DAS Strategic and Operational Philanthropy 2023

Achieving a better future through philanthropy


Event "The role of empathy in philanthropy"
Monday, Oct. 16, 6:30 pm
Université de Genève, Uni Mail, Room MR060
Free of charge; registration is mandatory


The world is in turmoil, but philanthropy can help to address global challenges. By contributing to increased professionalisation in the sector through an international and interdisciplinary approach. Our executive education programmes provide critical thinking and insights into where philanthropy is heading.

Have a look at our news roundup >>> 
Watch our videos >>>



September 2023 - June 2024
34 ECTS credits
176 Teaching hours
80 Distance teaching hours
256 hours of teaching, 534 hours of personal work, 100 hours for final project. The number of hours of in-class and/or online teaching may vary




Blended learning


Giuseppe UGAZIO, Danièle CASTLE, Laetitia GILL


Uni Mail


Early bird deadline

31 May 2023

Registration deadline

19 August 2023
Modules can be followed individually


DAS: CHF 14,000.-
Individual module: CHF 3,000.-

Early bird: 15% discount


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


The programme is designed for mid-level professionals involved in national and international philanthropic organisations, corporate philanthropy, single and multi-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 conceptual philanthropy frameworks along with novel financial instruments with special consideration of the U.N. SDG agenda 2030 and ESG metrics
  • Develop an effective theory of change using state-of-the-art tools to implement, monitor, and evaluate the financial and social impact of a philanthropic endeavour
  • Design a philanthropic strategy in line with an organisation’s mission, legal and tax parameters, general goals, and specific objectives
  • Master new cutting-edge approaches to philanthropy, including emerging digital technologies
  • Become an inclusive leader who successfully harnesses the potential of staff and volunteers, develops partnerships with public and private actors; and understands both the funder and funding sides of philanthropy


DAS: 10 modules

Modules 1-5: CAS Strategic philanthropy

  • Module 1: Introduction to philanthropy and new financial instruments
  • Module 2: Exploring the diversity and strategies of philanthropic foundations
  • Module 3: Legal structuring of philanthropic projects
  • Module 4: Selecting, managing and negotiating philanthropic projects
  • Module 5: Theory of change and impact measurement


Modules 6-10: CAS Operational philanthropy

  • Module 6: Inclusive leadership, Board management and HR
  • Module 7: Philanthropic financial management and accountability
  • Module 8: Regional philanthropic realities, building alliances and joining local networks
  • Module 9: Communication and resource mobilisation 
  • Module 10: Trends in philanthropy

Final project


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 and Danièle CASTLE, Genevensis Communications


Christelle GERMANN, University of Geneva


Genevensis Communications
CAS/DAS Philanthropy
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, a versatile set of skills and best
practices to successfully achieve your goals. The curriculum prepares you for management positions in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector.


3000 CHF


Prof. Giuseppe UGAZIO, Assistant Professor, Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI), University of Geneva


This module provides participants of different professional, educational, and cultural backgrounds with a common analytical and conceptual framework for philanthropy. It further introduces a definition of public good in relation to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), examines relevant ethical perspectives for philanthropy, and highlights some of the psychological drivers of philanthropic action. This preparatory work allows to clearly distinguish social investment and philanthropy and to grasp the need to professionalise the philanthropic sector to promote collaborations between different actors. To this end, we examine the opportunities and challenges for philanthropic organisations to partner with grassroots movements, and public and private investors through different schemes, such as social impact bonds, or impact investing. In this module, we also introduce concrete examples of how digital transformation and other technological advances contribute to the effectiveness of philanthropic engagement.


3000 CHF


Karin JESTIN, Philanthropic & Humanitarian Initiatives (PHI)


This module invites participants to investigate the diversity of grant-making foundations (family-led foundations, institutional foundations, corporate giving programmes, regranting entities, umbrella foundations, etc.). It will showcase how to translate motivations and societal aspirations into coherent philanthropic initiatives and question what may limit a foundation’s latitude to operate strategically. It will further explore different approaches to creating value and review recent trends and developments in the practice of philanthropy, such as investing in organisational development, adopting grantee-led approaches, working through funders' collaboratives, and the need for evidence-based interventions.


3000 CHF


Prof. Giulia NERI CASTRACANE, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva


According to the purpose of the philanthropic organisation and the country in which it is based, legal possibilities for structure and tax aspects can vary. This module considers available Swiss, European and international  philanthropic legal structures, and will focus on those structures available under Swiss law. These range from traditional single purpose forms (foundations and associations) to hybrid (profit/non-profit) models. Innovative solutions to advance philanthropy, such as public-private partnerships (PPPs) and impact bonds will also be presented. Tax, governance and financial-related restrictions and/or requirements are also addressed. Finally, the module also covers the Swiss Data Protection Act and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


3000 CHF


Danièle CASTLE, Genevensis Communications and Nathalie MARTENS JACQUET, CEO, Make a Wish Switzerland


A rigorous selection of projects in line with the vision and strategy of the organisation is the best way to ensure efficiency and to maintain donors’ trust. This module therefore looks at a strategic and structured assessment of benefits, risks, collateral efforts and key success factors of each project. We examine how to manage philanthropic projects effectively in terms of resource allocations, coordination, impact and relationship with the donors. It will include best practices in working with grantees, the expectations of grant-givers and how they select the projects to be supported. The module also proposes a win-win model of how to negotiate successfully, within a project, with multiple stakeholders, or elsewhere.


3000 CHF


Marta ARRANZ, Senior Adviser, Monitoring and Evaluation Management, Oak Foundation


How can philanthropic foundations and investors know if they are both having the impact they hope for and investing strategically? How can they collect evidence, learn and adapt, and communicate effectively about their impact
to others? Developing a strategy and understanding how to measure its effectiveness is a requirement in today’s philanthropic activity. In this highly practical module, participants will learn how organisations can evaluate their impact, learn from experience and use evidence and insights to inform their decisions. This module introduces participants to planning, learning and evaluation in philanthropic strategies and initiatives. Participants will learn about different evaluation approaches and how to select the most appropriate ones depending on the context, purposes, and available resources. They will also use planning tools and frameworks such as results frameworks, theory of  change and theory of philanthropy and will be introduced to the concept and tools of emergent learning. They will understand the importance of strategic learning and how it can increase the organisation’s effectiveness and  programme quality.


3000 CHF


Laetitia GILL, Geneva Centre for Philanthropy (GCP) and Vindou DUC, The Nextep


To face current and future global challenges, the philanthropy sector needs strong and inclusive leadership as well as skilled teams of employees and volunteers. How can diversity be a major driver of innovation and success for
more social and sustainable justice? This module provides the know-how on inclusive leadership and diversity, on how philanthropic boards and staff can interact most effectively, ensuring the wellbeing of their teams and by extension those of their beneficiaries. It examines human resource management, needs assessment in line with the mission of the organisation, running volunteer teams, multi-country staff and multicultural settings, to ensure
that learning and development is happening at all levels. It also addresses how to motivate and retain volunteers. Finally, this module explores how to integrate ethics and what ethics means for a philanthropic leader.


3000 CHF


Guido BOLLIGER, Managing Director and Partner, Asteria


This module tackles the challenge for non-profit foundation executives to strike a balance between creating public value and managing the bottom line. It is designed to help foundation executives understand the tools, techniques and concepts of good financial management and investments. Guided by experts in finance and accounting, participants will develop analytical skills for understanding their financial position more fully, their audited financial statements and learn to identify threats to the financial sustainability of their organization. They will also learn  how the effective use of budgeting and cash-flow planning can enhance their ability of creating value. Finally, based on the financial assessment of their organization, they will learn how to optimally structure their financial investment portfolio.


3000 CHF


Gul RUKH RAHMAN, Director, Empowering Families for Innovative Philanthropy (ERFIP) Foundation


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


3000 CHF


Armelle ARMSTRONG, Managing Director, Development and Global Initiatives, Europe/APAC, Human Rights Watch


Partnerships are essential to garnering funds and in-kind contributions, including time, expertise, and personal networks. The spirit of this module is to move away from money-centred fundraising and to focus on collaborative and transformational donor-grantee relationships leading to sustainable financing. It will cover the proven fundamentals of private fundraising, including building donor loyalty through state-of-the-art donor journeys; sourcing philanthropic partners; fundraising resources; motivations for giving; offline fundraising models; digital fundraising. It will explore other funding models, such as public-private partnerships, as well as fundraising innovations that can help non-profit organisations raise funds in new ways and reach new, diverse audiences. Today organisations compete for attention and communication plays a vital role in raising awareness, attracting staff and volunteers, as well as donors. Understanding how to target specific audiences online and offline and craft meaningful messaging and campaigns are a key part of having visibility and reach. This is particularly relevant for organisations whose current projects are frequently international and involve different cultures, geo-political landscapes and religions. This module delivers key insights for achieving effective communications, considering, among others, audience segmentation, messaging.


3000 CHF


Silvia BASTANTE DE UNVERHAU, Senior Advisor, Co-Impact, and Senior Fellow of the Center for Banking and Finance of the University of Zurich


This module focuses on equipping participants with an understanding of the latest and emerging trends in philanthropy. It covers the role of philanthropic organisations in funding scale and systems change, and discusses trust-based philanthropy, collaborative philanthropy, and justice, diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy among other trends. It also examines the role of technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) with respect to the practice of philanthropy. This module will help participants understand the key trends and proactively consider how they can have an impact on their organisations.


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

  • Blended learning, 10 modules - 3 days each, online and in person (2 days)
  • Interactive experience-based learning embedding theoretical and practical knowledge
  • On-site visits of key institutions
  • Online learning consisting of a combination of short pre-recorded videos and interactive webinars
  • Guided personal research work developing critical thinking skills
  • Learning from leading international academics and professional experts
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.

Admission criteria

A minimum of three years professional experience is required, a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent. English proficiency is also required. No prior responsibilities in philanthropy required.

The course is particularly suitable for:

  • 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, Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM)/Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI)
  • Laetitia GILL, Geneva Centre for Philanthropy (GCP)
  • Danièle CASTLE, Genevensis Communications

Scientific committee

  • Helen ALDERSON, Advisory Board Member, the Global Thinkers Forum
  • Cheryl CHANG, Chief of Staff, Oak Foundation
  • Alexandre EPALLE, General Director of Economic Development, Research, and Innovation of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, represented by Catherine Zimmermman, Scientific officer
  • Aline FREIBURGHAUS, Co-director, SwissFoundations
  • Thierry RENAUD, Deputy Secretary General - Head of the Animals and Ecosystems Unit, Hans Wilsdorf Foundation
  • Isabella RIES-BOWMANN, Head of Foundations, The Ocean Cleanup
  • Stefan SCHOEBI, Director, Stiftung Schweiz

Application File

  • Copy of identity document or passport 
  • Passport photo (.jpg format) 
  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Cover letter 
  • Letter of recommendation 
  • Copy of the highest educational qualification obtained 
  • Copy of work certificate(s) 
  • Proof of English language level 

Number of participants

Max. 25 participants

Detailed fees

  • CHF 14,000.- for the DAS
  • CHF 7,500.- for each CAS
  • CHF 3,000.- for a single module
  • 15% early bird discount before May 31 2023

Cancellation Policy

Any withdrawal before the start of the programme will incur an administration fee of CHF 400.-. Fees will be payable in full once the course has begun.


Fridays and Saturdays 08:30 to 17:30


For participants from out of town, UNIGE has a negotiated reduction at the Starling Arve, (on the basis of rooms for CHF 180.- instead of CHF 210.- per night for the DAS 2021-2022).

UNIGE professors, lecturers and researchers; professionals in the practice of philanthropy from Switzerland and abroad

"The DAS in Strategic and Operational Philanthropy is an immersion into the third sector, taught by top-tier lecturers with international exposure and expertise. The DAS is an excellent way to broaden your knowledge within your current field or to change careers. I personally enjoyed the journey and would recommend it to any professional up for the challenge!"
Adrian G.

"Following the Operational Philanthropy CAS in Geneva has given me access to course material and presentations from hands-on specialists providing in-depth and very tangible analysis of contemporary Philanthropy. This exhaustive curriculum coupled with the rich exchanges from the professionally diverse student body is for me the perfect match. I definitely recommend this to anyone wanting real-life Philanthropy exposure and training."
Ilham S.

"The DAS programme has enabled me to leverage my banking background with my strong involvement in social organisations. How exciting to better understand opportunities, challenges and the evolution of philanthropy while developing a network of professionals who want to make a lasting impact!"
Marie-Luce C.

"Philanthropy is evolving and it changes the way we work for the public good: more strategic, more inclusive, more collaborative. Whilst I have more than 20 years experience in this sector, the DAS not only allows me to  understand and master the fast-changing world of philanthropy and social innovation, it also strengthens my skills in management, evaluation or planning."
Vincent B.

Learn the trends, the practices and the interactions
Take my career in the next level
Testimonial Yasmine Studer
Testimonial Gaël Soucasse