Course Subject
Course Number
Course Credit

Nonprofit Governance

Course Description

This course is intended for graduate students interested in learning about the governance of nonprofit organizations and the role of nonprofit boards.

The role of the nonprofit board member has always been significant, but never as demanding as it is today.  With nonprofits addressing significant community needs with constricting financial resources, board members must provide both strategic leadership and responsible stewardship, with a focus on financial sustainability.  This course will examine the role of the board and will explore common questions about the roles of board members: Are board members essentially advocates and fundraisers?  Do they direct the organization to the extent staff is unable? Or is the board’s role primarily defined by their need to resolve a crisis situation for the nonprofit organization?

By the end of this course, students will understand how nonprofits are governed and some of the current issues in nonprofit governance. Topics covered in classroom lecture, discussion and applied case studies will include the structure, functions, recruitment and composition of nonprofit boards; the relation of the board to management; the board’s role in both compliance and strategic planning; and improving board performance and accountability.

At the end of the course, learners will understand:
1. Board structure, functions and composition.
2. The relationship of the board to organizational/CEO performance.
3. Fiduciary, strategic, and generative governance.
4. Common problems and issues in nonprofit governance, from both short and long term perspectives.
5. How to assess interventions to improve board performance.


CORE-GP.1020 or three years of experience working in a nonprofit organization

Course by Topic

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