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Nonprofit Financial Stewardship: Concepts and Techniques for Strategic Management, Short Course

  • Application Deadline
  • 1 month
An online program designed to help nonprofit and non-governmental organization managers improve their financial literacy.


Nonprofit executives have to strike a balance between creating public value and managing the bottom line. Sound financial management is critical to the long-term health of any nonprofit organization. Senior executives leading nonprofits need the ability to read financial reports accurately, ask the right questions of their financial officers, and make strategic management decisions based on a solid understanding of the general business principles that apply to all organizations.

Nonprofit Financial Stewardship is an online program designed to help managers in nonprofit organizations understand the tools, techniques, and concepts of good financial management. The program represents a unique online learning opportunity for nonprofit and non-governmental organization managers to interact with colleagues from around the world and Professors James P. Honan and Ann Thornburg of Harvard Kennedy School.

The Nonprofit Financial Stewardship program is comprised of four topics:
  • Mission, money, and impact
  • Understanding financial statements
  • Tools, frameworks and concepts in financial management
  • Budgeting and resource allocation

Each topic is covered in a module that combines readings, online discussion, videos, and a workbook exercise – allowing participants to apply the information learned in each module directly to their organization.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • More details: September 21 - November 13
  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 1 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode

Programme Structure

I. Mission, money, and impact – “money for what?”

How does a nonprofit know if it’s achieving its goals? What is your organization’s key performance challenge? What are you trying to accomplish and how does it link to your organizations financial plan?Participants will be invited to:

  • Share some information about their organization’s mission, its overall financial condition, and its impact in the world.
  • Identify a key challenge that they and their organizations are facing in the strategic financial management/financial stewardship domain.
  • Create a draft logic model for one of their organizations key strategic priorities.

II. Understanding financial statements

How do financial statements work? What are the big headlines and challenges?

Participants will use tools to analyze their own financial statements and answer questions about their organization’s financial challenges.

III. Tools, frameworks and concepts in financial management

Participants will use tools and exercises to understand cost accounting, pricing, break-even analysis, and ratio analysis.

IV. Budgeting and resource allocation

How do you allocate your financial resources? How do you think about budget cutbacks? What data are you supposed to be keeping track of to ensure that your financial resources are allocated effectively?

Participants will engage in a case discussion and an interactive exercise.


Nonprofit Financial Stewardship is an online program designed to reach an audience of nonprofit and NGO managers from around the world, who, given the costs and distances, are not able to attend on-campus Executive Education programs offered by Harvard Kennedy School.
The program is designed for CEOs, general managers, and program staff of nonprofit organizations and NGOs.

Participants in this eight-week online program will be held to the same standard of performance as their colleagues attending Harvard Kennedy School on-campus Executive Education programs, where participation is based on thorough preparation and active engagement throughout the program. Each two-week module can be expected to take at least 10 hours of work.


  • Faculty Chairs: James Honan and Ann Thornburg
  • Program Director: James Brockman

English Language Requirements

This programme requires students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Academic Requirements

Admission to this online program is competitive and is based on professional achievement and organizational responsibility. Though there is no formal educational requirement, fluency in written and spoken English is a requirement for the program.

Because of the interactive nature of this program, the number of participants is limited. Early application is encouraged as qualified candidates are admitted on a rolling, space-available basis and programs often fill quickly. Applications received after the deadline will be considered only if space remains in the class.

  1. Create an account
  2. Complete your application
  3. Submit your application
Visa Requirements

As a program participant, you are responsible for securing the appropriate visas (B1 Visa) and travel documents you need to travel to the country in which your program is located.

Once admitted to a program, the Program Director can provide you with a letter as documentation for your visa application.

Please note that you should request a B-1 visa and not an F-l student visa for attendance to a program. Program participants are not considered full-time enrolled students at Harvard University, and they are therefore not eligible for Harvard’s F-l student visa sponsorship.

Because the time required to obtain a visa can be lengthy, we encourage applicants from outside the United States to apply at least 12 weeks before the start date of each program.

Work Experience

At least 10 year(s) of work experience are required.

Most executive programs are designed for participants with at least 10 years of work experience, however there are no formal educational requirements for admission.

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    1900 USD/module
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 1900 USD per module and a duration of 1 months.
  • National Applies to you

    1900 USD/module
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 1900 USD per module and a duration of 1 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.


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