NPL 273  Introduction to Nonprofit Leadership


There is a huge (and growing) presence of nonprofit organizations and other support sites on the Web.  Here is a list of some of them, to get you started on creating your own set of bookmarks that you will use throughout your career.


There are also a number of library resources you should know about.  You might start your search with terms such as “Nonprofit organizations,” “Government and nonprofit sector,” and “Nonprofit institutions.”  When you are looking for journal articles, you should check the online databases (particularly the business databases—they seem to have the most references to nonprofit organizations) such as

For the weekly journal-article review, you must find and read a relevant article from a professional journal.  The library at UofM Crookston has a good discussion of the differences between the various types of journals.  This means you may not use newspapers, trade magazines, or webpages (unless it is a reprint of an article published in a peer-reviewed journal).  It is not that these other forms of publication are not valid or useful (I often use them, for example), but peer-review creates a higher standard of objectivity and balance and I want you to get used to that sort of thinking.


From these indexes, you can find full-text citations to such journals as

Finally, there are several research websites you might want to consult:

[Thanks to Evan Rusch, reference librarian at Memorial Library, for much of this information.]

Discussion Board

The Discussion Board inside D2L is the virtual “classroom” for this course.  It is the place where you will come together to discuss what you are reading and exchange ideas about what you are learning.  There will be a discussion site for each week/unit of the course.  You are expected to post your work by the date assigned for each unit (usually Wednesdays, by 6 PM).


To get to the Discussion Board, log on to D2L


To practice using D2L and just as a basic courtesy, by the first class date please post a message to the “Introductions” discussion board on D2L.  Please introduce yourself in the posting, let us know what your goals are in this course, and any special experiences/skills/interests you will be bringing to the group. 

Remember, you must post at least one detailed reflection for each of the 10 topics for the course, at least one response to another student’s posting, and a summary & reflection for an peer-refereed article related to the topic.  It is important that you post your responses with enough time for your classmates to reply within the week allotted for each unit; do not get behind in your discussion work.  For full credit, you must use examples, details, and credible support for your position, and refer to relevant readings (your text, at a minimum) using standard citation format (you cannot provide credible support without citing what others have written!).  You will receive partial credit if you do not provide support for your responses.


As part of the program, I ask you to develop a relationship with a mentor who is already involved in the nonprofit world.  Mentoring is a common practice among professionals—the mentor is given the opportunity to “give back” to the profession (sort of a “pay it forward” philosophy), and the one being mentored has the opportunity to benefit from the (often hard-won) experience of someone who has “been there.”  You are free to find your own mentor; if you do not have any good ideas, often the Chamber of Commerce in your community will have a list of nonprofit organizations in your community.  If you live in Minnesota, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is another good source. 


Service Learning:

Each student will identify a nonprofit organization with which to volunteer over the course of the semester.  During that time, the student must

1.      Arrange for a “mentor” within the organization who is willing to provide “insider” insight into what the student is observing in the organization and learning in the classroom.

2.      Attend at least one Board meeting (before Unit 6), to observe the operation of a nonprofit Board and the relationship between Board and staff.  Boards often meet only once a month, so you should plan to attend the first Board meeting that is available.

3.      Assist the Board or staff in providing at least some of the “service” of the organization.

4.      Prepare a final report on the organization, describing the organization and its operation (who, what, where, when, why, how), and relating it to the 11 topics we will be covering in class.  This essay (5 page minimum) will be due by the date posted in the syllabus.



Qualifying Quiz:

Finally, in order to continue with the course you must take a qualifying quiz on D2L.  The quiz is “open book” and covers material from the syllabus and from this section (“Introduction”).  Before you can continue further with the course, you must score a perfect “10” on the quiz (you may take it as many times as needed, but you must complete it before work is due for Unit 1).

You will find the quiz on D2L behind the “Quizzes” tab.



© 2003 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised 12 August 2009