CAS Operational Philanthropy 2023

Achieving a better future through philanthropy

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January 2023 - June 2023
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

30 September 2022

Registration deadline

31 October 2022
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 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 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


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


Vindou DUC, The Nextep


Philanthropic organisations often have limited human resources and need to rely on volunteers and co-optation (e.g. of friends and family members). This module provides the know-how to assess required skills, develop a staff growth plan, and put into place policies that are coherent with the overall philanthropic vision and mission. This module examines human resource management, needs assessment, running volunteer teams, multi-country staff and multicultural settings, to ensure that learning and development is happening at all levels of the organisation. It discusses Swiss and international staffing laws and practices and draws general guidelines for international staff. It also addresses how to motivate and retain volunteers.


2000 CHF


Guido BOLLIGER, Managing Director and Partner, Asteria


This module covers basic financial management principles as well as how to create budgets, monitor and control spending, creating financial statements and General Accounting Accepted Principles (GAAP) compliance. It includes information on the structure of financial planning and management of a foundation, depending on: 1) its structure, for example is it a foundation managed into perpetuity or one that is in spend-down? 2) how finances are managed and invested: for example, in-house, with asset managers or as part of holdings in a company? And 3) on the region of activity of the organisation: does it operate nationally, cross-border, both, etc.?. It delivers the means to estimate the sustainability and level of agreement between the mission of a foundation and its investments. Finally, this module examines the impact of cryptocurrencies on current financial practices.


2000 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 decisionmakers. To successfully and ethically develop projects 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


In an increasingly connected world, partnerships, networks and collaborations are essential to garnering funds and in-kind contributions. This module focuses on donor-grantee relationships and understanding grantees' needs. It covers principles for online (crowdsourcing, etc.) and offline (door-to-door, campaigning, legacy, etc.) fundraising. It will explore how to complement for-profit activities to raise funds for non-profit operations and how to integrate new business models within non-profits. This module examines different collaborations, partnership and network models that facilitate impact. It also looks at new and innovative models to build sustainable partnerships, both in kind and financial, between private, and public private partnerships (PPPs), to further philanthropic action.


3000 CHF


Danièle CASTLE, Managing Director, Genevensis Communications


Today organisations compete for attention andcommunication 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. It is in such scenarios that the legitimacy of philanthropy and its effectiveness is most likely to be questioned. This module delivers key insights for achieving effective communications, considering, among others, audience segmentation, messaging, and storytelling. It will focus on effective communication both online and offline. 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, Senior Advisor, Co-Impact, and Senior Fellow of the Center for Banking and Finance of the University of Zurich


This module covers the role of philanthropic organisations in funding the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), innovation, scaling and systems change, and examines the role of technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI). It equips participants with an understanding of the latest trends in philanthropy (including growth, activism, collaboration, diversity and inclusion, and accountability debates). The module will help participants understand the motivation and drivers of philanthropists and foundations and develop their own point of view and role in influencing the future of philanthropy.


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 (online and in class): a combination of in-class lectures, supervised group activities, flipped classroom exercises, and other interactive learning activities
  • Online learning consisting of a combination of short pre-recorded videos and interactive webinars
  • Interactive experience-based learning embedding theoretical and practical knowledge
  • Personal work and research
  • On-site visits of key institutions
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.

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 of the Global Thinkers Forum
  • Cheryl CHANG, Chief of Staff,  Oak Foundation Geneva
  • 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, Philanthropy Adviser

Number of participants

Max. 25 participants

Detailed fees

CHF 14000.- for the DAS, CHF 7500.- for each CAS, CHF 2000.- for 2 ECTS modules and CHF 3000.- for 3 ECTS modules. 10% early bird discount before March 31 2022


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