NONPROF 795: Introduction to Nonprofit Revenue Streams and Portfolios

  • Instructor: Bryce Lord
  • Email:
  • Schedule an appt: Book time with Bryce Lord
  • Office Phone: 414.251.8790
  • Office: UWM Zilber School of Public Health, Rm. 368/ Microsoft Teams
  • Office Hours: Monday & Thursday, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm or by appointment


Course Overview 

There are many assumptions and misconceptions about how nonprofit organizations are financed-or should be financed-in the United States. Are many forms of revenue better than just a few? Should all nonprofits pursue as many forms of financial support as possible? How might nonprofits determine the suitable conditions of support? 

 This course introduces you to nonprofit revenue trends and issues to sketch a portrait of and develop your understanding of nonprofit finance theory. The course explores the interactions between nonprofit organizations and funding sources, drawing attention to each source’s theoretical and practical implications for advancing nonprofit missions. This class will establish an understanding of the nature of the nonprofit sector’s funding environment and examine the unique challenges and opportunities nonprofits encounter with funding sources. This course introduces you to an alternative conceptual, normative, & methodological framework that will allow you to view nonprofit financing in a new light. 

 Overall, I have designed this course to build your awareness of how to finance nonprofit organizations, the circumstances surrounding each funding source, and the subsequent implications for nonprofit mission advancement.  

Course Objectives 

Readings, student presentations, discussion board postings, and written assignments will help students think critically about the nonprofit sector’s trends, opportunities, and challenges regarding its financial and resource development. 

 Upon completion of this course: 

  • Students will develop an appreciation and understanding of the range and scope of nonprofit organizations’ funding sources, how to utilize them within the sector, and the significance of diverse funding sources. 
  • Students will be familiar with the theoretical underpinnings supporting utilizing different funding sources to finance various missions and activities. 
  • Students will understand the challenges and issues of nonprofit dependence on different funding sources. 
  • Students will understand how to use nonprofit finance theory to identify potential funding sources. 

Course Requirements 

Each student must: 

  • Actively participate in online discussions 
  • Review posted lectures on time as scheduled 
  • Complete the assigned readings on time as scheduled 
  • Complete and submit all assignments on time 
  • Be respectful of other students’ ideas and experiences. 

Required Book & Other Readings

Book(s) are available at the university bookstore, online booksellers, and the Golda Meir Library.

Required readings: 
  1. Dennis R. Young (Ed.), (2006). Financing Nonprofits: Putting Theory into Practice. Lanham, MD: National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise and AltaMira Press. 
  2. Additional materials are provided via Canvas.
Suggested Texts: 
  1. Burton A. Weisbrod (Ed) (1998), To profit or not to Profit: The Commercial Transformation of the Nonprofit Sector. 
  2. Elizabeth T. Boris and C. Eugene Steuerle, (Eds.), (2006). Nonprofits and Government: Collaboration and Conflict. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute Press.

Technical Requirements 

We will use Canvas for lectures, course materials, assignments, and grades. Please log in at: Canvas is UWM’s digital learning environment. For 24/7 support for Canvas throughout the semester, visit For those who like mobile options to complement their online access, know that Canvas also has an app available wherever you usually get your apps. 

Since you will access your entire course online, please ensure you can access Canvas through a reliable internet connection multiple times a week to keep up with the discussions. Many computers are located for student use throughout the campus, most notably in the Student Union and the Golda Meir Library. For more information regarding Student Technology Resources, visit 


This course relies on student participation to function correctly. Active participation in this course means posting your response to the discussion question(s) asked, reading other posted responses, and responding to your classmates’ work to further the discussion and provide additional resources related to the topic under discussion. 

Online Learning Environment 

Learning online will be a vastly unique experience for some of you. Do not expect an online class to be a less complicated form of taking a class. There is just as much work, if not more, since you must be independent and log on to participate several times a week. If there is anything I can do to ensure you get the most out of this experience, please let me know. 

Online courses take a lot of time and effort. I will log on to our Canvas course site several times weekly to monitor discussions and progress. Much of my time online will be in the morning. If you need to communicate with me privately, please email me directly ( or through Canvas, and I will respond as quickly as possible. I am typically available over the weekend, so please reach out as needed if you would like to arrange a virtual meeting via Zoom. 

Group Forums 

There will be three Group Forums throughout the course. Students will be assigned into groups that will remain for the semester. Each group will designate a Group Leader (I suggest rotating this responsibility with each Group Forum, but it is not required). The instructor will assign a topic for each group to discuss utilizing their group chat. The more effort you exert to read and interact with the postings, the more meaningful and dynamic the learning experience will be. The goal is to collaborate and learn from each other. After the group has agreed on their discussion, the Group Leader must assess and summarize the discussion into a final discussion post. 

Assignments will be posted on Sunday of the week. Completed discussion assessments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on the Saturday of that week. No additional responses to other group submissions are required. 

Failure to complete your required postings within this time limit will result in losing discussion points, which go toward your “Active Online Participation” grade. Students may receive half credit for responses posted up to one week late. You will receive no credit for responses posted beyond that time. 

Peer Reviews 

Students must conduct a Peer Review of each submitted written assignment. After each paper’s submission deadline, each student must read and provide anonymous commentary on another student’s submitted paper. Canvas will automatically, arbitrarily, and anonymously make these assignments. You must complete the Peer Review by midnight on the Saturday of the following week. Please remember to be courteous in your replies to your classmates. 

Please refer to the Canvas Help Section for additional instructions on properly submitting a Peer Review. (

Written Papers 

Students must submit eight written assignments throughout the semester. These will include: 

  • Diversity of Nonprofits and Revenue Paper 
  • Six Case Study Short Papers 
  • Final Paper 

The Schedule of Classes, Required Readings & Assignments, and Appendix A provide more information about each assignment. Students are encouraged to use the UWM (UW Milwaukee) Writing Center (

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