University of Pennsylvania

Introduction to Nonprofit Law

Taught in English


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

John M. Bradley

Instructor: John M. Bradley

Intermediate level

Recommended experience

13 hours to complete
3 weeks at 4 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

Details to know

Shareable certificate

Add to your LinkedIn profile


4 quizzes

See how employees at top companies are mastering in-demand skills


Earn a career certificate

Add this credential to your LinkedIn profile, resume, or CV

Share it on social media and in your performance review


There are 4 modules in this course

Welcome to this introductory course on the laws that shape and govern the nonprofit sector in America! In this first module, we will look at the history and development of the nonprofit sector in the United States. We'll see the influence of early theories of charitable work as well as the evolving relationship between nonprofit organizations and the government.

What's included

8 videos3 readings1 quiz1 discussion prompt

This module will introduce the different entity choices available to the nonprofit sector and the various considerations that go into choosing a corporate form. In particular, we examine how the primary purpose and fundraising strategy can influence the particular form chosen. Finally, we look at the different obligations to state and federal governments that nonprofit entities must fulfill to maintain their exempt status.

What's included

7 videos4 readings1 quiz

This module examines the operational challenges that are particular to the nonprofit form. What legal obligations must a nonprofit fulfill when bringing in revenue? Under what circumstances may exempt organizations participate in lobbying or political activity? Finally, we will study the seemingly simple issue of distinguishing between employees and volunteers in the nonprofit setting.

What's included

11 videos8 readings1 quiz

In this final module, we address accountability - who is charged with ensuring that organizations that have been formed as nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations abide by their expected and legal purposes and activities?

What's included

9 videos6 readings1 quiz


John M. Bradley
University of Pennsylvania
1 Course824 learners

Offered by

Recommended if you're interested in Business Essentials

Why people choose Coursera for their career

Felipe M.
Learner since 2018
"To be able to take courses at my own pace and rhythm has been an amazing experience. I can learn whenever it fits my schedule and mood."
Jennifer J.
Learner since 2020
"I directly applied the concepts and skills I learned from my courses to an exciting new project at work."
Larry W.
Learner since 2021
"When I need courses on topics that my university doesn't offer, Coursera is one of the best places to go."
Chaitanya A.
"Learning isn't just about being better at your job: it's so much more than that. Coursera allows me to learn without limits."

New to Business Essentials? Start here.


Open new doors with Coursera Plus

Unlimited access to 7,000+ world-class courses, hands-on projects, and job-ready certificate programs - all included in your subscription

Advance your career with an online degree

Earn a degree from world-class universities - 100% online

Join over 3,400 global companies that choose Coursera for Business

Upskill your employees to excel in the digital economy

Frequently asked questions