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Philanthropy University

Essentials of Nonprofit Strategy

Philanthropy University via Independent


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.


Module 1: Define the Problem

Clarify the problem that you want to solve

Module 2: Identify Beneficiaries' Needs and Interests

Identify your beneficaries and consider how their needs should inform your understanding of the problem

Module 3: Causes of the Problem and Approaches to Solving It

Assess different approaches to solving the problem after you have identified its causes

Module 4: Theory of Change and Planning to Implement

Define the intended ultimate outcome for solving your problem and build a series of causal links to identify how you will get there

Module 5: Changing Beneficiaries’ Behavior and Anticipating Failure

Identify barriers to changing behaviors and conduct a basic pre-mortem of your strategy to anticipate and plan for risks and barriers

Module 6: Preparing for Feedback

Specify how your organization will evaluate its effectiveness

Module 7: Program Evaluation

Review how to determine whether your strategy caused its intended outcomes


Taught by

Paul Brest


4.6 rating, based on 8 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Essentials of Nonprofit Strategy

  • Yussif Lamusah Amadu
    It was a great experience at Philanthropy University. Initially thought was going to be an easy through but it was challenging especially the requirements of assignments. It was great at the end.
  • Anonymous
    The readings and examples for this course were easy to follow, understand and adapt. The only downside was that part of the assessment (implementation plan) was closed before the due completion date for the course so i couldn't participate in that activity.
  • Ibrahim Saleh Muhammad
    the course is interesting and will help improve your organization profile not only that it will help in improving your skills and your staff. In addition to that you will receive certificate.
  • Anonymous
    It was well presented in a way that imprints on my mind hands on memorable tools for practice.
    I will recommend this to so many people so we can make the world a better place.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course!! Philanthropy University has helped me to engage better with the local
    communities, understanding the issues that affect them most.
  • Profile image for Zaid Yahya
    Zaid Yahya
    That is good , perhaps i can help in coducting clases which will inhance those skills needed . Meanwhile , i am here to contact me for any consulatation .
  • Profile image for Yana Balashova
    Yana Balashova
  • Profile image for Anike Bamigboye
    Anike Bamigboye
    I found every module of the course very educative and useful. The mode of learning was also very easy to grasps and comprehend

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