201 Student Resources Project Design for Nonprofit Organizations

This OL 201 Student Resource Page has three sections that can easily be reached by clicking on the red links just below.

  1. Download Documents. This is where you can download Word, Excel and PDF documents that can save as course resources for future projects and use as templates for the assignments.
  2. The Course Website. Webpage versions of the discussions and assignments for each week.
  3. Read this first: The Class Home Page. This gives you an overview of the course and also sets up the course logistics.

Links on this OL 201 Student Resource Page:

Download Documents Discussions & Assignments Class Home Page

Download 201 Course Documents

OL 201 Project Design for Nonprofit Organizations

General Documents

E-Mail and Homework Etiquette

Assignment One

Field Guide 10.1. How to Do a Participatory Needs Assessment – Workshop Lesson Plan & Illustrations. This is from the book and was written for a small international community. Think Uganda! Use your imagination, visualize Nebraska, make a few minor adjustments, and the lesson plan works perfectly in North America.

Chapter One. Community Needs Assessments and Project Outline. This is Assignment 1.

OL 201 Assignment One Homework Instructions PDF 35K

Magee Example Project OL 201 Assignment 1 Word Document 35K

OL 201 Assignment 1 Discussion PDF 35K

Resources and Discussions on Needs Assessments PDF 35K

Assignment Two

OL 201 Assignment Two Homework Instructions Word Document 35K

Magee Example Project OL 201 Assignment 2 Word Document 35K

OL 201 Assignment 2 Discussion Word Document 35K

Assignment Three

OL 201 Assignment Three Homework Instructions Word Document 35K

Magee Example Project OL 201 Assignment 3 Word Document 35K

Scientific Document Example: Food Insecurity and Participation in Community Food Programs.

OL 201 Assignment 3 Discussion Word Document 35K

OL 201 Online Resources for Food Banks PDF 35K

Assignment Four

OL 201 Assignment Four Homework Instructions PDF 35K

Magee Example Project OL 201 Assignment 4 Word Document 35K

Assignment Four Family Garden Field Guide Example Word Document 35K

OL 201 Assignment 4 Discussion PDF 35K

OL 201 Assignment 4 Discussion on Sustainability PDF 35K

Assignment Five

OL 201 Assignment Five Homework Instructions PDF 35K

Field Guide Knowledge Transfer—Developing Field Guides, Lesson Plans, and Workshops PDF 35K

Magee Example Project OL 201 Assignment 5 Word Document 35K

Field Guide and Lesson Plan Example Word Document 750K

OL 201 Assignment Five How-To Card Example PDF 800k

OL 201 Assignment 5 Discussion PDF 35K

Assignment Six

OL 201 Assignment Six Homework Instructions Word Document 35K

Magee Example Project OL 201 Assignment 6 Word Document 35K

OL 201 Assignment Six Student Template to Fill In Word Document 61K

OL 201 Assignment 6 Discussion Word Document 35K

OL 201 – 2 minute Evaluation Form Word Document

Welcome to OL 201 Project Design for Nonprofit Organizations Class Home Page

The Course

Welcome to the Center for Sustainable Development’s online learning course OL 201 Designing and Funding Non Profit Projects. In this course you will build a project around community need. It is the prerequisite for a second course, OL 202, which will transform your concept into a packaged project ready to fund and launch.


The class week begins on Tuesdays; assignments need to be sent to me by the Monday 7 days later. This allows students without Internet at home to access Internet at work on Mondays in order to send their assignment in.

This first week’s Assignment will take longer that any of the assignments over the next 8 weeks. This is why I am giving you three weeks to do it. This will also give you extra time to get used to the course website, explore online resources and read introductory documents about the course.

You have signed up for a specific course within specific dates. If you are not able to complete the course within these dates, the Center allows you to take the course again for 50% of the normal course fee if you enroll in the very next scheduled course and use the very same project. Unfortunately, we can’t make exceptions.

You will land on this page—the Student Resource Page—each time you log in. It contains:
1. Links for downloading the weeks’ documents: be sure to save them for future reference.
2. Links for the background Discussion on the week’s homework assignment; in this case – OL 201 Discussion 1; read this first each week
3. Links to the week’s Assignment; in this case – OL 201 Assignment One Homework
4. Links to the Magee Example Project Assignment for each week.
5. This, the ‘Class Home page with the class rules and logistics
6. A link to the Email & Homework Etiquette page in the Download Class Documents gives the rules of the game for corresponding with us and for posting assignments. Please print it out and read it first.

Each week I will ask you to download my example project to use as an assignment template. You can contact me with questions here: Online.Learning@csd-i.org .

Important: The Email & Homework Etiquette page in the Download Class Documents gives the rules of the game for corresponding with us and for posting assignments. Please print it out and read it first.

The Class Project

This class is designed to be fun. We are each going to develop our own project – hopefully a real one. Each one of your assignments is actually a concrete element in building your project. I will comment on the development of each of your project’s assignments and have posted my own project components as examples for you to see and use for ideas.

Please use my Magee examples as templates for your project. They are formatted such that one week is the building block for the next week and therefore we need to maintain the format of the examples I provide. Download my examples and just write right over the top of what I’ve written. In this manner you will learn the system and be guided in thinking through the components of your project. This will also make it much easier for me to read through each of your assignments as each participant’s will all have the same look and feel.

I will review each one of your assignments and make suggestions. In this manner, I get to know you through our correspondence, and I become familiar with each of your projects. My suggestions are meant to keep your assignment ‘on track’. There are very specific steps that we work through and each project usually needs a bit of guidance in preparation for the next assignment. Do not move onto the next assignment until you have received my comments on the current assignment.

I invest an unusual amount of time working with each student during the first two assignments, and I’m happy to do so. This is what I do as a consultant for my clients and so by the end of the second assignment you will each have a well conceived, well designed project outline that is formatted in a specific way so as to serve as the foundation for the rest of the 8 weeks—and for moving forward into OL 202.

We will lock in on this project concept at the end of the second assignment; your project concept can’t evolve, change, grow or morph from that snapshot over the following 4 weeks.

If in week five or six you have an idea and decide that you want to make changes to your project concept, I encourage you to develop a separate, new project on the side – outside of the course. Easier yet, upon completion of OL 201 and OL 202, using the templates that you have developed, you will see how easily and quickly you will be able to modify your course project to include your new idea after the course is over.

Assignments that drift from the original concept will be returned to be restored to the Assignment Two project outline snapshot.

Please send photos of you, your project, the community you are working with – and especially your Ten Seed needs assessment (get some good close-ups) and I will post them in an upcoming newsletter. For some tips on taking good photos please look at the Newsletter: Capturing Compelling Photos from the Field.

Class Rules

1. Schedule. The work load is between 2 and 4 hours a week. You need to stay on schedule. We all need to be on the same week. If you get behind the rest of the class, you will need to take the class again in the future. We allow you to take the course again for ½ price if you join the very next class and use the same project.

2. Certificates. Course participants who successfully complete a course on time will receive a course certificate. Learn more. Your certificate will be e-mailed within 30 days of the end of your course.

Signed certificates are delivered by email in a PDF format for you to print out. We do not offer paper certificates by mail. The name on the certificate will be your first and last names as they appear on your Student Enrollment Form.

Course certificates are issued for all students from one course all at the same time—usually within one week of the end of the course. Students requesting a replacement certificate at a future date will be charged a $15.00 fee. So save and backup your certificate when you receive it.

3. Email and Homework Etiquette: the rules of the game. We have had students from 153 different countries enrolled in different courses. It is a bit complicated managing all of the incoming emails. We have developed a system that you need to incorporate in submitting homework and in corresponding with us. Please read the etiquette page now.

4. Our Online Course FAQ has answers to most other questions.

Course Syllabus

  • Week 1 Learn to navigate the course website, and download the week’s documents.
  • Week 2 & 3 Clearly identify the community that you hope to work with in the nonprofit needs assessment. Read the document on participatory needs assessments and conduct an informal assessment with a few community members to uncover a real challenge. List the needs identified and organize them into a clearly described nonprofit challenge that you are going to solve with your project design. We want this as real as possible.
  • Week 4 Develop a theory of how you plan to solve your new challenge, and research 3 solution-oriented activities that would fulfill the premise of your theory.
  • Week 5 Research one peer-reviewed paper for each of your three project activities and see if scientists have found evidence that your proposed activities have been effective in solving the challenge. Write a one paragraph summary of the papers’ findings.
  • Week 6
    1. Share your proposed project concept locally with colleagues to gain feedback and constructive criticism.
    2. Return to the community with your project concept and get their feedback and hopeful buy-in.
    3. Pick one of your evidence-based activities and write a simple one page guide on how a field staff person could implement it.
  • Week 7 Write a workshop lesson plan for introducing this activity into a community, and then make an illustrated, How-to card to give to community members.
  • Week 8
    1. Share your project with someone that you would like to sell it to: a donor, your boss, your professor, someone in the development/nonprofit world for feedback.
    2. Lay out your challenge, proposed solutions, and activities in a simple matrix (logistic framework) that I will supply. This will prepare you for the next course: OL 202 where you will transform your project into a set of management documents that can formally be presented for funding.

Now that we’ve gotten past the rules we can begin our adventure together and have a lot of fun in the process.

So what’s next? Click on the Assignment One Discussion and get started in development!

Tim Magee