Mastering the Nonprofit Business Model
Mastering the Nonprofit Business Model

Mastering the Nonprofit Business Model

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A Definitive, Six-Part Series from the Nonprofit Quarterly

The Nonprofit Quarterly has engaged the best minds in nonprofit finance to develop a definitive, six-part series on the nonprofit business model in today’s operating context.

Participants will be guided through the operating dynamics and success requirements for business models that involve government contract, foundation grant, fee-for-service, individual donor, and membership/federation core revenue streams. Each session addresses not only the technical and financial elements in each of these models, but also their implications for leadership and governance as well as organizational culture.

This series is designed for:

  • Nonprofit leaders and board members who need to be well-versed in nonprofit business models to effectively discuss and chart the course of their own organizations.
  • Board members who want to better understand what they should be looking for in the financial reports of the nonprofit they help to oversee.
  • Capacity-builders who need to deepen their business model literacy to be of greater strategic guidance 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.

About the Series

Nonprofit financial models are, in general, different from for-profit models in a number of ways- money just works differently in them – it is less fungible for instance - but that doesn’t mean that they are not sortable into distinct types and that their dynamics and 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 taking the helm of an organization. Thus, this series is long overdue.

In fact, there are a limited number of classic 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.

But now NPQ will make the process of learning these models quicker and easier; announcing the first ever webinar series on the 5 most common business models among nonprofits. Each of the six sessions in the series will be taught by a nationally recognized grounded expert in the type of business model being discussed and will be designed to be immediately useful to participants.

We recommend that participants sign up for the entire series because in many nonprofits you may be working with more than one business model, but sessions may also be purchased separately.

Each 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 critical considerations for diversification of core revenue streams.


Introduction to Nonprofit Business Models
Jeanne Bell, Nonprofit Quarterly

The Government Contracted Nonprofit
Hilda Polanco, FMA

The Foundation Funded Nonprofit
Claire Knowlton, Nonprofit Finance Fund

The Donor Supported Nonprofit Model
Kim Ondrek Carim, CFO/COO Oakland Museum of CA

The Fee-for Service Nonprofit Business Model
Kate Barr, Propel Nonprofits

The Membership or Association Based Nonprofit Business Model
Michael Anderson, Consultant

BONUS: Participants who engage in the full series will also receive a Mastering the Nonprofit Business Model Reader with summaries of each session along with a curated collection of related articles and faculty-recommended resources.


Jeanne Bell
Nonprofit Quarterly

Claire Knowlton
Nonprofit Finance Fund

Kim Ondreck Carim
Oakland Museum of CA

Kate Barr
Propel Nonprofits

Michael Anderson