Economics of non-profit organisations

Economics of non-profit organisations

  • Study programme and level:The joint doctoral study programme Governance and Economics in the Public Sector (third cycle)
  • 2nd year
  • 5 ECTS
  • Course type: Elective course
  • Lectures: 20
  • Seminar: 20
  • Other forms of study: 20
  • Individual work: 90
  • Lecturer: Stanka Setnikar Cankar, PhD

1. Objectives and competences


  • identifies and break downs socio-economic roles of non-profit organisations,
  • devises the specificalities of functioning and decision-making processes in third sector organisations,
  • appraises the alternative techniques of fund-raising in non-profit organisations,
  • applies and interpretes the advanced tools of managerial economics with the purpose of decision-making in non-profit organisations.


  • to understand the importance and trends in non-profit sector functioning in order to promote individual initiatives in professional work,
  • to place in the context tools and techniques of non-profit managerial economics as necessary foundation to perform research work in the field,
  • to criticaly evaluate problems in non-profit goods and services delivery in order to reflect practice,
  • to marry theory and practice in preparation and implementation of strategic and operational decisions with the purpose of new knowledge development,
  • to place in the context alternative mechanisms of non-profit fund-raising.

2. Content (Syllabus outline)

  • Definition, nature and functions of the non-profit (third) sector in the context of three-sector economy
  • Trends in development of non-profit sector
  • Contemporary theories of non-profit sector activities
  • Functioning of the non-profit sector
  • Concept of non-profit economy
  • Foundation, goals, autonomy and isomorphism of non-profit organisations
  • Financing and commercialisation of non-profit organisations and activities; economics of grants
  • Managerial economics in non-profit organisations
  • Risk management in non-profit organisations
  • Non-profit organisations and non-market environment; regulatory framework of non-profit activity

3.  Readings

  • Pestoff, V. in Brandsen, T.: Co-production: The Third Sector and Delivery of Public Services. Routledge, 2009. 136 str.
  • Jegers, M.: Managerial Economics of Non-profit Organizations. Abingdon: Routledge, 2008. Poglavja 1–7 (90 str.).
  • Gunn, C.: Third-Sector Development. Cornell University, 2004. Poglavja 1–3 in 11–12 (80 str.)
  • Ott, J.S. (ur.): The Nature of the Nonprofit Sector. Boulder: Westview Press, 2001. Poglavja 13–14 in 30–35 (85 str.).

4. Intended learning outcomes

Student understands problems and trends that contemporary non-profit organisations face and is equiped with abilities to perform the research in the field of non-profit economics; is able to identify and resolve practical problems of non-profit organisations in order to promote socio-economic advancement of those organisations; is able to analyse professional and scientific questions as well as to produce new ideas in the field of non-profit economy and third sector economics at the end of period of learning.

5. Learning and teaching methods

  • Lectures and seminars in class room; individual study and research work of students.
  • Lectures – contemporary topics in theory and practice of economics and functioning of non-profit organisations.
  • Seminars – students present topics and results of applied research work.
  • Other – preparation of basic or applied research paper dealing with relevant and contemporary topic/problem in non-profit economics.
  • Individual study for the exam.

6. Assessment

Research paper preparation and presentation - 50%
Written and/or oral exam - 50%