Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment


This unique course reflects the increasing interest in effective and transparent social funding in both the charitable trust and public sectors. The first course of its kind in the UK and Europe, it was developed in response to the demands of leading funding agencies. The scope of the course is all types of social investment where the emphasis is on social benefit rather than financial return. The course examines the giving of grants and other forms of investment such as loans, endowments, contracts, social bonds and impact investing.

The course is aimed not only at those already working in some aspect of social funding but also those who want to find out more about the world of philanthropy and social investment, including those making a career shift. Though the course inevitably takes the majority of its examples from the UK it is designed to be international in scope and what you learn is transferable to any culture or jurisdiction.

What sets the Cass Grantmaking, Philantthropy and Social Investment course apart is that it is:

  • Practical: The Cass programmes in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment are the only courses in the world that give you a complete `toolkit’ for the construction of social investment programmes.
  • Future-facing: The course stays up-to-date with the rapidly changing world of philanthropy and social investment ensuring immediate applicability. It is revised annually and both the external and internal experts change to ensure we address both current and anticipated changes in the sector.
  • Both academic and applied: The course is a high-level academic qualification from one the world’s leading business schools and as such treats the subject as being embedded in wider finance and management studies.
  • A rich learning environment: Course lecturers are among the leading experts in their fields both nationally and internationally and the course has been awarded a teaching prize for excellence. The diversity of out student cohort ensures a rich and stimulating learning environment.

Course structure and content

Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert)

The Postgraduate Certificate is offered on a part time basis and is taught over a period of six months. The Certificate consists of five modules: Introduction to Learning Principles and Practices of Grantmaking, Management of Grantmaking and Shadowing/Fieldwork.

All courses are taught at Cass Business School and will require attendance one weekend a month commencing on the Friday afternoon at 13:00 to 21:00 and finishing on Saturday at 18:00.

Additional times of attendance will be required:

  • On the Induction Day
  • For Action Learning Set meetings (usually alternate months on the Friday morning of the teaching weekend)
  • The Principles and Practice module exam.

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)

The Postgraduate Diploma is offered on a part time basis and is taught over a period of 12 months. The Diploma consists of four core modules, plus three specialist pathway modules. The core modules are shared by all five Centre for Charity Effectiveness postgraduate courses.

All courses are taught at Cass Business School and will require attendance one weekend a month commencing on the Friday afternoon at 13:00 to 21:00 and finishing on Saturday at 18:00.

Additional times of attendance will be required:

  • On the Induction Day
  • For Action Learning Set meetings (usually alternate months on the Friday morning of the teaching weekend)
  • The Resource Management, and Principles and Practices module exams.

Term dates

October 2017 Intake - PGDip


06 October 2017

Learning and Understanding the Voluntary Sector

06 - 07 October 2017

Strategy, Diversity and Governance

10 - 11 November 2017
08 - 09 December 2017

Marketing & Fundraising

12 - 13 January 2018

Resource Management

09 - 10 February 2018
09- 10 March 2018
06 - 07 April 2018

Exam * 04 May 2018

Principles and Practices of Grantmaking

18 - 19 May 2018
08 June 2018

Exam*  06 July 2018

Management of Grantmaking

09 June 2018
13 - 14 July 2018

Fieldwork exercise

Process to be completed by early August 2018

Course Review Day

07 September 2018

April 2018 Intake - PgCert

Induction/Learning and Understanding the Voluntary Sector

13 - 14 April 2018

Principles and Practices of Grantmaking

18 - 19 May 2018
08 June 2018

Exam*  06 July 2018

Management of Grantmaking

09 June 2018
13 - 14 July 2018

Fieldwork Exercise

to be completed by early August 2018

Course Review Day

07 September 2018

* all other modules are assessed by coursework

Module Outlines

Learning and Understanding the Voluntary Sector

This module represents the starting point for you and the opportunity to learn about the process of learning and establishing plans for learning on the programme.  The vital 'Learning Contract' is developed on this module, and forms the basis of the learning throughout the Masters programme.

It also offers a perspective on leading public/voluntary sector debates within an historical context, alongside a more enduring understanding of scholarly approaches to the understanding of developments and changes in the relationship between government and the voluntary sector.

Resource Management

This module aims to enables the student to:
  • Provide students with an understanding of the principles of resource management within the specialist context of charities
  • Definitions and the legal framework of charities and voluntary organisations
  • The role of the Charity Commission
  • Sources of finance for the charity sector
  • Introduction to general accounting principles
  • Charity accounts and regulatory framework
  • Understanding, interpreting and analysing charity accounting statements
  • Costing and budgeting in voluntary organisations
  • Risk assessment
  • Outsourcing
  • Appraising, appointing and dismissing auditors and other resource consultants and experts
  • IT Strategic appraisal and implementation
  • The nature of Human Resource Management
  • Human resource and personnel issues including training and development, reward and retention and effective selection and recruitment

Marketing and Fundraising

This module aims to enables the student to:

  • To provide students with the concepts, underpinning knowledge, skills and techniques to plan and develop marketing and operations systems
  • Enable students to analyse marketing needs, evaluate marketing plans, in the context of applying marketing concepts to their own organisation
  • Effective Marketing Information Systems
  • Development of a marketing strategy
  • Product/Service policy and new product development
  • Role of communications
  • Branding
  • Pricing as a value-added marketing tool
  • Capacity planning - resources planning and allocation
  • Total Quality Management
  • Stakeholder/Customer care

Strategy, Diversity and Governance

This module aims to enables the student to:

  • To develop a broad knowledge and conceptual base in the field of strategy development, diversity and governance
  • Introduce practical tools to help improve the quality of an organisation's strategic response to the changing environment
  • Introduce practical tools to help improve the ability of the organisation and its managers and leaders to build a diverse workforce
  • Enhance appreciation of the constraints and opportunities offered by the changing governance and service-delivery frameworks which affect voluntary organisations
  • Improving an organisation's strategic response by use of strategy and diversity management and theory
  • Approaches to developing strategy
  • Approaches to managing diversity
  • The changing environment of the voluntary sector
  • Case studies on the application of strategic planning and diversity

Fieldwork Exercise

This module aims to enables the student to

  • Develop a different perspective on the role and environment at senior management level in a different organisation
  • Consider the ethical and environmental issues faced by a senior manager
  • Look at optional and compulsory roles when overseeing an organisation
  • Provide an opportunity to study at close hand the way change is managed in another organisation
  • Provide the opportunity to apply theory in practice


  • Negotiate the approach to the fieldwork exercise with appropriate colleagues (approval to be sought from the module leader)
  • 4-5 days gaining an insight into the organisation’s role  and working practices
  • Use all the theories and models learnt on the programme in preparation of a report containing analysis and reflection.

Principles of Grantmaking

This module aims to enables the student to

  • Develop a clear understanding of principles of funding and how these are applied in different institutions in a UK context: public and quasi-public authorities, independent charitable trusts and foundations


  • The settings and context of funding
  • The development of different types of funding institutions, with their income sources, legal structures and governance
  • The different styles and purposes of funding, and alternatives to it
  • The key elements and dilemmas of funding: innovation/replication, outputs/outcomes, the funding cycle, evaluations, risk-taking, public/donor expectations
  • The module provides the underpinning for the fieldwork exercise report
  • Foundation for the Grantmaking Management module

Management of Grantmaking

This module aims to enables the student to

  • Facilitate and enhance understanding of the importance of the management of funding, in all its aspects, in a variety of funding organisations
  • Explore and critique alternative models and methods of funding
  • Strategic and policy choices for funders
  • Planning funding administration
  • Promotion and publicity
  • Processing
  • Assessment and decision-making
  • Fund management and monitoring
  • Evaluation and strategic planning

MSc Conversion

Upon successful completion of the diploma, you will be given the option to continue to the MSc. This requires completion of the Research Methods for Managers module.

This can be followed by a further six months of personal, supervised research and the presentation of a 15,000-word dissertation.
Alternatively, you can opt to take a taught Masters which allows you to choose specialist modules from one of the other Charities programmes.

Our course professionals

Dr Peter Grant is one of the UK’s leading practitioners in public and charitable funding. After working in the arts, he was Director of an inner-city youth charity for eight years. On the commencement of the National Lottery he moved to Sport England where he devised the first Lottery programme to favour areas of deprivation and was one of the architects of Awards for All. As Director of Operations at the New Opportunities Fund between 1999 and 2005, he developed and delivered over £4.5 billion of funding programmes. Peter then devised the world’s first full masters-level programme in grantmaking and philanthropy at Cass Business School. He has published widely on philanthropy, CSR, and history (notably the period of the First World War). His definitive book ‘The Business of Giving: The theory and practice of philanthropy, grantmaking and social investment’ was published in 2011. Peter has also written the definitive study of charity during the Great War, ‘Philanthropy and Voluntary Action in the First World War’ which was published in 2014. His latest book is ‘National Myth and the First World War in Popular Music’ came out in 2016.

Guest lecturers on the Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment have included: Dr Beth Breeze, Director, Centre for Philanthropy, University of Kent; David Cutler, Director, Baring Foundation;  George Gosling, Teaching fellow in Modern History, King’s College London (with particular interest in the relationship between business and charity);  Margo Horsley, Chief Executive Fixers; Gerald Oppenheim, Head of Policy, Fundraising Regulator;  Elisabeth Paulson,  Investment Director, Impetus Private Equity Foundation;  Sarah Ridley, Chief Executive, London Marathon Trust;  Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement, Charity Commission; Jane Steele, Head of Impact and Evaluation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation; Paul Streets, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation.


All students are highly motivated graduate Level people who bring a wide range of professional competencies, skills and experience from a wide range of backgrounds.

Typically, we ask for

  • a good first degree, normally a 2.1 Honours degree from a British university or an equivalent qualification from a leading overseas institution
  • and three or more years relevant experience at a senior level. In exceptional cases we will accept those without a degree, provided they have significant and relevant work experience.

Overseas students are welcome to apply to these courses, but need to be aware that they cannot be sponsored for Tier 4 visas due to the part-time modular delivery of the course. In order to participate fully in the collaborative learning process all students who have not previously studied in English must sit an IELTS exam.

Past students have come from a variety of organisations, and their feedback has been very positive:

"Completing the MSc in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment enabled me to make a step change in my career.  I had been a Director at my charity for a number of years and so had a solid foundation from which to develop but the course gave me the extra edge and helped me to secure my first CEO position in 2015. The course content is really engaging and the range of speakers is excellent, I would not hesitate to recommend the programme to others."

Caroline Taylor, CEO Essex Community Foundation

"It was a fascinating experience to have core modules shared across the different disciplines highlighting all aspects of civil society, non-profit organisation management, and the role of funding within the sector. The in-depth grantmaking, philanthropy and social investment modules provided theory and range of practices in my own field of expertise, and helped me to reflect on the way we work in our own organisation and how to become more strategic and impactful in what we do."

Bruno Spriet, Grant Manager

“ I found the PGCert course a very good opportunity to debate and research the issues, trends and practices at this time in the social sector whether driven by legislation, funding or a wish to innovate. The course especially gave thorough instruction across the field of social sector work, especially grant making.”

Cathy Elliot, Chief Executive, Community Foundations for Lancashire and Merseyside

“I started at CASS with the Postgraduate Certificate in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment, and I then continued on to complete the Post-Graduate Diploma. The course was invaluable to me in terms of: practical assignments applicable to my own working environment; access to a wide range of knowledge and teaching and; most importantly, a fantastic and diverse network of colleagues with whom I am still in touch today. I believe I would not have had the confidence to advise my Company on our Strategic Review, which has been a vital part of our modernisation, had it not been for the resources and knowledge gleaned from the course. “

Ciorsdan Brown, Grants Officer, The Goldsmiths’ Company

"The course has been hugely useful to me, both for the excellent content provided, but also as an introduction to a diverse set of participants from all across the sector. As someone who had not had prior direct experience of grantmaking, the provision of a solid academic grounding combined with practical experience has been invaluable."

Chris Llewellyn, Director CriSeren Foundation

Course fees and expenses

Course fees

The course fees for all five courses within the Charities Programme are payable at the start of the academic year. The fee for the Postgraduate Diploma is £6,000. A deposit of £400 is payable on acceptance of a place. For self-paying students, the balance is payable in two instalments, the first during the registration process in September and the second at the end of January. For those converting the Diploma to MSc a further £3,500 is payable in one instalment at the beginning of the second year.

Students on the Postgraduate Diploma who are sponsored by their employer will need to complete a sponsorship form as part of the application process. An invoice for the full fees will be sent to the employer in October. If the employer is a charity, they can request payment in two instalments by contacting the person named on the invoice. This arrangement allows the charity to spread the fees across two financial years..

For Postgraduate Certificate: £3,000. A deposit of £400 is payable on acceptance of a place and the balance is payable on registration.

Other funding opportunities for Masters students

We recommend that you have a back-up source of funding in the event that you are not successful for any Cass scholarships. The below links might be useful as alternative sources of funding, and your home government might also provide scholarships for study abroad.

Salary Sacrifice Scheme

Please note that self-funded students are able to gain substantial savings on the cost of course fees if they participate in a 'Salary Sacrifice Scheme' with their employer. Students who set up a salary sacrifice scheme with their employer will also need to submit a sponsorship form as part of their application process.

Following the Autumn 2016 Statement, it appears that training fees may no longer be permitted to be set up after 06 April 2017. We are seeking clarification on this, but you may wish to consider the PG Government Loan (UK students) which was introduced in 2016 (see section above for information).

Course expenses

The weekend modules will incur additional accommodation and subsistence expenses for those participants living outside London.

Application deadline

There is no application deadline for this course. However, we advise you to apply well in advance, as competition for places is high and applications are considered on a continuous basis.