Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations (11:607:400)

Fall 2017 Syllabus


Principles of Leadership (11:607:200) and Foundations of Volunteer Management (11:607:203)

Open to

Juniors and Seniors


In 2012, nonprofit organizations provided 11.4 million jobs, accounting for 10.3% of the country's private-sector workforce. Further, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment in the nonprofit sector grew 18%, (between 2000 and 2010), a rate faster than the overall U.S. economy. Accounting for 9.2% of wages in the U.S, the nonprofit sector paid $587 billion in wages and benefits to its employees in 2010.

In addition to paid workers, 62.8 million Americans volunteered 7.9 billion hours the estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $184 billion (The Corporation for National and Community Service). Specifically in 2014, 22.5% of New Jersey residents volunteered approximately 225.5 million hours of service equal to $5.2 billion of service contributed which ranked the State 45th among the 50 states and Washington, DC.

The nonprofit sector offers a rich and viable employment opportunity for students. Leaders in the nonprofit arena balance multiple stakeholders including executive boards, funders, employees and volunteers who are often at odds with each other and/or have competing priorities with respect to the fundamental mission of the organization.

Working in a nonprofit organization in the environmental sector, youth development, community health or agriculture, students need both leadership knowledge and the skill set to make a positive contribution. This course will focus on effective leadership for the nonprofit sector. Students will learn about their personal leadership style and develop goals to improve it. Strategic planning, fundraising, lobbying and advocacy along with managing employees in nonprofit arena will be addressed.

Course Description

3 credits. Leaders in nonprofit organizations face the unique challenge of finding creative ways to generate revenue, attract high caliber employees and volunteers without the lure of big salaries, maintain goodwill, and engage meaningful evaluation methods to determine organizational impact. In the nonprofit arena leaders must balance multiple stakeholders including executive boards, funders, employees and volunteers who are often at odds with each other and/or have competing priorities with respect to the fundamental mission of the organization. In this course students build the skill set for effective leadership in the nonprofit world. Strategic planning, fundraising, lobbying and advocacy along with leading a paid workforce and volunteer constituents in the nonprofit sector are addressed. Students identify their personal leadership style and develop specific goals for their continued growth and development.

Catalogue Description

Regardless of title or role, there are ample opportunities to serve in a leadership capacity while working at a nonprofit organization. Whether coordinating a project, chairing a committee, or managing a team, the goal is always to lead effectively. This course will focus on effective leadership for the nonprofit sector. Students will learn about their personal leadership style and develop goals to improve it. Strategic planning, fundraising, lobbying and advocacy along with managing employees in the nonprofit sector will be addressed.

Learning Goals

As a result of participating in this course, students will:

  • Identify distinguishing characteristics of nonprofit organizations
  • Develop leadership skills for leading both employees and volunteers in nonprofit organizations
  • Apply tools for developing a strategic plan for nonprofit organizations
  • Develop skills in marketing, communication, grantsmanship and advocacy for the nonprofit sector

Required Text

Nonprofit Management: Principles and Practice, Michael Worth, 4th edition, Sage Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, California, January 2016

Nonprofit Management: Principles and Practice addresses key topics affecting governance and management of nonprofit organizations. Worth covers the scope and structure of the nonprofit sector, leadership of nonprofits, managing the nonprofit organization, fundraising, nonprofit lobbying and advocacy. Including current data, relevant cases, and timely examples, and text balances research, theory, and practitioner literature.

Draft Syllabus

Week One: Introductions, Course Overview, Syllabus & Expectations


  • Nonprofit Management as a Profession and a Field of Study


  • Discussion: nonprofit experiences

Week Two: The Nonprofit Sector, Nonprofit Organizations and Nonprofit Management


  • Overview of the Nonprofit Sector
  • Theories of the Nonprofit Sector and Nonprofit Organizations


  • Discussion: Differentiate between nonprofit and profit organizations

Week Three: Governing Nonprofit Organizations


  • Case: OHNO Swim Club: Organizational Governance/Mission


  • Case study analysis

Week Four: Leading Nonprofit Organizations


  • Executive Leadership
  • Kouzes & Posner Leadership Challenge article


  • Leadership Challenge Assessments. Reaction Paper

Week Five: Leading Nonprofit Organizations


  • Case: Dickenson College: Inspiration for a Leadership Story


  • Case study analysis

Week Six: Accountability Performance Building and Developing Teams



  • Discussion: TBD

Week Seven: Managing Paid Staff and Service Volunteers


  • Case: Consultancy Development Organization


  • Case Study analysis

Week Eight: Strategic Planning


  • Strategic Planning and Strategic Management


  • SWOC analysis of assigned organization. Paper

Week Nine: Building Nonprofit Organizations


  • Capacity and Collaboration


  • Discussion: TBD

Week Ten: Marketing and Communication


  • Assigned readings from Ch. 10


  • Group Project: Design marketing plan. Presentation

Week Eleven: Advocacy and Lobbying


  • Assigned readings Ch. 15


  • Discussion

Week Twelve: Fundraising and Grantsmanship


  • Philanthropic Fund-Raising


  • Develop a proposal in response to assigned RFP

Week Thirteen: Ethical Leadership


  • Case: Good Intentions Gone Awry at National Kidney Foundation


  • Case study analysis

Week Fourteen: Nonprofit Strategy and Change


  • Assigned readings TBD


  • Final Project: Analysis of nonprofit

Basis for Grading

Students are assessed on quality and effort of their work, timeliness and participation.

  1. Participation in Threaded Discussions (4 Discussions @ 25 points each)
  2. Case Analysis (4 Assignments @ 100 points each)
  3. Papers (3@100 points each)
  4. Group Project 100 points
  5. Nonprofit organizational review and analysis 100 points

Accumulation of points will result in the following grade ranges for this course:

A = 900–1000 points
B = 800–899 points
C = 700–799 points
D = 600–699 points
F = below 600

SEBS Online and Hybrid Course Policy

  1. Description of pedagogical and practical reasons for an online/hybrid version of the course and its appropriateness, comparison with the traditional format of this or similar courses, and identification of which elements substitute for what, spelled out.

    Pedagogical reasons:
    • The online format will support an active learning environment in which students will review course materials, work collaboratively on group assignments and apply skills independently on individual assignments. The format provides more time for collaboration among students and for developing skills.
    • The online format will support a differentiated classroom, meaning that students with greater aptitude and background in the topic will have the opportunity to explore course topics in greater depth.
    Practical reasons:
    • The material is conducive to students working asynchronously at their own pace and learning (except as bound by assignment due dates). This benefits both traditional and non-traditional students who find flexibility in scheduling advantageous. In addition, this format helps students develop good time management skills under multiple demands for their time.
    This course could also be taught in a traditional format.
  2. The information required in the proposal of such courses will include syllabus, the url of the web site, and urls of planned online resources to be used.
    • Major elements of the syllabus are contained in this proposal.
    • The course will be housed on eCollege (onlinelearning.rutgers.edu/ecollege), and will follow a structure similar to other successful courses housed there.
    • The main course materials are currently under development, and are not available in complete form at this time.
  3. Limits on class size, and expectations of demands on course instructors, clearly spelled out and justified.

    For its first offering, class size will be limited to 20 students. This will allow the instructor to gauge student demands for one-on-one help with a limited class size. It is anticipated that the demands on the instructor will be similar to those for a traditional 3-credit course.
  4. Qualifications of the student target audience and prerequisites clearly spelled out and justified.

    The course is designated at the 400 level. Pre-requisites are: Principles of Leadership (11: 607:200) and Foundations of Volunteer Management (11:607:TBD). These pre-requisites will provide students with the necessary foundation to successfully complete the proposed course.
  5. Qualifications of the instructor(s) for online instruction clearly spelled out.

    The primary instructor has developed and taught seven online courses over the past 5 years teaching approximately 400 students. She has attended numerous Instructional Technology courses offered by Rutgers Center for Online & Hybrid Learning and Instructional Technology. Further, she has 30 years teaching experience and worked with numerous nonprofit organizations for over a decade. It is anticipated that other instructors who will teach this course will have online teaching experience and working with nonprofit organizations.
  6. Numbers of hours and timing of required student online involvement clearly spelled out, as well as all other expectations of what students must do and when.

    Students will need to complete assignments weekly as itemized in the course syllabus. Assignments will consist of reading course materials, collaboration in group assignments, and completing individual assignments. It is expected that these assignments will take approximately 5 to 7 hours a week, which is equivalent to the 2.5 hours of seat time plus 3 to 5 hours of homework in a traditional 3-credit course.
  7. Rubric for evaluation of student online participation spelled out.

    A quantitative grading rubric will be developed for class participation. Participation will be included in the grading of group assignments. An example rubric the instructor developed for another course can be viewed below.
  8. Measures for ensuring academic integrity, and specifically identity integrity, for the course. (For examples, testing issues need to be addressed in courses that involve exams.)

    Students will be directed to the University’s Academic Integrity Policy, and warned about the consequences of plagiarism. A clear distinction will be made between group assignments and individual assignments. Turnitin.com will be used to check the uniqueness of student assignments as appropriate. No exams or quizzes will be used.
Category Content/Organization Fluency Critical Thinking
Grade Spectrum
A thru B+
Entry contains complete answers to ALL questions.

Paper is well organized with all critical parts including introduction, body, conclusion(s), literature cited. Paper has 'flow'.
Entry manifests good grammar, sentence structure and spelling. Answers reflect critical thinking, connect the student’s experiences to the chapter/course material.

Answers include specific references, quotes, from the assigned readings. Additional sources beyond the text are required for top scores.
Grade Spectrum
B thru C
Entry provides answers to most questions but misses 1 or 2.

Paper has minor organizational deficiencies and/or 'flow' issues.
Entry has no more than 2–3 simple or basic grammatical errors. Answers are basic, but appear to be sincere attempts to answer the questions. Demonstrate some understanding of course material, but the essay does not reflect critical thinking. Answers are superficial/incomplete lacking depth Student needs to "dig deeper."

References are minimal and/or repetitive.
Grade Spectrum
D thru F
Entry significantly misses key question or does not answer important questions.

Paper has major organizational issues and lacks 'flow'.
Entry contains one or more sentence fragments, run-on sentences, or serious grammatical problems. Answers are superficial and do not reflect thoughtful consideration or reflect important aspects of the chapter/course material, and/or the student’s experiences. No references to the readings.
Sample Rubric #2- Grading Rubric for Threaded Discussions
50 Points Total - minimum of 2 responses
Threaded Discussions cannot be made up after the week in which they have occurred.
Content Evaluation Scale Quality of Threaded Discussion Posts
45–50 points
  • Student comments add significantly to the discussion by sharing other resources, personal experiences or examples, or even respectfully disagreeing or agreeing with others. Student also substantiates comments made with reasoning or source citation.
  • Excellent Discussions are written thoroughly with depth in a thoughtful, insightful, and analytical manner.
40–44 points
  • Student comments add moderately to the discussion sharing other resources, personal experiences or examples, or even respectfully disagreeing or agreeing with others.

    Student does not always substantiate comments made with reasoning or source citation.
  • Good Discussions are written carefully in a reasonable, logical and organized manner understandable to the reader.
35–39 points
  • Student comments do not add great depth to the discussion. Student does not substantiate comments made with reasoning or source citation. Posting is simple: "I agree" or "Yes" or "No".
  • Fair Discussions are written in standard, average and satisfactory manner.
Needs Improvement
30–34 points
  • Comments are superficial or obvious manner. Comments without depth and not much effort. Comments are not substantiated with reasoning or source citation.
  • Student does not participate at all in the threaded discussion.