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PhilanthropyU Social Startup Success

Course Schedule

Course Details

  1. Length

  2. Effort

    1-2 hours per week
  3. Certificate

  4. Language


INSTRUCTORKathleen Kelly Janus

Kathleen Kelly Janus is a social entrepreneur, author, and lecturer at Stanford University’s Program on Social Entrepreneurship. An expert on philanthropy, millennial engagement and scaling early-stage organizations, her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Tech Crunch and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her book—Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up and Make a Difference—is a playbook for nonprofit organizations based on a five-year research project interviewing hundreds of top-performing social innovators. A native of Napa, California, Kathleen received a J.D. and a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and lives in San Francisco with her husband and three young children.

About this Free Startup Course for Nonprofits

Have you ever wondered why some nonprofits are wildly successful while others fail to grow at all? How do these successful nonprofits launch their social impact organizations, amass large annual revenues, and continue changing the lives of thousands?

Our free course on Social Startup Success explores how to make your startup successful, as well as many other important questions surrounding measuring impact and raising funds. Created in partnership with Kathleen Kelly Janus, an expert on growing early-stage organizations and the author of the book Social Startup Success, this course shares the wisdom she gleaned from the 100+ interviews with nonprofits operating around the world.

More specifically, in this free business startup course, we’ll cover the five most important skills you’ll need to successfully gather funding, grow your nonprofit, and boost your impact. These five skills include how to:

  • Quickly Test Your Ideas
  • Measure Your Impact
  • Raise Funds for your Organization
  • Lead Effectively
  • Tell Your Organization’s Story Effectively

With each module, you’ll hear accompanying stories of social impact organizations like your own that have applied these startup skills to their actual work. By using the insights from their stories to complete assignments at the end of each lesson, you’ll see how these five skills can apply to your specific organization. By the end of this free business startup course, you’ll have mastered the tools you need to become a truly successful social startup.

Want to know if this course is right for you?

Try our new 10-minute mini-lesson to get a sneak peek of the topics taught in this course. More specifically, this lesson will teach how your organization can earn revenue by selling to your beneficiaries. 

Course Topics:

  • Module 1: How to Quickly Test Your Ideas
    Integrate innovation practices into your day-to-day work to improve your programs as you grow
  • Module 2: How to Measure Your Impact
    Ensure that you are measuring your social impact effectively and making the most of your data
  • Module 3: How to Raise Funds for your Organization
    Engage in fundraising experimentation to maximize your revenue potential through both earned and philanthropic revenue streams
  • Module 4: How to Lead Effectively
    Tap into the talents of your entire team through a collective nonprofit leadership strategy
  • Module 5: How to Tell Your Organization’s Story Effectively
    Tell your story more effectively, turning your staff and board into brand ambassadors for your cause

Who Should Take This Free Business Startup Course?

This free startup course is for nonprofits between zero and $3 million in revenue who are looking to take their organizations to the next level. Established social impact organizations that are looking to take new, cutting-edge approaches to their work are also encouraged to take this business startup course.

Is your social startup ready for a bigger audience?

Whether you're looking to reach new donors, customers, partners, or allies, Philanthropy University can help. As a student at Philanthropy University you're eligible to join our new Google Ad Grants Management Service.

Learn more here


The University is a non-degree, diploma or credit granting initiative. Philanthropy U, Inc. is the concept developer and sponsor of the initiative. Learners are not entitled to earn college or other academic credit.

Learners are eligible to receive a Certificate of Achievement for this course. To earn a Certificate of Achievement for this course, you need to earn more than 50% of possible points on quizzes and assignments to obtain a passing grade. Quizzes are worth 15% of your total score, while assignments are worth 85%.

© 2020 Philanthropy U, Inc.