NPL 473 Advanced Working in Nonprofit Leadership



Term:  Spring, 2005


Instructor:      William R. Bernhagen

                        Urban & Regional Studies Institute        MH 106          

                        Office Phone:  (507) 389-6836 Home Phone:  (507) 388-7785



Office Hours: I have office hours posted on my door.  I encourage you to make appointments or stop by during posted office hours or anytime by appointment.  I will also have informal meeting sessions throughout the semester that will be optional.


Text:   Herman, Robert D.  The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1994.


Course Review:  This workshop is designed to be the cumulative experience in the undergraduate certificate in nonprofit leadership.  It will bring together the experience, education, and personal depth you have in the third sector.  This will ensure a comprehensive array of knowledge, designed to prepare you to serve as leaders within the community and, specifically, nonprofit agencies.


            If there was ever a course that required self-motivation, this is the course.  You will get out of this course proportional to what you personally invest in this course.  I will make time for personal interaction (this, of course, is optional) because I value and believe in the need for face-to-face communication.  I have arbitrarily suggested some times for students to student and student to faculty interaction but am certainly open to other times and places that might be better for students—please let me know.  I am also willing to have telephone conversations with individual students if this is the only way to achieve personal interaction.


            It is extremely important that this course stays “on-track” so that we can all learn from each other.  For this reason, assignment due dates and response dates are critical.  I don’t plan to grade questions or comments; however, I need to give you an “incentive” to weekly provide one or more of the following:

·        Questions from your chapter readings for others to respond to;

·        Passing along other good sources on the chapter subject;

·        Comments on the chapter;

·        Your “notes or outline” of the chapter;

·        Responses from student chapter questions.

In the event that there is a lack of individual participation, I reserve the right to deduct points from your total score at the end of the semester.  Most importantly, what really makes the most sense is to pick your paper subject/topic (within the broad category) and have it approved so that you have a purpose for reading each chapter and have direction for your questions, comments, references, notes, etc.  I will also have a designated time that I will be weekly on-line (live) to facilitate communication and interaction.  At this point in time, I am suggesting an every Tuesday chat-time from 4:00-5:00 pm.  Clearly, there is no perfect time but this represents a time prior to 6:00 classes as well as a time that off-campus students could use their office computer for communicating.


Learning Outcomes:  Students will demonstrate competency in knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to function in the following areas:


            Managing Operations

·                                Explain the role of marketing to a nonprofit organization

·                                Understand the nature of public relations activities for nonprofit organizations

·                                Explain marketing mix, target audience

·                                Develop strategies for obtaining program feedback

·                                Discuss methodology of conducting needs assessment

·                                Explain marketing and its impact on financial development


            Fiscal Management

·                                Explain fiscal responsibilities and ethics

·                                Understand risk management

·                                Identify reports commonly used and preparation process

·                                Understand differences between internal and external financial reports


            People Management

·                                Understand and explain human resource operations

·                                Plan and implement volunteer and staff training and development

·                                Recruit and select the right people


Requirements:  In order to effectively address the competency areas, students are expected to actively participate and contribute positively to the learning process.


Are You Ready for an Online Course?

            There are a number of websites that can help you decide whether or not an online course is for you (for example, Minnesota Online or Athabascan University or the University of Georgia’s SORT).  For starters, you should consider the following questions:

  • Will you be able to devote 6-8 hours per week for this course (even if you are traveling, are ill, or have family emergencies)?  And do you have the support of family and friends to put aside this amount of time and effort?  It is easy to think that the work for an online class can be “fit in” to whatever time comes open during the week.  Often, when students end up dropping the class it is because they simply did not budget enough time in their week to do the work required.
  • Are you comfortable with time management and working independently with only final deadlines to guide you?  Online learning shifts much more of the burden for scheduling and planning to the student.  You won’t have the advantage of regular class meeting times to discipline your work habits.  If you are not also an on-campus student, you might not have the advantage of running into your classmates around the campus where you can “check in” on progress ad solve little problems.  If this is a challenge for you check out
  • Are you comfortable working primarily in a text-based format, which means reading well, writing well and having the ability to follow written directions?  While I will try to provide as many opportunities as possible for using the entire range of learning styles, online learning does favor students who learn by reading.
  • Do you have the technical skills to use an online environment, including
    • checking your e-mail daily (
    • using e-mail or the phone to get your questions answered,
    • interacting with your classmates through the Internet?
  • Do you have the skills to communicate through the Internet, including
    • Producing, saving, and uploading documents
    • Doing research using the Web (
    • Using the “Track Changes” feature of Microsoft Word (if you don’t know this one, look it up using Word’s “Help” assistant)?


Readings:  Students are required to read all assigned material in a timely manner (by the assigned date.)  For additional on-line resources see:



Papers/Grading:  All papers should be free of grammatical, spelling and content errors.  They should be submitted in typewritten, standard formats (APA, MLA, URSI Style Sheets).


            There are three required papers, 7-8 pages in length.  Paper #1 addresses the topic of Managing Operations.  Paper #2 addresses the topic of Fiscal Management.  Paper #3 addresses the topic of Managing People.  Each paper will be graded by using the attached criteria.  Each paper is worth a maximum of 48 points.


            The specific direction/content of each paper is dictated by the interest/needs of each student.  Clearly, the general topic is given to you (noted above); however, each student needs to assess their interest in NPL and develop a “capstone type” experience.  Each paper should fulfill your need to follow your interests, your desire to address a weakness, or your desire to know more about a subject of your own choosing.  To this end, each paper requires the student to develop a research question and a brief outline of the proposed paper.  The research question and outline must be approved by the instructor prior to writing the paper.  You could possibly select a nonprofit for study (case study) or you could create your own nonprofit and prepare a paper on operationalizing your creation.  By selecting your topic and having it approved at an early stage you would give meaning to the assigned readings and other material that you may find.


            Each of your three graded papers should be submitted on their due date (or prior to their due date) and should be emailed to the instructor (  At the same time (same due date) you should post an “executive summary” of a paragraph or two for review by your fellow students along with your email address.  If you see another paper that interests you—you can directly request a copy.  It is important that you share your paper if requested to do so—we are here to learn from one another.


Assessment Surveys

            Before you begin doing anything in the course, please take the assessment survey that we have posted on the Web.  You will be asked to take this survey again at the end of the course, and then at the beginning and end of NPL473, the other “bookend” course for the Certificate.  These surveys will help us assess how well the program is meeting the goals it set for itself.  While your response to the survey will have no effect on your grade for the course (and we will not even be able to check back to verify that you submitted the survey), the results of the survey will be very useful to the program and we strongly encourage your cooperation.  So, please, do it now.





Course Assignments


                                                Post Question(s)

Chapter*          Read by           Comments by            Graded Paper Due          Approved Outline


   12                 Jan. 21                   Jan. 25                        

   13                 Jan. 28                   Feb. 1                                                        Feb. 1, paper 1

   14                 Feb. 4                    Feb. 8

   15                 Feb. 11                  Feb. 15

   16                 Feb. 18                  Feb. 22

                                                                                          Feb. 24

   17                 Feb. 25                  March 1

   18                 March 4                 March 8                                                     Mar. 8, paper 2

   19                 March 11               March 22

   20                 March 25               March 29

   21                 April 1                    April 5

                                                                                          April 7

   22                 April 8                    April 12                                                      Apr. 12, paper 3

   23                 April 15                  April 19

   24                 April 22                  April 26

   25                 April 29                  May 3

                                                                                          May 5

*Please see chapter notes by instructors.





Informal/Optional Meetings (weather permitting)


            Jan. 20                                           9:30 am                                       The HUB**

                                                                  6:15 pm                                       The HUB


            Feb. 17                                          9:30 am                                       The HUB

                                                                  6:15 pm                                       The HUB


            March 24                                       9:30 am                                       The HUB

                                                                  6:15 pm                                       The HUB


            April 21                                          9:30 am                                       The HUB

                                                                  6:15 pm                                       The HUB


**The HUB is located across from the Taylor Center in University Square.


Instructor’s Help


We will help you in whatever manner humanly possible.  However, once the semester is over, there is not a great deal that we can do.  If there is something that you don’t understand, are having problems with, or need help on, please see one of us as early as possible.


Every attempt will be made to accommodate qualified students with disabilities.  If you are a student with a documented disability, please see us as early on in the semester as possible to discuss necessary accommodations, and/or the Disability Service Office (507) 389-2825 (VO or 1-800-627-3529 (MRS/TTY).



Nonprofit Leadership Evaluation Criteria

(each criterion is worth a maximum of 4 points)


  • Is there an introduction paragraph that states what the paper will cover?
  • Is the paper free of typos and spelling errors?
  • Are there quotes/references in the paper?
  • Does the paper address the subject matter?
  • Are there examples of critical thinking?
  • Is the paper well organized and developed?
  • Is the paper clear/easy to read?
  • Is the grammar of high quality?
  • Are personal comments supported by “experts”?
  • Is there the required number of pages?
  • Is there a summary paragraph that brings the paper together?
  • Is there a bibliography and is it appropriate?