CAS Operational Philanthropy 2024

Achieving a better future through philanthropy

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.

Watch the recording of the Conference "The Role of Empathy in Philanthropy" by Dr Anita Nowak on October 16, 2023
Have a look at our news roundup >>> 
Watch our videos >>>



January 2024 - May 2024
15 ECTS credits
88 Teaching hours
40 Distance teaching hours
128 hours of teaching, 534 hours of personal work, 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

31 July 2023
Modules can be followed individually


CAS: CHF 7,500.-
Single module: 3,000.-

Early bird: 15% 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 program is designed for mid-level professionals involved in national and international philanthropic organizations, corporate philanthropy, single and multi-family offices, as well as those interested in pursuing a career in philanthropic organizations

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 organization’s mission and general objectives
  • Know how to operationalize 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


  • 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



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


Christelle GERMANN, 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


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.

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

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 7,500.- for the 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 09:00 to 17:00 and online

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

Testimonial Gaël Soucasse - Participant DAS in Philanthropy 2023
Testimonial Yasmine Studer - Participant DAS in Philanthropy 2023