Nonprofit Management

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Program Overview

Learn to manage people, to build effective programs, and to maintain a healthy and efficient nonprofit organization. Develop the knowledge, insights and abilities to enter or advance your career in the nonprofit field.

Curriculum focuses on nonprofit leadership, financial management and the broader operational aspects of nonprofits. Structured as a rigorous series of short courses taught by nonprofit practitioners, courses last from two to six weeks each. Evening classes are generally held once per week at the UW Tacoma campus. Total class time for the program is 90 hours.


Nonprofit Leadership

The Nonprofit Leadership course combines three previous certificate courses (Leadership, Board Governance, and Strategic Management) into a seamless study of the key leadership competencies and challenges faced in this professional sector.

In Part I, you will be introduced to current models of leadership. Learn methods for building internal and external relationships and applying those skills to a networked nonprofit ecosystem.

  • Define and distinguish key differences between leadership and management.
  • Describe current models of leadership, including characteristics of a good leader within each model. Know when and how to apply situational leadership strategies.
  • Evaluate your own leadership strengths and core values to understand how to best build an organizational team.
  • Craft and share your personal mission statement.
  • Develop an understanding of the various roles a nonprofit leader might be engaged in and the implications of each.

Part II explores how the concepts of nonprofit governance today are changing with an increased emphasis on leadership in the face of rapid social and economic change. Learn to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of a nonprofit board as you establish board roles and responsibilities, governance structures, board recruitment, orientation and retention.

  • Identify generally accepted roles and responsibilities of nonprofit boards.
  • Describe and discuss new and emerging concepts of nonprofit governance and what they might mean for a specific organization.
  • Exercise critical thinking about a nonprofit boards compliance with legal requirements, internal policies and bylaws.
  • Develop a plan to recruit, orient and retain new board members in the context of a specific organization’s needs.
  • Discuss strategies and techniques to increase board members' commitment to the mission and purpose of the organization and to fulfill their legal and governance duties.
  • Identify and employ strategies to increase board effectiveness and board engagement.

Lastly, a nonprofit’s strategy constitutes its decisions about what it will do and how it will do it. Strategic planning outlines an organization’s mission, vision, values, programs and resources to assure alignment and coherence. Learn the skills needed to develop these key aspects of a useful strategic plan and manage its successful implementation.

  • Define and develop vision, mission and values in the context of leading an organization.
  • Differentiate between strategic management and strategic planning and how to identify issues, participants and essential components of the planning process.
  • Examine a variety of tools used for internal planning and metrics that guide implementation and benchmark outcomes. Select one and complete a prototype.
  • Identify, assess and implement elements of an effective plan for a nonprofit organization. 

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Performance Measurement

The performance measurement program area will introduce nonprofit professionals to current concepts in measurement systems and methods designed to improve the performance of a nonprofit organization.

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Ethics in Nonprofit Leadership

Ethical dilemmas are inherent in managing a nonprofit organization. Explore how personal values and the authority of one’s position impacts ethical decision making. Gain insight into current ethics issues and the systemic challenges of managing ethically in any organization.

  • Discuss common ethical dilemmas within nonprofit organizations.
  • Identify how personal values and position authority impacts ethical decision making.
  • Demonstrate the ability to cultivate a culture of accountability and transparency.
  • Discuss conflict of interest policies and procedures for staff, volunteers and board members

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Human Resource Development

Learn the unique practical and lawful approaches to develop human resource policies for Nonprofit organizations.

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Financial Development

Learn strategies to efficiently manage the financial resources of a nonprofit organization. 

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Nonprofit Fund Development

Fundraising is about more than money – it is relationship building, communication and well-executed strategy. This course provides an overview of the current state and changing environment of fund development. New developments in the ways fundraising is approached will be explored along with investigating the various sources of funding available. The course is designed for the nonprofit executive to understand the landscape of the industry and to be able to ask important questions in order to achieve an organization’s fund development goals.

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Who would benefit from this program?

Courses are designed for those with some experience working or volunteering in a nonprofit organization; however, nonprofit experience is not required to enroll. You will gain knowledge and skills that will enable you to pursue or advance a career in the nonprofit sector in these areas:

  • Volunteer Management
  • Executive Leadership
  • Financial Management
  • Donor Development
  • Fundraising/Sponsorship
  • Public Outreach
  • Grant Writing
  • Human Resources
  • Event Coordination
  • Project Management
  • Membership Services
  • Marketing and Communications

If interested in the specialized aspects of fundraising and development – for example learning the skills needed as a Major Gifts Officer – check out our Fundraising Management Certificate program. Graduates of the Nonprofit Management program are eligible for a 10% discount on Fundraising Management open enrollment courses. For details please contact us at

Program Schedule 2020/2021

*NOTE: Fall Term courses will be remote instruction via Zoom online at these days and times.

*Fall Nonprofit Leadership Wed 09/23/2020 - 10/28/2020 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
*Fall Performance Measurement Thur 10/08/2020 - 11/12/2020 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Winter Ethics in Nonprofit Leadership Wed 01/20/2021 - 01/27/2021 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Winter Human Resource Development Thu 02/04/2021 - 03/11/2021 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Spring Financial Management for Nonprofits Wed 03/31/2021 - 04/21/2021 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Spring Fundraising Essentials Wed 04/28/2021 - 06/9/2021 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Recommended Qualifications

No application required.

Two years of college or one year of work experience in the nonprofit sector recommended.

Open Enrollment

Unique to UW Tacoma is the ability to start a certificate with any course in the program - whether it starts Fall Term, Winter Term or Spring Term. You have two years from the start of your first course to complete the certificate program. Upon successful completion of all program requirements, participants earn a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington Tacoma and 90 hours or 9 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Participants must meet the minimum standard of 80% for attendance and completion of coursework.