Nonprofit Organizations/Political Science 4356/Spring 2010, MW 3-4:20 pm

Dr. Kathleen (Kathy) Staudt, Office Hours 2-3 pm MW

Benedict Hall 303, 747 7975,


Nonprofit organizations are tax-exempt organizations that provide public service and/or advocacy for social problems, issues, and justice. El Paso is home to over a thousand nonprofit organizations (NPOs), approximately four hundred of which are active organizations with paid professional staff and unpaid volunteers.  If one added together all the paid staff members of El Paso’s nonprofit organizations, it would be among the “top ten” employers in the city, according to the Nonprofit Enterprise Center (, an umbrella organization that offers technical assistance to strengthen the capacity or nonprofit organizations. 


NPOs are sometimes defined by what they are NOT!  NPOs are neither government entities nor private, for-profit businesses and corporations.  However, they share some characteristics of both. They are governed by a Board of Directors, and they must generate revenue in order to survive as an organization with salary and other expenses.  Some NPOs are widely known, familiar household terms on which a wide cross-section of the public relies: American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, La Fe Clinic, Hospice, the YMCA and YWCA, Boys Club Girls Club, and Big Brothers Big Sisters among many others. Other NPOs support social, human and civil rights and safety, such as the Center Against Family Violence, Texas Civil Rights Project, National Organization for Women, MALDEF [Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, ACORN, Border Network for Human Rights, and the Industrial Areas Foundation [IAF] local affiliates, EPISO and Border Interfaith. NPOs also provide direct service to those with basic human needs in El Paso: the Food Bank and 30-some homeless shelters, including the Salvation Army, Rescue Mission, La Posada, and Opportunity Center.


In this course, students will acquire knowledge, political and practical skills associated with nonprofit organizational management, finance, grant-writing, fund-raising revenue generation strategies, and partnerships with government and business sectors.  Students will write several short papers through their thirty-hour mini-internships at a variety of El Paso NPOs and/or public schools (the latter, for future teachers). A list of NPOs will be available to students. 


Course Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will have experience reading, observing/interning, and participating in

*assessing community needs and strengths in “Asset-Based Community Development”

*analyzing and assessing NPOs’ websites and public persona

*training to facilitate grant searches via the Foundation Center data base

*developing concept papers to write and respond to Requests for Proposals (RFPs) 

*recruiting, managing, and celebrating volunteers

*governing bodies and their bylaws: Boards of Directors

*evaluating projects and programs based on criteria used in policy analysis



Thomas Wolf, Nonprofit Management for the 21st Century, 2nd edition

Randy Stoecker, Research Methods for Community Change

A photocopy packet

Web-based reading assignments

NOTE: Professor reserves the right to change assignments during the semester.


Evaluation Criteria based on:

*Two exams (20% each) of mixed assessment questions that include short-answer, multiple-choice, and application-oriented essay questions).  NOTE: half of the material will come from class, so attendance is one key to more than a mediocre grade!


*Attendance (in class, 30-hour log for mini-internship, evaluation from NPO supervisor) (20%).  For emergencies and inability to attend class, students should email the professor ahead of time.


*Short Papers as specified below (10%)


*Final Project Proposal that incorporates research, insights from Stoecker, feedback from peers and NPO (30%).  Student peer reviewer comments will be taken into account for this evaluation.


*Opportunities to attend extra-credit events will be announced.  (Documentation through a one-page reflection on the event.)


Schedule and Assignments


January 20       Introduction to course and mini-internships possibilities


January 21       Nonprofit Congress-Social Work Electoral Forum.  Auditorium, College of

                        Health Sciences, 101 N. Campbell, 5:45 (meet & greet); 6:15-8 pm.


January 25       Understanding Nonprofits

                        Wolf, Preface and Ch 1


January 27       Applied Research with the Community

                        Ch 1


February 1       Participatory Approaches to Research

                        Stoecker, Ch 2


February 3       Declaration of internship choice.

                        DUE: Short 2-3 pp paper on the NPO, its mission,

                        and evaluation of its website, with a presentation to class

                        Nonprofit Governance: Boards of Directors

                        Wolf, Ch 2


February 8       Staffing NPOs: Employees and Volunteers

                        Wolf, Ch 3, 4


February 10     Project-based research and Diagnosing potential projects

                        Stoecker, Ch 3, 4


February 15     Training to do grant searches.  Meeting at UTEP Library to learn how to

                        tap the Foundation Center.  Come equipped with ‘keywords’ on

                        your NPO!


February 17     No class, but assignment to ‘mine’ the grant data base for ten possible funding

                        sources; bring a one-page list of ten to class on February 22 on why those

                        sources might be good ‘prospects.’


February 22     DUE: List of funding sources (as per February 17)

                        External grant funding at the border: Discussion of findings


February 24     Researching Project Options

                        Stoecker, Ch 5


March 1           Project Implementation

                        Stoecker, Ch 6


March 3           Project Evaluation

                        Stoecker, Ch 7


March 8           Marketing the NPO

                        Wolf, Ch 5


March 10         Midterm Exam


                        HAPPY SPRING BREAK! March 15-19


March 22         Financial Management in NPOs

                        Wolf, Ch 6


March 24         Financial Management in NPOs, Part II

                        Wolf, Ch 7


March 29         Strategic Planning

                        Wolf, Ch 10

                        Stoecker, Appendix A


March 31         Draft Project Proposals that Use Research

                        Two pages due, presentations in class, feedback from participants


April 5             No class: Use feedback to develop proposal


April 7             Sustaining the NPO

                        Wolf, Ch 10


April 12           Research Ethics, Writing

                        Stoecker, Appendices B & C


April 14           Research as an Organizational Lifestyle

                        Stoecker Ch 7


April 19           From Nonprofit Organizations to Community Organizing


April 21           Proposals Due: one copy for instructor, one copy for library reserve

                        Evaluation Forms; Peer Grading Teams Assigned


Remainder       Presentations in class: Nonprofit Partners are Welcome!


May 3              Final Papers, incorporating feedback, due