Oct 24th 2016

Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector, Nonprofit Organizations, Nonprofit Leadership and Governance (Coursera)

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This course introduces you to the nonprofit sector, nonprofit organizations, and the concepts of leadership and governance. While this course has been developed with North American culture in mind, we do appreciate that in other parts of the world the nature of the nonprofit sector, nonprofit organizations, nonprofit leadership and governance may not be the same. Nevertheless, it is our hope that much of the course content will still be of value to those in other parts of the world.

Keywords: Nonprofit; Nonprofit Sector; Voluntary Sector; Nonprofit Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Volunteer Organizations, Leadership, Management, Governance, Board, Board of Directors, Performance, Effectiveness

Course 1 Overview:

Week 1: Some of the questions you will explore this week are: What is the nonprofit sector and why does it exist? What are the unique characteristics of nonprofit organizations? What are the trends and emerging issues facing organizations in the nonprofit sector?

Week 2: Questions to be explored this week are: What is leadership at the governance level and how is it different from management? What is good governance and why does it matter? What is a board of directors?

Week 3: This week's questions: What roles do board members play in nonprofit organizations? Broadly speaking, what are boards responsible for and how do they go about their work? What are some of the issues that challenge the board's ability to go its work?

Week 4: At this stage, you are asked to review the course content, submit a written assignment (known lightheartedly as a BEAR (Board Effectiveness Readiness Assessment), and take two multiple choice Readiness Assurance Tests (known similarly as RATs). One RAT will assess knowledge and reading comprehension and the other will test application of knowledge within a practical case.

Week 5: We will encourage you to discuss the RATs in the discussion forums and take them again should you wish to change any of your answers based on the information exchanged.

Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector, Nonprofit Organizations, Nonprofit Leadership and Governance is course 1 of 4 in the Improving Leadership & Governance in Nonprofit Organisations Specialisation.

Identify and analyze leadership and governance issues, create practical ways to improve board performance and work with boards to implement these improvements. This Specialization consists of three courses plus a Capstone Project: (1) Course 1 topics: The unique nature of the nonprofit sector in society; leadership in nonprofit organizations and the governance process. (2) Course 2 topics: The roles and responsibilities of nonprofit organization boards of directors and the challenges in carrying them out effectively. (3) Course 3 topics: The critical factors that impact the ability of the board to govern and how to intentionally change them into positive influences. The Capstone Project: How to help real boards overcome inertia and resistance to change and improve their governance effectiveness in an applied service learning experience.