Nonprofit Governance

More than ever, nonprofits face an array of complex challenges in their efforts to provide services and education to the public. Regardless of size or program focus, organizations must pay close attention to issues of governance, financial reporting, and compliance. The certificate in nonprofit governance provides a comprehensive understanding of organizational areas that are most affected by governance issues, and how to proactively address them while staying true to your organization’s mission.

In the certificate program, you will study board development and management, regulatory and compliance issues, and budgeting and finance. The certificate coursework will give you the skills you need to develop strategies for increasing the size and effectiveness of your volunteer corps, as well as to examine the impact of legal issues on your organization, including compliance requirements, liability, and tax-exempt status. You’ll gain valuable experience developing accountability structures, including planning and monitoring organizational budgets and assembling an active board.

Through a course schedule that can be completed 100% online, entirely face-to-face, or with a combination of course types, the certificate in nonprofit governance program is flexible enough to be completed in as little as 12 months. Options for scholarships and other financial aid help make your studies affordable—and all certificate courses can also be applied toward a degree, such as a master of nonprofit administration or master of organizational leadership.

Our respected professional faculty includes experts in nonprofit management with decades of experience working with board members, volunteers, and government officials. With small class sizes and peers who are also invested in this topic, you’ll become better equipped to serve as a leader in nonprofit organizations.


These five classes are required for the certificate in nonprofit governance. Click on a course title to read its description.

Review our semester schedules to see current offerings, including online and on-campus classes.

SBNM 5350 – Nonprofit Financial Management
This course provides both basic and advanced financial planning and management skills necessary in today's nonprofit organization. Successful financial planning and business development strategies will be combined to create a financial plan which achieves the goals of the organization. Included are basic principles of managerial accounting. Fund accounting, budgeting, cash flow analysis, expenditure control, long-range financial planning, audits, and grants and contracts are studied, as applied to nonprofit organizations.

SBNM 5710 – Nonprofit Management: Theory and Application
A foundation course examining the origins and societal role of private nonprofit organizations including their social, political, economic, cultural, and ideological importance in American society and compared against the global non-governmental sector and organizations. Major types of nonprofit organizations are studied, as well as distinguishing organizational characteristics of third-sector institutions as contrasted with business and government organizations. Current trends in the nonprofit sector and projections for the future are analyzed.

SBNM 5720 – Nonprofit Board Governance and Volunteer Management
This course is designed to improve understanding of the elements, processes, and dynamics of board governance and volunteer management in nonprofit organizations. Course includes analysis of the respective roles of the board, executive director, staff and volunteers in nonprofit organizations. Focus on means and methods to enable boards and volunteers to maximize organizational effectiveness. Students will learn how to assess and improve the effectiveness of a board, the senior leadership, volunteers, and the overall governance of the organization.

SBNM 5730 – Nonprofit Law, Policy, and Government Relations
This course analyzes major aspects of federal, state and local laws affecting nonprofit organizations and explores the dynamics of interdependence between nonprofit organizations, government, and the public policy process.

SBNM 5770 – Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations
This course covers the fundamentals of effective resource development as they pertain to nonprofit organizations. Principles and best practices of fundraising are studied, including the fundraising process (i.e., organizational readiness, case development, donor pyramid, strategic planning, management and research). The principles that undergird effective fundraising practices will also be reviewed, including the historical, organizational, legal, ethical, and theoretical contexts of fundraising.

Gainful Employment Information

North Park University is required to provide detailed information about the gainful employment of our students who enroll in School of Business and Nonprofit Management certificate programs. These disclosures will assist students in making informed enrollment decisions with regards to the possible employment opportunities that accompany each of the certificate programs.

Gianfranco Farruggia, School of Business and Economics Professor
Academic Advising and Planning
Catherine Marsh working with SBNM graduate students.Make sure you're on-track with your program by accessing course planning sheets, current class schedules, and other advising and planning resources.