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


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.

What you will learn

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.

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.

Weeks 3: Start Gathering Data

Welcome to Week 3! The goal of this week is to start the process of gathering and monitoring data .

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.

What’s included