The Free Nonprofit Micro-eMBA for Nonprofits

Sections of this topic

    Free Nonprofit Micro-eMBA for Nonprofits – Program You Can Provide

    © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting,
    . Much of this program is based on materials adapted from
    the Nonprofit Capacity Building Toolkit(SM)
    and Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development
    With Nonprofits.

    Complete, Free Nonprofit Development Program

    • As a free, self-paced program for entrepreneurs to develop
      a nonprofit organization.
    • As a free, self-paced program to understand systems and practices
      in nonprofits.
    • By organizations to promptly provide a nonprofit organizational
      development program.

    If You Want to Do the Program

    • There is no enrollment needed. Just pick the modules that
      you want to do, and start them.
    • If you are using the program to start a nonprofit, do all
      the modules in the order listed in the program.
    • There is no certification or degree — the program is entirely
      for your learning. See the links below.

    If Your Organization Wants to Provide the Program

    • Organizations can provide this program. Directions are provided
    • Those organizations might evaluate learners’ results and
      issue certifications, if they choose.
    • For more information, see the links below.

    If You Are Focusing on For-Profits

    See the Free Micro-eMBA(SM)

    Table of Contents


    Who Can Benefit from Program
    Results for Learners and Their Organizations
    Nature of Learners Who Will — And Won’t
    — Thrive in this Program


    Program Design and Format of Learning Modules
    Catalog and Links to Learning Modules


    Cost of Program and Time to Complete

    Please Tell Others About This Program!
    Providing Program Requires Little
    in Resources and Expertise — Here’s How!

    Program Not to Be Used to Generate

    How Do I Get Started?

    Who Can Benefit From Program

    • Highly motivated learners who:
      – Have limited time and money
      – Prefer to schedule and locate their own learning experiences
      – Prefer highly practical results from programs
    • Nonprofit executives and board members seeking guidance
      to start a nonprofit or to firm up the foundation of an already
      established nonprofit
    • Nonprofit service providers who wish to offer highly
      accessible and practical nonprofit organization development programs
      in their areas
    • Nonprofit middle managers or entry-level personnel
      who desire highly accessible and adaptable means to professional
      development for advancement in their careers
    • Consultants and volunteers who desire understanding
      of nonprofit organizations, their systems and practices, in order
      to provide more effective community service

    Results for Learners and Their Organizations

    Personal and Organizational Outcomes (knowledge, skills and

    • Complete and careful deliberation about whether to start
      a nonprofit organization
    • Guidance to register new nonprofit organization for incorporation,
      tax-exemption, etc.
    • Broad understanding of their nonprofit, including structures,
      systems, culture and life cycle
    • Basic understanding of the role of chief executive officer
    • Basic skills needed to recruit the first board members and
      work with the new board
    • Basic skills in management and leadership in order to plan,
      organize, lead and coordinate activities in their nonprofit
    • Basic oversight and governance provided by resourced and
      trained board of directors
    • Basic and integrated planning processes for strategic direction,
      program development and marketing and evaluation, financial management,
      fundraising, and staffing and supervision of employees and volunteers
    • Substantial cost savings from continued access to free, complete,
      online materials for personal, professional and organizational
    • (Outcomes from each module are listed near the top of each

    Program Outputs (tangible results)

    Learners in the program produce the following results:

    • Job description of chief executive officer
    • Management and leadership training plans
    • Complete resources to equip board members
    • Training plan and materials to train the board
    • Strategic plan
    • Operating and program budgets
    • Program design plan
    • Program marketing analysis (for each service)
    • Public and media relations plan
    • Sales plan
    • Advertising and promotions plan
    • Customer service plan
    • Financial report and analysis
    • Fundraising plan
    • Policies for staffing and supervising employees and volunteers
    • Volunteer management plan
    • Program evaluation plans, including outcomes-based evaluations
    • Assessments of practices in areas of legal, fundraising,
      financial management, staff and volunteer management, board practices,
      organizational planning, program planning and program evaluation

    Note that the recurring processes that produce the above items
    are at least as important — if not more important — than the
    items themselves. This program carefully guides the learner through
    those processes.

    Nature of Learners Who Will — and Won’t — Thrive in this

    Who Will Thrive

    This highly accessible and practical program is particularly
    useful for highly motivated learners who:
    1. Trust their own ability to manage and carry out their own learning
    2. Understand that in learning, you don’t always get what you
    pay for — but you get out what you put in
    3. Prefer practical results (along with powerful outcomes) from
    a program, e.g., results such as plans, policies and procedures,
    job descriptions, financial statements, etc.
    4. Who cannot afford to pay the rapidly increasing costs of tuition
    and materials
    5. Who are geographically remote from educational facilities
    6. Prefer to schedule and locate their own learning experiences
    7. Can see the value of self-directed, “homeschooled”
    learning with the support of peers in an atmosphere of trust and
    8. Prefer to share ongoing ideas, materials and support among
    9. Lastly, learners will thrive in this state-of-the-art program
    if they have a sense of adventure about new experiences and the
    patience for learning new ways of doing things

    Who Will Not Thrive

    Perhaps the best way to convey the nature of people who won’t
    thrive in this program is to point out certain myths that many
    of us have come to believe over the years. This program will not
    be appealing to people who tend to believe (consciously or unconsciously)
    1. The prettier the content and materials, the more valid the
    content and materials
    2. The more expensive the program, the more learning that will
    be accomplished (the fallacy of “executive-level pricing”)
    3. The more books and binders in the program, the more learning
    in the program
    4. Program certification and diplomas represent guaranteed learning
    that was accomplished by participants in the program
    5. Learning occurs primarily in a classroom
    6. Educators can always manage learners’ learning better than
    the learners themselves

    Program Design and Format of Learning Modules

    Arrangement of Modules — From Building Basics to Complete
    Nonprofit Fitness Test

    The program includes 12, online learning modules. Modules are “courses”
    through which learners progress in the program. Materials and activities for
    learning are tightly integrated with each other across various modules in the
    program. A listing of the learning modules is included in the section Links to Learning Modules, which directs learners through
    the learning modules. Note that learners can choose to complete modules according
    to their own needs, as well.

    Learners Can Start Anywhere in the Program

    The program can be highly useful to learners regardless of
    the order in which they go through the modules in the program.
    Learning modules are arranged generally in the order needed
    to develop an organization from the ground up. Learners who are
    going through the program primarily as a form of training and
    development can proceed in a sequential fashion through the Links to Learning Modules,
    and address the a) topics for discussion and reflection and the
    b) activities to build systems and practices both of which are
    posed in each learning module.

    Note that the activities required to build and manage a healthy
    nonprofit organization are usually cyclical and highly integrated in nature —
    for example, program planning often produces learning that, in
    turn, polishes previous strategic planning activities. Therefore,
    learners are guided to revisit certain portions of various learning
    modules at various points in the program.

    Format of Each Learning Module

    Learning modules (other than the first and last) have the following

    • Introduction — explains how the module fits into
      the program and the overall process of nonprofit organization
    • Outcomes — lists the new knowledge, skills, practices
      and systems that learners will accomplish from completing that
    • Specific Materials for Review — references specific
      and free materials needed to respond to all suggested topics
      for discussion and reflection and to the learning activities
      to build basic systems and practices
    • Specific Topics and Questions for Reflection and Discussion
      — highlights key concepts to understand about the overall topic
      of the learning module
    • Specific Activities to Build Systems and Practices
      — guides the learner to develop the basic systems and practices
      to successfully build and manage the nonprofit
    • Assessments — helps the learner measure and / or
      evaluate extent of application of that topic to the learner’s
    • Tracking Open Action Items — guides the learner throughout
      the program to consistently record and track any incomplete action
      items remaining from the current and previous learning modules
    • Reminders to Learners — some of the modules pose
      miscellaneous reminders for learners to ensure they’re using
      information and skills from previous learning modules

    Links to Learning Modules

    The Free Nonprofit Micro-eMBA has numerous modules that pertain to program development.
    Each of the modules suggests specific materials for
    review, specific topics for discussion and reflection, and specific
    activities to develop basic systems and practices. Various modules
    also include assessments and guidelines to record and monitor
    action items from current and previous learning modules.

    1: Program Orientation — Getting the Most from This Program

    1. Guidelines for You to Get the Most from this Program
    2. Tips to Improve Your Reading and Studying Skills
    3. Extensive Free, Online Resources for You
    4. Design Your Best Approach to the Program

    2: Starting & Understanding Your Nonprofit

    Starting Your Nonprofit:

    1. Clarify What You Mean by “Nonprofit”
    2. Decide if You Are an Entrepreneur
    3. Decide If Should You Start with Fiscal Sponsorship
    4. Get Guidelines to Incorporation and Tax-Exemption

    Understanding Your Nonprofit:

    1. Know How to Classify Your Nonprofit With the IRS
    2. Recognize Key Roles in Your Nonprofit
    3. Learn Basic Structures in Your Nonprofit
    4. Recognize the Life Cycle of Your Nonprofit
    5. Classify the Culture of Your Nonprofit
    6. Verify Your Nonprofit Meets Regulations

    3: Understanding the Role of Chief Executive

    • Learn What a Chief Executive Officer Is
    • Understand Major Functions of CEO
    • Understand Core Knowledge and Skills for CEO Role
    • Be Prepared for Building Your Board
    • Set Basis for Strong Board-Staff Relationships
    • Avoid “Founder’s Syndrome”

    4: Developing Your Basic Management & Leadership Skills

    Gain Basic Skills in:

    1. Problem Solving and Decision Making
    2. Planning
    3. Delegation
    4. Internal Communications
    5. Meeting Management
    6. Managing Yourself


    1. Review Advanced Topics in Management and Leadership
    2. Design Your Management and Leadership Development Plans

    5: Building and Training Your Board of Directors

    • Understand Roles and Responsibilities of a Board
    • Adopt Board Policies
    • Build Board Committees
    • Recruit New Board Members
    • Ensure Strong Participation of Board Members
    • Prepare for Board and CEO Evaluations
    • Build Board Calendar to Schedule All Operations
    • Organize a Board Manual
    • Train Board Members
    • Assess the Health of Your Board Practices

    6: Developing Your Strategic Plan

    • Understand the Strategic Planning Process
    • Draft Your Mission, Vision and Values Statements
    • Conduct Basic Strategic Analysis
    • Set Strategic Direction
    • Conduct Action Planning
    • Draft an Operating Budget
    • Write and Communicate Your Plan
    • Monitor and Evaluate Your Strategic Plan
    • Evaluate Your Strategic Planning Practice

    7: Developing and Marketing Your Programs

    • Understand Program Design
    • Construct a Program Logic Model
    • Clarify Program Outcomes, Goals and Strategies
    • Conduct Basic Market Analysis for Each Program
    • Draft Your Public and Media Relations Plan
    • Draft Your Sales Plan
    • Draft Your Advertising and Promotions Plan
    • Organize Your Marketing and Promotions Plan
    • Evaluate Your Program Planning Practices

    8: Managing Your Nonprofit’s Finances and Taxes

    Financial Management

    1. Learn Basics of Bookkeeping and Finances
    2. Understand Budgeting and Deviation Analysis
    3. Understand Basic Cash Management Practices
    4. Recognize Major Nonprofit Financial Statements
    5. Know Basics of Nonprofit Financial Analysis
    6. Evaluate Your Financial Management Practices

    Managing Taxes

    1. Know Key Steps to Apply for Tax-Exempt Status
    2. Access Form to File Form 990
    3. Know When Unrelated Business Income Applies
    4. Know Terms of Lobby and Advocacy
    5. Evaluate Your Tax Management Practices

    9: Developing Your Fundraising Plan

    • Learn Common Sources of Funding
    • Understand Board’s Role in Fundraising
    • Assess if You’re Ready for Fundraising
    • Learn Who Should Ask for Money, How Much
    • Recognize Best Practices in Annual Appeals, Events, Major Gifts and Capital
    • Learn Key Components of Grant Proposals
    • Draft Your Fundraising Plan
    • Evaluate Your Fundraising Practices

    10: Supervising Your Employees and Volunteers

    Supervising Staff, Including How to:

    1. Define New Job Roles
    2. Recruit Job Candidates
    3. Screen Applicants
    4. Orient New Employees
    5. Delegate to Employees
    6. Ensure Strong Performance
    7. Fire Employees
    8. Compile Personnel Policies and Samples
    9. Evaluate Your Supervisory Practices

    Supervising Volunteers, Including How to:

    1. Design Your Volunteer Program
    2. Decide Where Volunteers Can Help
    3. Recruit and Screen Volunteers
    4. Ensure Strong Performance
    5. Recognize Common Risks and Liabilities
    6. Evaluate Your Volunteer Management Practices

    11: Designing Your Program Evaluation Plans

    General Program Evaluation

    1. Understanding Program Evaluation, Goals and Types
    2. Gain Overview of Data Collection Methods
    3. Understand Guidelines for Analyzing, Interpreting and Reporting Information
    4. Recognize Pitfalls to Avoid
    5. Evaluate Your Program Planning and Evaluation Practices

    Outcomes-Based Evaluations

    1. Get Ready for Your Outcomes Planning
    2. Select Your Outcomes and Target Outcomes
    3. Develop Your Logic Model
    4. Identify Indicators for Each of Your Target Outcomes
    5. Decide What Data You Need and How You Will Collect It
    6. Gain Guidelines for Your Data Analyses
    7. Draft Your Outcomes-Based Evaluation Report

    12: Conducting Final Fitness Test of Your Nonprofit

    Evaluate Quality of:

    1. Compliance to Laws and Regulations
    2. Board Operations
    3. Supervisory Practices
    4. Strategic, Program and Personnel Planning
    5. Financial Management
    6. Fundraising Practices

    Module 13: Managing Ethics in the Workplace

    Set Up Systems to Manage Ethics, Including:

    1. What is Business Ethics?
    2. Myths About Business Ethics
    3. 10 Benefits of Managing Ethics
    4. Ethics Management System
    5. 8 Guidelines for Managing Ethics
    6. 6 Key Roles and Responsibilities
    7. Codes of Ethics
    8. Codes of Conduct
    9. Ethics Policies and Procedures
    10. Resolving Ethical Dilemmas
    11. Conduct Ethics Training

    Cost of Program and Time to Complete It

    Program Costs

    The cost of the program depends very much on how the learner
    chooses to go through the program. If the learner chooses to go
    through the program on their own (rather than, for example, as
    part of a group of learners sponsored by a local service provider),
    the program is entirely free. Otherwise, program costs are determined
    by the local service provider who sponsors the program.

    Time to Complete Program

    Learners can go through all of the modules in the program or
    they can choose their own set of modules and how those modules
    will be completed. Consequently, the amount of time to complete
    the program depends very much on how the learner chooses to go
    through the program. The more time and energy that learners invest
    in the program, the more they will learn and accomplish for their
    organizations and careers.

    Many of the learning activities in this program are activities
    that organizational leaders and managers should do in the workplace
    anyway to develop a healthy organization. Consequently, time in
    the program to conduct these learning activities should not be
    viewed only as “time in the program”; rather, this program
    helps learners turn their organizations and careers into “learning
    labs” where they get things done — and learn at the same

    As a very rough estimate, learners can spend anywhere from
    10-40 hours in each module — again this amount of time depends
    very much on how thorough learners are in reviewing learning materials
    and conducting activities to deepen and enrich that learning.

    Certain modules include more learning activities than others.
    Therefore, the program sponsor and learners may choose to dedicate
    more than one meeting for these modules. For more information,
    Suggested Number of Meetings Per Learning Module
    in Here’s How to Provide the Program.

    Please Tell Others About This Program!

    • The vast majority of nonprofit organizations have very limited
      time and money — yet the majority of these nonprofits still
      do not tap the vast reserve of free resources available on the
      Internet and Web! Please help spread the word!
    • Please print out this program flyer and place copies appropriately
      around your nonprofit community.
    • If you know of service providers who will see value in providing
      this nature of program, please tell them. You might suggest they
      read the program description at
    • If you’re a service provider to nonprofits, please consider
      offering this program as a service in your area.

    Thank you!!!

    Providing the Program Requires Little in Resources and Expertise!

    Providing the program in your area requires little in resources
    and expertise. See Here’s How to Provide the Program.

    Within certain limits, I can also work with you to customize
    the program to suit your needs, if needed. For example, you may
    want to modify certain topics.

    Program Not to Be Used Primarily to Generate Profits

    This program was developed on a pro bono basis as a service
    to the nonprofit community. The study materials for the program
    are contained in the Free Management Library, also developed as
    a pro bono service. Because of the pro bono nature of the program
    and its resources, the program should not be used primarily
    to generate profits. Specifically, any fees to learners to
    participate in this program should be no more than the very low
    costs incurred to provide and operate the program.

    How Do I Get Started?

    For the Category of Personal Development:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may
    want to review some related topics, available from the link below.
    Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

    Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been
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