CAS Operational Philanthropy 2022

Efficiently operating a philanthropic organization is becoming increasingly difficult due to globalization, rapid changes to the institutional partners, and the breadth of factors that are mobilized by a philanthropic intervention.



January 2022 - August 2022
18 ECTS credits
176 Teaching hours
80 Distance teaching hours
256 hours of teaching, 534 hours of personal work, including final work




Blended learning


Giuseppe UGAZIO, Danièle CASTLE, Laetitia GILL


Uni Mail


Contact coordinator
Modules can be followed individually


CAS: CHF 7'500.-

Single module: CHF 2000.- (2 ECTS credits) / CHF 3000.- (3 ECTS credits)

Early bird: 10% discount


  • Understand philanthropy from a systemic perspective
  • Become equipped to master the complex, multifaceted context of contemporary Swiss and international philanthropy
  • Learn about the principles, best practices and key strategic elements to set up and run a structured and professional philanthropic organization


The programme is designed for mid-level professionals involved in philanthropy in Swiss-based philanthropic organisations, corporate philanthropy and family offices, as well as those interested in pursuing a career in philanthropic organisations

Learning outcomes

At the end of the programme participants will be able to:

  • Understand and master the knowledge of conceptual philanthropy frameworks as well as differences between private and corporate philanthropy
  • Use strategic and operational tools within their own professional philanthropic fields and evaluate their results
  • Understand operational imperatives of philanthropy to successfully put them into practice with particular attention to the SDGs
  • Develop a philanthropic strategy in line with their organisation’s mission and general objectives
  • Know how to operationalise a strategy from the selection and contracting of projects, through monitoring to the evaluation results
  • Develop skills needed to successfully develop partnerships, with both the public and private sector as well as the essentials of fundraising and fund management
  • Understand both funding and funder sides of philanthropy


  • Module 7: Human-centric resources structures and processes for philanthropic performance
  • Module 8: Philanthropic Financial Management and Accountability
  • Module 9: Interacting with regional philanthropic realities 
  • Module 10: Partnership Development and fund management 
  • Module 11: Effective Communication and Negotiation
  • Module 12:Trends in Philanthropy: SDGs, Innovation, Systems Change, Technology, and your Role in the Future of Philanthropy



Prof. Giuseppe UGAZIO, Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM) and Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI), Laetitia GILL, Geneva Centre for Philanthropy (GCP), University of Geneva, Danièle CASTLE, Genevensis Communications


Ilane KNEUBUEHLER, University of Geneva


Genevensis Communications
CAS/DAS Philanthropy 2021
The philanthropic sector is evolving rapidly in an increasingly complex world. This interdisciplinary course merges traditional approaches to philanthropy with unconventional perspectives. You will acquire state-of-the-art knowledge, models and best practices to successfully achieve your goals.


3000 CHF


Vindou Duc, The Next Step


As many Swiss foundations are small, and often friends and family are co-opted, this module provides the know-how to structure the organisation to assess required skills, develop a staff growth plan and put into place policies, that are coherent with the overall philanthropic vision and mission and strategy. This module will examine human resources management, needs assessment, running volunteer teams, multi-country staff and multicultural settings in respect with the values and culture of the institution. Ensuring that learning and development is happening at all levels of the organization. It will examine Swiss staffing laws and practices and draw general guidelines for international staff and give the tools to develop and enhance the team leadership and performance. It will also address motivating and maintain volunteers.


2000 CHF


Karina Vartanova, world council of churches


This module will cover basic financial management principles as well as how to create budgets, monitor and control spending, creating financial statements and GAAP compliance. It will include information on the structure of the financial planning and management of the foundation, depending on the structure of a foundation (is it a foundation managed into perpetuity or one that is in spend-down?), on how finances are managed and invested (In-house, with asset managers or as part of holdings in a company?), and on the region of activity of the organization (does it operate nationally, cross-border, both?). It will also deliver the means to estimate the sustainability and level of agreement between the mission of a foundation and its investments.


3000 CHF


Gul Rukh Rahman, ERFIP


Philanthropy is frequently operating internationally interacting with very diverse geographies, cultures, societies, and traditions. These are often very different from the backgrounds of organizations board members, project managers, and decision makers. To successfully and ethically develop projects across borders and cultures, philanthropic organizations need to build solid relations with local entities, such as grass root movements or local NGOs. In this module we focus on strategies to involve and listen to these local entities in the project planning of organization and analyses to anticipate potential unintended consequences. This module further looks at the current debate on the legitimacy of philanthropy, which results by well-intended but poorly planned cross-border philanthropic initiatives. We will also learn how to plan and develop advocacy strategies to engage with local governments and NGOs (including potentially illegal organizations) tailoring these to local traditions and customs, discussing the limitations of a one-size fits all advocacy.


3000 CHF


Armelle Armstrong, Human Rights Watch


In an increasingly connected world, partnerships and collaborations are essential to garnering sustainable contributions. This module will focus on donor grantee relationships, moving away from money-centered fundraising towards a new model of fundraising, collaborative and transformational, leading to sustainable financing. The goal is to position the fundraising professionals as leaders who facilitate the philanthropic process and make change possible. It will cover practical topics, such as the sourcing of philanthropic partners, principles for online and offline fundraising and resources needed to raise funds. It will also explore how to create, develop and nurture long-term relationships that facilitate impact. The module will provide a solid grounding in fundraising principles and practice and enable the participants to design their own exhilarating fundraising strategy.


3000 CHF


Melissa Davies, Olivier Soret


In a world where organisations compete for attention, communications fulfil vital roles in raising awareness of issues and solutions, attracting staff and volunteers, and donors. Understanding how to target specific audiences and craft meaningful messaging and campaigns are a key part of having visibility and reach. This is particularly relevant for organizations whose current projects are frequently international and involve different cultures, geo-political landscapes and religions. In these scenarios is where the legitimacy of philanthropy and of its effectiveness is most likely to be questioned. This module delivers key insights for achieving effective communication, considering, among others, audience segmentation, messaging, and storytelling. Here we focus on effective communications both online and off-line. Finally, this module discusses how to leverage diversity and cross-cultural settings looking at techniques for conflict resolution and strategies for negotiations with other stakeholders to build successful partnerships.


2000 CHF


Silvia Bastante de Unverhau, Chief Philanthropy Officer, co-impact


This module introduces the SDGs and discuses key trends in philanthropy, looking at the role of philanthropic organizations in funding innovation, systems change and leveraging technology (e.g., artificial intelligence). It also covers emerging trends in philanthropy (e.g. growth, activism, collaboration, new models, diversity inclusion) and how philanthropy is practiced differently around the world. The module will help you understand the motivation and drivers of philanthropists and foundations and develop your own role influencing the future of philanthropy.

Module supported by the Julius Baer Foundation.


Depending on the module, different evaluation methods will be used from analyses of case-studies, writing of reports, and more traditional multiple-choice exams.
To complete the DAS participants will have to complete a final project.

Pedagogical method

Hybrid : In-person and online/distance learning

Admission criteria

A minimum of three years professional experience is required, a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and English proficiency.

Participants without responsibilities in philanthropy may be admitted on the basis of other comparable and relevant experiences:

  • Family office philanthropy managers
  • Managers in philanthropic giving organisations
  • Managers in organisation who receive philanthropic giving
  • Project managers
  • Operational and strategic foundation managers
  • Social entrepreneurs
  • People desirous to enter the field of philanthropy
  • Wealth managers interested in integrating philanthropic instruments to their (sustainable) investments portfolios (e.g. blended finance)

Steering committee

  • Professor Giuseppe Ugazio, Edmond de Rothschild Foundations Chaired Assistant Professor in Behavioral Philanthropy; Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM) / Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI)
  • Laetitia Gill, Executive Director, Geneva Centre for Philanthropy (GCP)
  • Danièle Castle, Founder,Genevensis Communications

Scientific committee

  • Helen Alderson, Head of Regional Delegation to the UK and Ireland International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • Cheryl Chang, Chief of Staff, Oak Foundation
  • Alexandre Epalle, General Director of Economic Development, Research, and Innovation of the Republic and Canton of Geneva
  • Aline Freiburghaus, Director Romandie at SwissFoundations
  • Thierry Renaud, Director, Impact and Sustainability, MAVA Foundation
  • Isabella Ries-Bowman, Partnership Manager,World Economic Forum (WEF)

Number of participants

Max. 25 participants

Detailed fees

14000 CHF for the DAS, 7500 for each CAS, 2000 CHF for 2 ECTS modules and 3000 CHF for 3 ECTS modules. 10% early bird discount before March 31 2021


Fridays and Saturdays 09:00 to 17:00 and online

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