Capstone - Managing Board Change for Higher Levels of Leadership and Governance Effectiveness

About this course: The Capstone Project is a service learning experience designed to apply the knowledge and skills developed in the three Specialization courses to a real world leadership and governance situation. It is also intended to develop the participant's capability to act as an agent for positive change in nonprofit organizations. To this end, you will analyze the leadership and governance effectiveness of a real board of directors in an organization of your own choosing (or, if that is not possible, data gathered from a real board provided by the course instructors). By the end of the Capstone Project, you will have produced a professional consulting report detailing your analysis and recommendations to improve board leadership and governance effectiveness. You will then present it to the board and advise them on implementing change. To learn more about this course, please watch the overview video by copying and pasting the following link into your web browser: Keywords: Nonprofit; Nonprofit Sector; Voluntary Sector; Nonprofit Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Volunteer Organizations, Leadership, Management, Governance, Board, Board of Directors, Performance, Effectiveness Capstone Project Overview: Weeks 1-3: This period will be spent choosing a board of a nonprofit organization and gathering information using two specially designed tools and resources: The SUNY Open textbook (to download the book copy and paste the following link into your browser:, "Guidelines for Improving the Effectiveness of Boards of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations", and The Board Check-Up, online board performance self-assessment tool that can be accessed by copying and pasting this link into your browser: Weeks 4-5: In this phase, the information gathered will be analyzed leading to an evaluation of the board's effectiveness in the different dimensions of board effectiveness examined in the Specialization courses. Weeks 6-8: In the final phase of the Project, the results of the analysis and recommendations for positive change will be brought together a specially prepared consulting report intended for the use of the board of the client organization.

Created by:   The State University of New York
Basic Info
How To PassPass all graded assignments to complete the course.
Capstone Overview
Welcome to the fourth and final course in the new Coursera Specialization: Developing Leadership and Improving Governance in Nonprofit Organizations.The Capstone is designed to help you apply the knowledge and skills developed in the three Specialization courses to a real world leadership and governance situation a nonprofit organization board of directors is experiencing. As a service learning experience, you will act as an agent for positive change by working with a board of a nonprofit organization that you serve on, work for, or know through the Capstone Project.

2 videos3 readings
  1. Video: Capstone Course Overview
  2. Video: Capstone - Managing Board Change for High Levels of Leadership and Governance Effectiveness
  3. Reading: Course Syllabus
  4. Reading: Course Literature and Resources
  5. Discussion Prompt: Introductions and Study Groups
  6. Reading: Week 1 Activities
  7. Discussion Prompt: Week 1 Discussions
Week 2: Secure Board Cooperation
Welcome to Week 2! The focus this week is on obtaining formal consent from your chosen board to participate in the Capstone Project it is then necessary to register them for the board performance assessment at, if you have not already done so.

2 readings
  1. Reading: Week 2 Activities
  2. Discussion Prompt: Week 2 Discussions
  3. Reading: Some Tips on Searching for and Approaching a Board
Weeks 3: Start Gathering Data
Welcome to Week 3! The goal of this week is to start the process of gathering and monitoring data .  

1 reading
  1. Reading: Week 3 Activities
  2. Discussion Prompt: Week 3 Discussions
Weeks 4: Collect Data and Share a Draft
Welcome to Week 4! The goal of this week is to monitor data collection and to write and share a draft of the first part of your Capstone Project report.  

1 reading
  1. Reading: Week 4 Activities
  2. Discussion Prompt: Week 4 Discussions
  3. Peer Review: Share the First Four Sections of Your Capstone Project Report
Week 5: Analyze Data
Welcome to Week 5! The goal for this week is to complete and return any peer reviews of other course participants’ Capstone Project reports. Also, if you submitted a draft of your report to others for peer review last week reflect on their feedback. Finally, begin the process of analyzing data to generate the Capstone Project findings.

1 reading
  1. Reading: Week 5 Activities
  2. Discussion Prompt: Week 5 Discussions
Week 6: Synthesize Data
Welcome to Week 6! At this stage in the Capstone, you should have a good understanding of the strengths as well as the issues that challenge the effectiveness of the governing board you are working with. It is at this point that the "Guidelines for Improving the Effectiveness of Boards of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations" course text should be used as a resource for understanding why these challenges exist and what can be done about them.

1 reading
  1. Reading: Week 6 Activities
  2. Peer Review: Submit Draft of the Last Four Sections of Capstone Project
  3. Discussion Prompt: Week 6 Discussions
Week 7: Communicate Results
Welcome to Week 7! The goals for this week are: (a) To complete and return any partial Capstone Project draft reports sent to you last week by fellow students for your peer review you; (b) Reflect on the peer reviews you received on last week's partial draft report. (c) Complete a draft of the full Capstone Project Report.

1 reading
  1. Reading: Week 7 Activities
  2. Discussion Prompt: Week 7 Discussions
Week 8: Submit Report
Welcome to Week 8! The goal for this week is to submit your Capstone Project report for peer grading and to evaluate reports that you have been assigned to review. 

1 reading
  1. Reading: Week 8 Activities
  2. Discussion Prompt: Week 8 Discussions
Graded: Final Capstone Project Report
How It Works
Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.
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