Nonprofits Today: Understanding the Changing Landscape

Previous Course Title: Nonprofits – Foundational Knowledge and Impact

Nonprofit leaders, managers, and sector switchers will benefit from this fast-paced exploration of today’s nonprofit sector. Learn about the broad range of institutions that occupy the social space between the market and the state* and what holds them together.

Participants will discuss the specific functions of nonprofits in society, their economic and political impact and major trends that are changing the face of nonprofit organizations as we know them. The goal of this course is to facilitate increased knowledge of the nonprofit sector, preparing the learner to lead and manage strategically in a rapidly changing environment.

Topics Covered:

  • Introduction to Nonprofits, Nonprofit Management and the Nonprofit Sector
  • Recognizing the Economic and Political Roles of Nonprofits
  • Overview of Current Nonprofit Trends: Understanding the Changing Landscape
  • Continued Exploration of Trends: What They Mean for Your Nonprofit Organization
  • Looking into the Future: The Role of Innovation

Course Benefits:

Upon completion of readings and assigned learning activities, students will be able to:

  • Recognize the wide range of terms and definitions used for nonprofit organizations today and how nonprofits fit in between the market and the state
  • Explain the key functions of nonprofits
  • Recognize the social, economic and political impact of nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and beyond
  • Identify major trends affecting nonprofits today and interpret their significance for the organization where you work or volunteer
  • Explain strategies for building a culture of innovation as nonprofit organizations face the future

Required Text:

All readings and learning resources will be provided on the course web site. No texts are required for purchase at this time.

Special Features:

  • Weekly readings and resources to inform your understanding of nonprofits today
  • “Studio” activities offer opportunities for new and experienced practitioners to cultivate practical skills
  • Original case studies and problem-based learning activities
  • In-depth weekly discussions on the real-life challenges and opportunities of leading nonprofits
  • A small class size generally limited to 25 participants

Who Should Attend:

Course topics and learning activities are specifically targeted towards managers and operations personnel or those looking for a refresher on human resources administration, organizational structures and staffing.


This is an instructor-facilitated course delivered entirely online. It is highly interactive and requires active participation on discussion boards and completion of assigned projects. There are no real-time class meetings. Students work at times that are convenient for them within the weekly schedule of activities. We estimate spending an average of 8 – 10 hours per week on each Certificate in Nonprofit Management course. The time commitment will vary depending the individual’s input, needs, and personal study habits. For this reason, we highly recommend students participate in no more than two CNM courses at a time.

Note: This is a tech-enhanced course that requires access to Blackboard, a course management system used by UIC. In order to complete registration, you must submit proof of identity to secure your unique NetID (username).

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