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

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC. 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 below.
  • 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 It
Please Tell Others About This Program!
Providing Program Requires Little in Resources and Expertise -- Here's How!
Program Not to Be Used to Generate Profits
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 abilities)

  • 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 development
  • (Outcomes from each module are listed near the top of each module.)

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 Program

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 confidentiality
8. Prefer to share ongoing ideas, materials and support among peers
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) that:
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 format:

  • Introduction -- explains how the module fits into the program and the overall process of nonprofit organization development
  • Outcomes -- lists the new knowledge, skills, practices and systems that learners will accomplish from completing that module
  • 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 nonprofit
  • 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.

Module 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

Module 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

Module 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"

Module 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

Module 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

Module 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

Module 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

Module 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

Module 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 Campaigns
  • Learn Key Components of Grant Proposals
  • Draft Your Fundraising Plan
  • Evaluate Your Fundraising Practices

Module 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

Module 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

Module 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

Optional: 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 time.

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 selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

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