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MGT-X800 Overview of the Nonprofit Sector

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Course Description

Make a Greater Difference: Learn How Nonprofits Work

This course provides a foundation for understanding nonprofit organizations within the greater context of the nonprofit sector and society as a whole. Students will learn about the characteristics of nonprofit organizations/nonprofit organizational structures, dimensions of the nonprofit sector, how the nonprofit sector developed in the U.S. and understand theories about why the sector exists in its current form. The economics of the nonprofit sector will be explored as will emerging sector trends.

Learning Objectives:

  • An increased understanding of the role of nonprofits in the US as well as the different sub-sectors within the sector
  • Knowledge of the predominant models and theories of nonprofit management and the current trends shaping activity in the sector
  • Understanding of key theories of board governance
  • Substantial knowledge about the essential role of sound business practices in the operation of nonprofit corporations

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Learner Outcomes

  • Describe overarching attributes of the nonprofit sector
  • Critique examples of nonprofit governance and identify best practices
  • Critically explore benefits and drawbacks to market-based philanthropy
  • Identify trends in the nonprofit sector and in the philanthropic landscape
  • Explain the major differences and complementary relationships between nonprofit, for-profit, and government
  • Identify major nonprofit funding models
  • Compare legal duties of board members and the types of non-profit boards
  • Identify emerging models of social enterprise
  • Survey the governmental and non-governmental regulatory bodies and their functions for nonprofit organizations
  • Survey laws governing nonprofit lobbying
  • Synthesize the relationship between funding, governance, and regulation

Course Details

Number of Units: 1.0 graduate level extension credit in semester hours

Course Format: Offered as Classroom or Online Fixed-Date format. Our online courses offer the same high-quality content and expert instruction as the courses held on-ground at the University of San Diego. Instructors facilitate courses through engaging multimedia presentations and provide prompt feedback to questions within a 24-48 hour time frame. Online learning allows students to interact with classmates worldwide and replicate in-classroom interactions through weekly discussion forums, chats and email correspondence.

Required Materials: All required materials are available through the online learning platform.


Leslie Hennessy, PhD in Leadership Studies with an emphasis in nonprofit leadership, has served on various nonprofit boards. Closest to her heart is the mission of Canine Companions for Independence that provides assistance dogs to individuals with disabilities. Leslie serves on the Canine Companions national board and is also a 13-time puppy raiser. She has over 25 years as a senior executive of a for-profit company that produces and sells products globally. 



Applies Towards the Following Certificate(s), Professional Programs and Series


  MGT-X800 - 011 Overview of the Nonprofit Sector      
  2016 - SP   Status:  Available
Online (fixed date):   19 Jan 2016 to 15 Feb 2016
Course Fee(s):
BUS PD - $379 credit    $379.00
Potential Discount(s):
BUS PD - Save 10%! 4 Week Early Registration
Section Fees:
One time only non-refundable certificate fee $100.00
  Available for Extension Credit: 1.0 units
1.25 CEUs
Course Format:  Online Fixed Date
Instructor(s): Leslie Hennessy
  Section Notes:  All required materials are available through the online learning platform.