POLS 326: Nonprofit Management  


DuSable Hall 246 

Professor:                   Fred Mayhew

Class Times:               Tuesday & Thursday, 11:00-12:15

Office Hours:             Tuesday 1:00-2:00, Thursday 10:00-10:45, and by appointment

Office:                                    203 IASBO Building

Email:                         fmayhew@niu.edu

Office Phone:             (815) 753-6147 




Course Description


Referred to in many ways (third sector, voluntary sector, independent sector, etc.) the nonprofit sector is a growing part of the social, political, and economic landscape of the United States.  This course provides a broad overview of the nonprofit sector and introduces students to the tools, practices, and challenges of management within this diverse sector.  



Course Objectives


Upon completion of this course students will have an understanding of:

  1. The size, scope, and dimensions of the nonprofit sector in the United States
  2. The key nonprofit subsectors
  3. Nonprofit contributions to the political process
  4. How nonprofits are organized and the ways in which they seek to accomplish their goals
  5. The importance of mission to the management of nonprofit organizations
  6. The importance of public trust and organizational responsibility (ethics/accountability)


Course Text


Worth, Michael J. (2009). Nonprofit Management: Principles and Practice 


*Supplemental readings will be available on the course website, aka blackboard.





Letter grades will be based on a 100 percent scale


A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 60 – 69; below 60 = F




Course Requirements

Exam I                                    15%

Exam II                                   20%

Exam III                                 20%

2 case studies/                         20%

discussion questions                           

Short research paper                20%

Attendance/Participation        5% 


There will be three during the semester.  Each exam will consist of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions.        


Case Studies:

Each student is responsible for completing two (2) case studies during the semester.  Case studies and questions for discussion can be found at the end of chapters 2, 3,4,5,6, 8, and 9 of the textbook.  Students must answer the questions for discussion (approx. 2 typed pages) and turn-in their assignments on the day that the chapter is covered in class.  Students can choose the two chapters that they wish to complete.         


Short Paper:

You will be required to write a short (minimum of 5 pages) research paper that will be due on April 15.  To complete this assignment you will choose one of the topics covered in part II or part II of the course.  You will conduct research on the topic - at least three sources outside of those assigned for class, and investigate how this topic relates to managing a nonprofit organization.  More information on the paper will be available on blackboard.    


Attendance and Participation:

It is expected that students will attend all class sessions.  However, it is understood that life sometimes intervenes, in which case I request that you notify me of the reason for your absence (beforehand if possible).  Participation accounts for 5% of your final grade – participation is not attained through your mere presence.     


Academic Dishonesty:

Regarding plagiarism, the NIU Undergraduate Catalog states: "Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university." The above statement encompasses a paper written in whole or in part by another; a paper copied word-for-word or with only minor changes from another source; a paper copied in part from one or more sources without proper identification and acknowledgment of the sources; a paper that is merely a paraphrase of one or more sources, using ideas and/or logic without credit even though the actual words may be changed; and a paper that quotes, summarizes or paraphrases, or cuts and pastes words, phrases, or images from an Internet source without identification and the address of the web site.

Students with Disabilities:

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have an impact on their course work must register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building (753-1303). CAAR will assist students in making appropriate instructional and/or examination accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.


Department of Political Science Web Site:

Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis.  This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, research career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities.  To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu


Undergraduate Writing Awards:

The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies.  Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing.  Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony, where they will receive a certificate and $50.00.  Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by the end of March.  All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name.  Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award.  However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.
















Class Schedule (subject to change)

Readings: Worth = textbook

Articles/readings with an * are available on blackboard



PART I: Overview of the Nonprofit Sector


WEEK 1:  Introduction

Introduction to course goals, objectives, and requirements.  Introduce the role(s) that nonprofit organizations play in our society.


January 12

            Review syllabus, course objectives and expectations


January 14

*Ferris (1998).  The Role of the Nonprofit Sector in a Self-Governing Society: A View from the United States.  Voluntas, 9(2), 137-151.


WEEK 2:  The Nonprofit Sector

Start examining the size, scope and dimensions of the sector.  Begin identifying what is unique about nonprofit organizations.   


January 19

            Worth, chapter 1


            January 21

            Worth, chapter 2


WEEK 3:  Nonprofit Subsectors

Introduce the major nonprofit subsectors.  Examine the relationship between government, business, and nonprofits within each subsector.


January 26

*Lester Salamon: Social Services and Health Care, from America’s Nonprofit Sector: A Primer

            January 28

*Lester Salamon: Education and Arts, from America’s Nonprofit Sector: A Primer










WEEK 4:  Nonprofits in the Policy Process

Examine the role that nonprofits play in the American policy process.  Special emphasis is placed on advocacy and lobbying efforts within the sector.   


February 2

Worth, chapter 14


February 4

*Donors Forum: Nine Tips for Effective Advocacy

Can also be found at: http://www.donorsforum.org/policy/nineq.html


*Rees, Effective nonprofit advocacy (Executive Summary) 

Can also be found at: https://www.ciaonet.org/wps/res01/execsummary.html



WEEK 5:  Wrap up - part I

Summarize what we have covered in part 1 and address any questions that remain.


February 9


February 11





PART II: Organizational Strategy and Managing People



WEEK 6:  Governance & Leadership

Examine the role of governing boards in nonprofit management.  Introduce the fiduciary, functional, and leadership responsibilities of the board.  Examine the executive’s role in managing and leading a nonprofit organization.  Introduce various theories on leadership and how they relate to nonprofit organizations.


February 16

Worth, chapter 3


February 18

            Worth, chapter 4








WEEK 7:  Accountability & Ethics

Nonprofit organizations have multiple accountability demands; we will examine how these demands manifest themselves and how they impact management strategies.  Special attention will be placed on examining the concept of ethical management and the importance of gaining and maintaining public trust for nonprofit organizations.


            February 23

            Worth, chapter 5


February 25

            *Jeavons, Ethical Nonprofit Management


WEEK 8: Proactive Management

Examine strategies that nonprofit managers and leaders can use to build and sustain organizational capacity.  Introduce strategic management and the ways in which it can assist in aligning a nonprofits operations and mission. 

March 2

Worth, chapter 6


March 4

            Worth, chapter 7


WEEK 9:  NO CLASS, Spring Break


March 9

March 11       


WEEK 10:  Human Resources & Public Relations

Examine the tools and strategies that nonprofit managers can use when dealing with personnel and public relations.


March 16

Worth, chapter 8


March 18

Worth, chapter 9


WEEK 11:  Wrap up Part II

 Summarize what we have covered in part 1 and address any questions that remain.


March 23


March 25




PART III:  Managing Resources


WEEK 12:  Enterprising Nonprofits

Examine the ways in which nonprofit organizations generate revenue.  Special attention is paid to innovative strategies to diversify and sustain revenue streams.   


March 30

Worth, chapter 11

April 1

            Dees, Enterprising Nonprofits


WEEK 13:  Fundraising and Philanthropy

Introduce the concepts of philanthropy and charity.  Examine fundraising strategies that can be employed in nonprofit organizations.


April 6

Worth, chapter 10


April 8

            Curti, Philanthropy


WEEK 14:  Financial Management

Introduce nonprofit financial management strategies.  Examine budgeting, financial controls and polices, etc.


April 13

Worth, chapter 12


April 15

            Research Paper Due Today



PART III:  Current Environment and Trends


WEEK 15:  Collaboration

Introduce the various ways in which nonprofit organizations collaborate with the public and private sector to deliver services.  Examine the positive and negative consequences that can occur in such an environment.


April 20

Worth, chapter 13


April 22

            Ryan, The New Landscape for Nonprofits



WEEK 16:  The Global View

Examine international nonprofit organizations, fundraising, and philanthropy.


April 27

Worth, chapter 15


April 29






May 4: 10-11:50 AM