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ARCHIVED  July 30, 1999

CSU, PBS teach tricks of nonprofit management

Colorado State University has teamed with the Public Broadcasting Service to offer a two-credit certificate course in nonprofit management tailored to working professionals.

At the core of the course, co-sponsored by three Northern Colorado United Way organizations, are eight live PBS broadcasts from September 1999 to May 2000 that bring national experts to remote audiences. Each will dispense through satellite feeds information about the tricks of the nonprofit trade.

In addition, CSU social work professor Art Bavoso, who has 30 years’ experience in nonprofit management, will provide on-site instruction.

Topics will include planning, fund-raising, working with governing boards, marketing, volunteer recruitment and developing strategic alliances. Throughout, Bavoso and the national presenters will discuss the nuts and bolts of day-to-day nonprofit management.

“We’re basically trying to assist people with the financial, ethical and legal decisions that are made on a daily basis when overseeing a nonprofit agency,´ said Bavoso, who serves as the interim executive director of development for CSU. “It is an opportunity for people who are taking over the administration of an organization to get themselves up to speed more quickly so that they can be of immediate assistance to their programs.”

It is also a chance for established administrators to refresh themselves, particularly in areas where they have never received any real guidance.

“You’ve got a lot of people who get involved in nonprofits because they are dedicated to the cause but who really have no idea about all the financial and management skills they need,” Bavoso said. “They will have the opportunity to network with other nonprofit managers and share ideas, but we hope that they will also benefit from the experience and expertise of the instructors.”

The nonprofit industry has become big business in the last several years, working in what Bavoso calls the “third sector,” after private industry and public service. Generating millions of dollars every year, these organizations run the gamut from service-based groups to university foundations to small social or environmental-justice groups.

Kris Cord, a director for the Community Foundation, estimates that there are more than 200 nonprofits in Larimer County alone, most with an average annual operating budget of $25,000 to $30,000.

“We are finding that there are so many grassroots organizations now, competing for dollars from funders who really want to ensure that those groups that they support are doing everything appropriately,” she said. “While there is something to be said about learning by doing — from experience — there are just too many hurdles that a nonprofit must jump over in order to be successful or even just to maintain its existence.”

A variant of the course had been offered to undergraduates at CSU, but too few students were interested to justify faculty hours, Bavoso said. By catering to working professionals, in addition to eligible students, and offering the course at times when professionals can accommodate the schedule, organizers hope demand will increase.

“It really depends on how many people want to learn how to run a nonprofit just as they would learn to run a business or become a professional in any industry,´ said Gailmarie Kimmel, the program’s coordinator from the Division of Educational Outreach at the university.

One of the most important things anyone wanting to go into the nonprofit industry must learn is how to apply for funding, either from private or public sources. But first, to become eligible for any financial assistance, the organization must be registered as a 501(c) (3), a federal license identifying that particular group as a not-for-profit institution.

“Right there, you have a number of well-intentioned organizations who can’t get off the ground, because they have no idea what is involved in the application process for a 501(c) (3),” Bavoso said. “Right there, the course will be useful for those people, because we will show them the right way to complete the application.”

The course will cost $495 per student for undergraduate credit, and $575 for graduate credit. The Community Foundation has offered financial assistance for directors and agency representatives who don’t have money in their budgets for the tuition.

Business Report staff writer Tom Hacker contributed to this story.

Colorado State University has teamed with the Public Broadcasting Service to offer a two-credit certificate course in nonprofit management tailored to working professionals.

At the core of the course, co-sponsored by three Northern Colorado United Way organizations, are eight live PBS broadcasts from September 1999 to May 2000 that bring national experts to remote audiences. Each will dispense through satellite feeds information about the tricks of the nonprofit trade.

In addition, CSU social work professor Art Bavoso, who has 30 years’ experience in nonprofit management, will provide on-site instruction.

Topics will include planning, fund-raising, working with governing boards, marketing, volunteer recruitment and developing…

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