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PhilanthropyU Essentials of Nonprofit Strategy

Enrollment is closed
  1. Start Date

    April 02, 2018
  2. End Date

    May 27, 2018
  3. Effort

    2-3 hours per week
  4. Certificate

  5. Language



Paul Brest is Professor and Dean Emeritus (active) at Stanford Law School, a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a faculty co-director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. He was previously president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

About This Course

A nonprofit's strategy determines whether the organization will sink or swim. Nonetheless, nonprofit leaders are often unable or unwilling to plan in the short-term to achieve long-lasting social change.

This course will help you develop successful strategies to achieve your organization's goals and make strides towards meaningful impact. Using the social problem of homelessness as a real-world example, you will learn how to undertake the basic elements of strategy: defining the problem, identifying the needs and interests of beneficiaries, designing a theory of change and implementation plan, and establishing assessment criteria. With this foundation, you will be able to develop strategies that will ensure long-term impact for your own organizations — rather than just the illusion of results.

Learn How To:

  • Clarify the problem you’re trying to solve
  • Articulate your intended outcome and develop a theory of change that will guide how you plan to achieve that outcome
  • Design a plan for implementing your strategy
  • Identify key stakeholders who can facilitate or impede solving the problem
  • Determine metrics for assessing progress toward the outcome

Who Should Take This Course?

This course is an introduction to nonprofit strategy. Nonprofit leaders and programs staff will find this course most useful. While this course can support developing an organizational or program strategy from scratch, existing nonprofits will also find it valuable in refining their strategy. No previous experience or coursework is required.

You will need a device that allows you to listen to audio, access course materials, and upload your assignments.


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 through the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley Haas). Berkeley Haas is known for its role in defining a new generation of business leaders with a focus on social impact. Ranked #2 among all business school nonprofit programs in the United States (US News & World Report, 2017), Berkeley Haas inspires and empowers innovative solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges through the work of the Institute for Business and Social Impact (IBSI) and the Center for Social Sector Leadership (CSSL).

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%.


All use, reproduction and distribution of content in this course is subject to CC-BY-NC license. © 2018 Philanthropy U, Inc.