Course 2018-2019 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
CLEAM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - CLEF (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - CLEACC (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - BESS-CLES (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - WBB (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - BIEF (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - BIEM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - BIG (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - BEMACS (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus


No prerequisites are needed for the student to attend the course, but a strong interest and passion for civil society and its complexity.

Mission & Content Summary


Foundations, social enterprises, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), voluntary organizations, associations, cooperatives are all different manifestations of civil society organizations, often generally called ‘non-profit organizations’ or ‘third sector’. In the current context of global cultural and economic crisis, the non-profit sector is walking on a revolutionary road, both in its role of service and funder (mainly through individual, corporate and institutional philanthropy), being more and more involved in responding to pressing social needs together with other public and business organizations. Fact is that the nonprofit sector, through the vast array of different organizations it represents, is now more than ever a fundamental player of the re-configuration of welfare systems globally and a primary contributor to social impact. For the relevance that non-profit organizations and philanthropy have in contributing to solving the current public challenges at the global level, they deserve a specific focus since their management, governance and evaluation features are unique. This course is intended to build the student’s knowledge of the management, governance and evaluation issues related to non-profit organizations and philanthropy.


Consistently with its mission and ILOs, the course includes a first block related to an overview of non-profit organizations and philanthropy and it is structured to address governance, management and evaluation features. Along the course an international and global perspective is privileged, including case studies and incidents from all around the globe. Main topics include:

  • What are non-profit organizations and what is philanthropy.
  • Variety, functions and roles of non-profit organizations.
  • Non-profit theories.
  • Non-profit management: business planning.
  • Non-profit management: marketing and fundraising.
  • Non-profit management: HR management.
  • Governance of non-profit organizations.
  • Main challenges of non-profit organizations: sustainability and innovation.
  • Strategic philanthropy: historical traits.
  • Strategic philanthropy: innovation and challenges.
  • Social Impact evaluation: aims and methods.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Recognize and illustrate the roles and functions of non-profit organizations.
  • Explain and summarize the main theories at the basis of the existence of non-profit organizations and philanthropy in relation to public interest and public good theories.
  • Recognize the main features of management, governance and evaluation of non-profit organizations, with a specific focus on philanthropic initiatives.
  • Identify the main challenges faced by non-profit managers and philanthropists, especially in relation with other public or private actors.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Apply knowledge to contribute to setting up new non-profit organizations or philanthropic initiatives in a strategic way.
  • Contribute to developing innovative solutions for the public interest, specifically in the social or cultural context.
  • Contribute to recognizing and solving the main challenges that a non-profit manager or a philanthropist have to face.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


  • Guest speakers’ talks are offered to students to complement the theoretical knowledge acquired with face-to-face lectures with practical knowledge coming from the direct experiences of practitioners – philanthropy advisors, managers of international non-profit organizations, fundraisers or social impact scholars.
  • In addition to face-to-face lectures, case studies and incidents are used to clarify and strengthen the theoretical blocks of the course. They are used in particular with theories of non-profit and social impact. Discussion of case studies and incidents are done in a highly interactive way.
  • Group assignment is relevant for the course as it covers a relevant part of the assessment methods. The group assignment consists in a task to be solved in group: students are asked to set up a non-profit organization or a philanthropic initiative, based on real data from different countries. This gives students the opportunity to switch from theoretical to applied knowledge during the course.
  • Finally, a role play is proposed to students on a specific topic (conflict of interests in foundations).

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  x x
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)


In order to measure the acquisition of the above-mentioned ILOs, the assessment for attending students is composed of two parts: a written exam (open questions) aimed at testing knowledge acquired with both face-to-face lectures and guest speakers’ sessions; a group exercise, aimed at testing the application of theoretical knowledge to a real-life situation.

The options for attending students are:

  • Partial partial written exam (35%)
  • Partial final written exam (35%)
  • Groupwork (30%)


The assessment for non-attending students consist in a final written exam (100%) with questions designed to assess both theoretical and applied knowledge.

Teaching materials


Teaching materials include:

  • List of papers/materials (one paper for each session).
  • Slides uploaded on Bboard.
  • Any other material found relevant during discussions or lectures and uploaded on Bboard.


Teaching materials include:

  • H. ANHEIER, Nonprofit Organizations: Theory, Management and Policy, Routledge, 2014, II ed.
Last change 04/06/2018 10:02