Spring 2006 - Dr. Mitzi Mahoney



Office: AB1 319C Phone: 936-294-1464 E-mail: pol_mlm@shsu.edu

Office Hours: Huntsville – Tuesdays, Thursdays 9:00-11:00am, 2:00-3:00pm

  The University Center – Tuesdays, Thursdays 5:00-6:00pm

  By appointment on Mondays and Wednesdays


Course Description : The nonprofit sector of society is referred to as the “third sector”, with government and business as the first two sectors. In this course we describe and analyze the role of the “third sector” and its impact on society. In the first section of the course, we discuss the history and evolution of the nonprofit sector and describe its characteristics. We will also discuss the philosophical foundations of the nonprofit sector. In the second section of the course we will discuss the role of nonprofit organizations in political systems. This includes a discussion of their role as agenda setters, formulators, and implementers of public policy. In the third section of the course we will address issues of nonprofit organization and management.


Course Readings :


Salamon, Lester. AMERICA 'S NONPROFIT SECTOR: A PRIMER, 2 nd edition. The Foundation Center , 1999.


Berry, Jeffrey. A VOICE FOR NONPROFITS. Washington , D.C. The Brookings Institution, 2003.




Readings posted on Blackboard.



Course Assignments :


  Exams: The exam format requires students to answer 5 take home essay questions during the course of the semester. Students will be given some choice of questions to answer. I will post exam questions periodically. Each question will have a due date. After the date you will not be allowed to answer that question. You must answer 1 question from the last set of questions posted. These last two will be due on the day of finals. You must answer a total of 5. Each is worth 10% of the grade.


  Projects: Students must complete two of the four projects listed below. Each constitutes 25% of the final grade. I need to approve your selections. As you complete the assignments you may turn them in. The final due date for completing the assignments is December 5 th .


Volunteering: You may volunteer for a nonprofit organization. You must fulfill the following requirements:

•  Secure a volunteer opportunity no later than September 19 th . I must approve of the placement.

•  Complete the volunteer contract and return by October 3rd.

•  Volunteer a minimum of 20 hours by December 5th.

•  Keep a log of time worked and responsibilities performed

•  Keep a journal about your volunteer experience.

•  Send a thank you note to the nonprofit organization for the opportunity to work with them.

7. Get your intern supervisor to fill out an evaluation form for you.


Training : Complete a training program with a nonprofit organization. You must fulfill the following requirements:

•  The training must require a minimum of 15 hours to complete.

•  I must approve of the training you select.

•  You must provide proof that you successfully completed the training program.

•  Keep a log of the time you spend in training and a description of the work required of you.

•  Keep a journal about your training experience.


Examples of appropriate training programs include the Red Cross training program, Child Advocates training program, Boys/Girls Club training program, a volunteer management training program, fundraising or grant writing instructional programs, a leadership training program, nonprofit financial management training, governing board training, media relations for nonprofits training, and advocate certification programs. These are just a few suggestions. I will post training opportunities on the website as I find them.


Policy Research Project : The policy research project requires that you conduct research about a government policy that impacts nonprofit organizations. The paper requires the following:

•  Select a policy that directly or indirectly affects the functioning of nonprofit organizations. I must approve the topic.

•  In the paper you should describe how the issue got on the government's agenda, how the policy was developed and formulated, the provisions of the policy, how it was implemented, and its impact.

•  The paper should be 10 pages, double spaced, 1 inch margins. It should be properly documented using the MLA style manual.


Examples of topics include the impact of Bush's Faith Based Initiatives, whether welfare reform policies have increased demands on food pantries, government funding for nonprofits after 9/11, how changes in the tax code affect nonprofits, and a comparison of nonprofits vs. government agencies as service deliverers.


Politics Research Project : The politics research project requires you to conduct research on the political activities of nonprofit organizations. The paper requires the following:


•  Select one or more nonprofit organizations with a political agenda. I must approve of your selection.

•  In the paper you should describe the political values, goals, and strategies of nonprofit organizations. You will analyze the extent to which the nonprofit organization is successful in achieving its political goals.

•  The paper should be 10 pages, double spaced, 1 inch margins. It should be properly documented using the MLA style manual.


Examples include MADD's legislative agenda and its lobbying tactics, how nonprofit organizations use the Internet to mobilize at the grassroots level, the media strategies of nonprofits, nonprofits alliance formation or coalition building strategies, nonprofits' use of the litigation strategy, nonprofits and electioneering, and nonprofits in budget politics.


Course Evaluation :


    Five Exam Questions     each worth 10%   50%

    Two Projects:       each worth 25%   50%


Classroom Policies :


Attendance: After three unexcused absences, I reserve the right to deduct one point from the final grade for each additional unexcused absence.


Religious Holy Days Policy: A student may be excused from class in order to observe a religious holy day if the student presents the faculty with a written statement regarding the religious holy day. The request should be made in the first 15 days of the semester.


Academic Honesty Policy: Students are expected to engage in all academic pursuits in a manner that is above reproach and to maintain complete honesty and integrity in the academic experiences. Academic dishonesty includes cheating on exams or other academic work, plagiarism, collusion and the abuse of resource materials. Any student found cheating on exams or plagiarizing another's work will be given an F for the course.