 8 – Thursday, March 25Who We Are and Why We Matter – Marketing & Brand IdentityThe Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapter 12, “Marketing for Nonprofit Managers”, Brenda Gainer, Mel S. MoyerWeek 9 - Thursday, April 1Where Does the Money Come From? – Revenue GenerationThe Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapter 17, “Designing and Managing the Fundraising Program”, Robert E. Rogal, andChapter 18, “Enterprise Strategies for Generating Revenue”, Cynthia W. Massarsky.Harvard Business Review, “Should Nonprofits Seek Profits?” William Foster and JeffreyBradach, February 2005Assignment for week 10: Bring in a completed Form 990 from guidestar.orgWeek 10 - Thursday, April 8And Where Does It Go?The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapters 19 and 20, “Financial Accounting and Financial Management”, Robert N. Anthonyand David W. Young, and “Management Accounting”, David W. YoungWeek 11 - Thursday, April 15 - Group projects dueWho’s on First? – Managing people in a nonprofitThe Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapters 13, 22 and 23, “Designing and Managing Volunteer Programs”, Jeffrey L. Brudney.“Keeping the Community Involved: Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers”, Stephen McCurley.“Finding the Ones You Want…”, Mary R. Watson, Rikki Abzug.Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management -- Bonnie McEwan 4
  5. 5. Week 12 - Thursday, April 22Advocacy and EthicsThe Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapters 9 and 10. “Nonprofit Lobbying”, Bob Smucker and “Ethical Nonprofit Management”,Thomas H. Jeavons.Week 13 - Thursday, April 29What Lies Ahead – Possible Futures for the Nonprofit SectorThe Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Second Edition,Chapter 2 and Conclusion. “ Nonprofit Organizations and Social Institutions”, Jon Van Til, and“The Future of Nonprofit Management”, Robert D. Herman, and in e-Reserve: Akira Iriye,Global Community: The Role of International Organizations in the Making of the ContemporaryWorld, “Conclusion,” pp. 195-209.Week 14 - Thursday, May 6 - Term paper due at beginning of classWhat I DiscoveredRound Robin Discussion of Paper Topics and FindingsWeek 15 – Thursday, May 13What Will You Carry?The Two-Sentence TakeawayTheory and Practice of Nonprofit Management -- Bonnie McEwan 5
  6. 6. Possible areas of study for term papers, with some examples♦ Critique of selected nonprofit sector theories ♦ Choose two theories that you like and defend them. Give specific examples of instances where you see these theories in practice. ♦ Challenge two theories you think are faulty. As above, be specific.♦ Strategic planning in Nonprofit Organizations ♦ Defend strategic planning. Why is it worth the time and effort when many plans end up sitting on a shelf? ♦ Suggest ways to improve the planning process in an existing organization with which you are familiar. Cite specific research you conducted with that organization.♦ Nonprofit Governance and leadership ♦ Topic: How to recruit and train a high functioning nonprofit board ♦ Should clients sit on a nonprofit board? Why or why not? Give examples from real organizations that you have researched and interviews you conducted.♦ Human Resources management in nonprofit organizations ♦ How can nonprofit organizations attract top talent in high-demand fields (IT, e.g.)? ♦ Should nonprofits adopt corporate-style management practices? (e.g., nomenclature, bonuses, marketing budgets). What are the pros and cons?♦ Dilemmas of attracting and rewarding competence in nonprofit organizations ♦ Is maintaining internal pay equity worth sacrificing a nonprofit’s ability to attract new, more expensive talent? ♦ Should nonprofits require continuous professional development training for staff? How would such a program work? Who would pay? Would top management be included?♦ Nonprofit law ♦ Some nonprofits seem to skirt the laws regarding tax-exempt activities, such as making profits or lobbying. Should there be sanctions against those that do? What would the sanctions looks like? Who would oversee them? How would you assure fairness in application of the sanctions? ♦ Should nonprofit organizations be allowed to deny certain people membership? If yes, on what basis? Race? Gender expression? Citizenship? Criminal record? Religious belief? If no, can you think of any instances when an exception should be made?♦ Nonprofit advocacy ♦ Defend this statement: Nonprofits have every right to advocate for public policies that benefit their clients.Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management -- Bonnie McEwan 6
  7. 7. ♦ Challenge the statement above.♦ Issues of racial, ethnic and cultural diversity in the nonprofit sector ♦ Many nonprofits are formed around issues of common identity (e.g., Gay Men of African Descent, Willie Mae’s Rock Camp for Girls, Presbyterian Women United). As nonprofit organizations become increasingly diverse, when does a group become not a group? In other words, at what point is the membership so diverse that the group no longer has a common identity? Or is this whole idea just a smokescreen to avoid diversity? Give specific examples from your own research, reading and experience.♦ Fundraising and development ♦ What are the two or three most pressing issues in fundraising today? How do you think they should be addressed? ♦ Challenge or defend this statement: Earned income, social entrepreneurship and other forms of revenue generation are eclipsing traditional fund development in the nonprofit sector. Give concrete examples to support your position.♦ Nonprofit marketing ♦ These days many nonprofit organizations are spending significant money on branding campaigns. Either challenge or defend this practice, citing examples to support your views. ♦ Analyze the marketing strategy of a successful nonprofit organization of your choice. How do you know the strategy is successful?♦ International nonprofit management ♦ Topic: Choose a global nonprofit that maintains offices in several different areas of the world. Assess the way cultural differences impact the management of the organization. ♦ Of the wealthy, “developed” nations some (e.g., the Netherlands, the UK) routinely donate more money per capita to the “developing” world than do others (e.g., the US, Japan). Research, discover and discuss the possible reasons for this.♦ History of the nonprofit sector ♦ It is sometimes said that religion is the godmother of the nonprofit sector. This begs the question, which religion? Or do all religions promote “charity?” Research at least two different religions (e.g., Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, etc.) and trace how, if at all, the religions facilitated the development of charitable organizations. ♦ Today foundations play a significant role in American culture, with an influence beyond that which comes from simple grantmaking. How did this come about and what do you see as the role of foundations in the future?Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management -- Bonnie McEwan 7
  8. 8. ♦ Management issues for small nonprofits ♦ Compared to larger nonprofits, what are the pros and cons of being a small nonprofit in today’s economic and political environment? ♦ Are some charitable purposes (aka missions) more suitably carried out by small nonprofits rather than large ones? What do these missions have in common that allow them to be classified or grouped together? Cite several specific examples to support your points.♦ Ethical issues for nonprofits ♦ Develop a set of ethical principles that a nonprofit organization could ask potential board members to sign. Explain your reasons for including each of the principles in the document. ♦ What systems and controls should a typical nonprofit have in place to ensure that its staff and volunteers operate ethically? Give examples of how these controls work.♦ Scope and dimensions of the nonprofit sector ♦ Each year the IRS grants 501(c)3 status to tens of thousands of new nonprofit organizations. Discuss the pros and cons of adding all of these new nonprofits annually to an already large and diverse sector. ♦ Some nonprofits seem to have more in common with for-profit organizations working in the same field than they do with other nonprofits. Cite several examples and explain why you think this is true. Or refute this statement, also with examples.♦ Technology’s impact on the nonprofit sector ♦ Discuss how technological developments in the last 5 years have changed the way that advocacy nonprofit organizations do business. ♦ Internet technologies have made it possible for some nonprofit organizations to exist virtually, with no physical office space. Select three such nonprofits and compare/contrast the way they do business. Are the missions of these groups dependent on their ability to be virtual, and if so how?♦ Measuring the impact of the nonprofit sector on society ♦ Discuss various methods for measuring the impact that an individual nonprofit organization may be having on the society at large. Give specific examples. ♦ Defend or challenge this statement: The nonprofit sector is essential to maintaining a free society. As always, give specific examples to support your contentions.Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management -- Bonnie McEwan 8