Mastering the Nonprofit Business Model

A Definitive, Six-Part Series from the Nonprofit Quarterly

NPQ is proud and excited to announce the September launch of a first-of-its kind, web-based educational series on nonprofit business models. This project has long been in the works at NPQ, and it is built on decades of collective experience and scholarship.

The series is designed to be highly accessible to participants at every level. It will be thorough, providing participants with a solid grounding in the patterns and needs of all sizes and types of nonprofit enterprise.

Nothing impacts the expression of a nonprofit’s business model more than its core revenue types. Using a team of well-known financial experts, NPQ’s new six-part series will address how to think about nonprofit business models generally, then dive deeply into the dynamics and success requirements associated with each of five major categories of nonprofit revenue. The sessions will also explore the considerations involved in the blending of various revenue types. Among the all-star presenters are Jeanne Bell, who is coordinating the series; Hilda Polanco of FMA; Kate Barr of Propel Nonprofits; Claire Knowlton of the Nonprofit Finance Fund; Kim Ondreck Carim of the Oakland Museum of California; and Michael Anderson, consultant. Each is a skilled teacher.

This series is designed for:

  • Nonprofit leaders and board members who need to be well-versed in nonprofit business models to effectively discuss, chart, and monitor the course of their own organizations.
  • Capacity-builders who need to deepen their business model literacy to be of greater strategic assistance to their nonprofit clients.
  • Program officers in philanthropy and government who need to be well-versed in nonprofit business models both to assess the financial well-being of their grantees and to be more effective advisors to them.
  • Educators in nonprofit higher education who need a strong curriculum to anchor courses in nonprofit finance.
  • Emerging leaders in the nonprofit sector.

Single components of the series will be made available on demand, but NPQ recommends that you elect for the entire series so that participants get a strong sense of what goes into and is needed to manage the blended business models used by most nonprofits.

About this Groundbreaking Series

Nonprofit financial models are, in general, different from for-profit models in a number of ways—they are less fungible, for instance—but that doesn’t mean that they are not sortable into distinct types, or that their dynamics, quirks, and requirements are not eventually known to their managers (with eventually being the key word). It just makes sense to all involved for basic business models of this important sector to be understood before someone takes the helm of an organization. This series is too long overdue.

In fact, there are a limited number of core revenue types across nonprofit business models and each comes complete with its own sets of risks, skills, internal infrastructure requirements, and monitoring needs. Until now, these models have not been clearly laid out to those who must manage them. If anything, they have been learned on the job—too often through trial and error, but also, in the best situations, from accountants who make mentoring organizational leaders and boards part of their jobs.

Now, NPQ will make the process of learning these models quicker and easier. Each of the six sessions in the series will be taught by a nationally recognized, grounded expert in the type of revenue stream primarily being discussed. Sessions will be designed to be immediately useful to participants.

Each 90-minute session stands on its own, but engaging the full series will give participants a deep and comprehensive understanding of how different types of money work in the nonprofit sector and what the critical considerations are for diversification of core revenue streams.