„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


8th February 2022

We are excited to launch our newly designed high education programme in the format of an Executive Professional Master on Management for Civil Society Organisations.


The program is organized in partnership with ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon (Portugal), ISCTE-Executive Education and YMCA George Williams College (UK). 

The University

The ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon was founded in 1972 as one of Portugal’s first modern universities, with the central aim of studying labour and social dynamics in a rapidly changing world.

Since its establishment, the university has expanded its disciplinary reach into four schools:

  • ISCTE Business School,
  • the School of Sociology and Public Policy,
  • the School of Technology and Architecture, and
  • the School of Social Sciences and Humanities.

More information is available here and here

ISCTE means Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa (in English, Higher Institute of Business and Labour Sciences),[1] but its full name was dropped in 2009 when it became a university institute of foundational nature. ISCTE-Executive Education means one of the autonomous Institutes of the University. 


YMCA George Williams College is the only specialist college in the UK with 43 years of delivering excellence in youth work training. They value the development of the whole person – mind, body and spirit and offer introductory, further education, undergraduate and post-graduate programmes. Their degree programmes are offered in partnership with Coventry University. More information here.

The Bologna Process

The Bologna Process is a series of ministerial meetings and agreements between European countries that ensures comparability in the standards and quality of higher-education qualifications. The process has created the European Higher Education Area under the Lisbon Recognition Convention. More information is available here.

Post Graduation Diploma of the ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon is recognised by the Bologna process.

The Diploma

Our Executive Professional Master on Management for Civil Society Organisations will offer a double certification:

  1. Post-Graduation Diploma “Management of Civil Society Organisations” issued by ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon
  2. Executive Professional Master Certificate “Management of Civil Society Organisations” issued by ISCTE-Executive Education

No credits option available for this program.

Duration & Format
  • September 2022 - September 2023
  • Starting Date: 26 September 2022

Onsite face-to-face sessions - compulsory/must attend held at ISCTE Lisbon.

3 onsite meetings over 5 days (Monday 2.30 pm - Friday 01.00 pm). Each session will take place the second week of September 2022, January 2023 and September 2023. 3 sessions x 28 hours each = 84 hours in total 

Online sessions

  • Online lectures:  Midday or evening sessions. Near 7 hours per month x 7 months = 49 hours in total
  • Online tutorial sessions where students will be supported by their tutor (individually or in very small groups of 2-4 participants) to discuss the various concepts presented during the lectures and onsite work, and the development and implementation of their practical assignment and presentations. Near 8 hours 

Total study time: 

  • Minimum 141 hours for each participant of sessions online and offline
  • Plus Time for Practical Assignments 

Practical Assignment

  • Diagnostics and organisation
  • Design of an organisational development project
  • Implementation of the organisational development project
  • Evaluation of the impact of the project in a multi-criteria dimensions

aula 1

Key Modules
  • Civil society organisations. Values. Identity. YMCA.
  • European Social Agenda. Social Inclusion. Sustainable Development Goals. 
  • Management of CSOs. Human resources. Leadership. Internal culture of CSOs.
  • Organisational Diagnostics. Impact. 
  • Financial Management and Fundraising. Social Entrepreneurship. 
  • Project Development. Logframe matrix. 
  • Social Marketing. 
  • Partnership Development. Networking. Intercultural dialogue. 

Practical assignments:

  • Diagnostics of an organisation
  • Designing an organisational development project
  • Implementation of the organisational development project
  • Evaluation of the impact of the project in a multi-criteria dimensions

Evaluation and Examination

The qualitative implementation of the practical assignments within the given time frames will be the main way of examination. 

The Programme is delivered by the qualified professors of the ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon & ISCTE-Executive Education department. For the sessions on YMCA identity, leaders of YMCA can be involved. 

Detailed curriculum is below.

The Programme Suits
  • Senior or mid level Staff of CSOs.
  • Volunteers and Staff of YMCA, YWCA and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
  • Those who want to build their career in the civil society sector.
  • Those who seek how to professionalise their approach in voluntary organisations.
  • Those who want systematic knowledge in the area of CSOs.
Advantages of YMCA Europe Executive Professional Master
  • The course will be delivered in English
  • 80% online delivery with mentoring support
  • 3 onsite study weeks throughout the year’s program
  • Part-time and comfortable schedule (you can continue working)
  • Official post graduation diploma recognised by the Bologna process, issued by ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon
  • Plus Executive Professional Master Certificate issued by ISCTE-Executive Education
  • Participant-centered; practically oriented, using “learning by doing” approach
  • Clear focus on CSOs management (not general management)
  • Clear price pack


Admission Criteria
  • Master Degree, Undergraduate Degree*
  • English language, level B1 minimum 
  • Active involvement in work of civil society organisation(s) for at least three last years (proved by letter of support from the CSO)

*The scientific coordination of the course can admit candidates without any university degree but with a relevant experience in this field

Cost: 4,970 euro (two installments are possible) 


  • Lectures from the professors of the ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon and experienced YMCA leaders
  • Digital educational materials
  • Access to the University facilities including the library during the onsite sessions
  • Support of tutors throughout the program in fulfilling the practical assignments 
  • Lunch, morning and afternoon tea provided every day (5 x 3 = 15) of the onsite sessions in Lisbon 

Not included:

  • Travel and visa costs
  • Accommodation for onsite sessions in Lisbon (3) Cost effective recommendations will be provided.
  • Printing of educational materials 
  • Breakfasts and dinners during the 3 onsite educational sessions in Lisbon
  • Any other related costs to your education

We recommend you apply for co-funding through the civil society organisations you represent, which is accessible here.
We would also like to bring to your attention the National programmes supporting young people receiving higher education.

Application and Admission Process

Application process opens 01 February 2022 and closes 15 September 2022.

You must first apply to YMCA Europe for initial approval.  The Application Form is available here

Once you have been approved by YMCA Europe, you will receive a link from ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon to finish the registration process and collect any remaining necessary documentation.

Required documentation:

  • Scan of Bachelor’s degree diploma (and translation to English if other language is used);
  • Motivational letter, explaining how you are going to implement gained knowledge (one page, Times New Roman, 12);
  • Support/reference letter from the civil society organisation/employer (e.g YMCA) who will be supporting your application and education/study (one page), indicating that they support your attendance at the three x 5-day offline meetings (September 2022, January 2023, September 2023;
  • CV;
  • Prove of the level of English. 
Payment Process

As soon as you are accepted to the programme, we will send you practical information about the payment.

Diploma Criteria

To successfully pass this qualification you must: 

  • Attend at least 80% of all online classes and tutorial sessions;
  • Attend 100% of onsite weeks in Lisbon;
  • Fulfill 100% of the requirements and expectations associated with the practical assignments;
  • Full payment of the course fees within the given timeframe. 



Key Objectives

At the end of this course the participants will be able to:

  • Diagnose an organisation;
  • Design an organisational development project;
  • Implement an organisational development project;
  • Evaluate the ongoing  impact of the project in multi-criteria dimensions.

Philosophy And Methodology

  • Boosting individual competences in the context of organisational change and development.
  • Innovating through the intervention and reflection on the added value and the impact of our action.
  • Implementing projects, Intervene in the organisational change and development of a learning organisation.
  • Learning by doing.
  • Research-action.
  • Simultaneously improve individual and organisational capabilities  by performing projects and innovating the way of doing things. 
  • Learning from the evaluation and reflection about previous and ongoing experience: individual and organisational learning as a joint process. 

Guiding Principles

  • The improvement of the effectiveness of CSOs requires the adoption of a generalised (individuals, organisations, communities) learning mindset and related practices.
  • The promotion of the effectiveness of CSOs can be best achieved by managing the identity of these organisations (central, enduring, and distinctive features).
  • This requires the development of the leadership identity as a source and a consequence of the development of the organisational identity.

MODULE ONE: Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Concepts and Contexts.

  • Young People. Europe and the Future. 
  • YMCA Missions, Values, Strategies
  • Leadership and Management in CSO 
  • Leadership and Identity in Hybrid Organisations
  • Paradoxes in organisations 
  • European Social Agenda, Social inclusion and Social Politics for young People
  • Social Inclusion
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Migrants and Refugees

MODULE TWO: Organisational Diagnostics 

  • Integrated Organisational Diagnostic: Mission, Values, Vision, Structure, People, Leadership, Organisational Culture and Change
  • Organisational Culture and Change
  • Objectives and Target Groups
  • Identity and learning Organisations
  • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Impact evaluation

MODULE THREE: Organisational Development Project Design

  • Presentation and discussion of the diagnosis made by the participants.
  • The project design: Innovative and Learning Organisations
  • Project Overview. Logical Framework and MSProjects
  • Social Impact Assessment
  • Social Marketing. Concepts and Methodology
  • Social entrepreneurship, and sustainable social business
  • Fundraising and financial management
  • Leadership and team building
  • Intercultural dialogue

MODULE FOUR: Presentation and Discussion of the Projects

  • Presentation of the rationale of the project (relevance and coherence), methodology, results and learnings outcomes. 
  • Impact evaluation. 
  • Collective discussion. 
  • Proposals for some eventual reformulations
  • Future development


For more information, feel free to contact us at info[at]ymcaeurope.com

Follow-up images

1,384,671 €

Funds received up to October 31th in response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Check here the YMCA response and projects across Europe.

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