Course Description

Partnerships within the social impact sector are in the midst of a rapid evolution. Despite the increasing sophistication of partnership development models and methods that work to drive social impact, the process is still essentially human. The Certificate in Social Impact Partnership Design teaches current and prospective partnership professionals of all levels how to apply human centered design thinking, powered by empathy, to create partnerships that drive more societal impact. This program includes three required modules, spread over three days.

Course Outline

Module and Day 1: The Evolution of Partnership Development for Social Impact

Partnerships between people have been the backbone of society, particularly when it comes to creating social impact. What may have started with a handshake, based on personal integrity and looking your partner in the eye, is now grounded in the concept of creating shared value. Within that human context, today’s class will take students through the evolution of partnership development from the early 1980’s to current day. Starting with the first cause marketing partnership—a term coined by American Express to describe its transaction-based approach to raising funds to restore the Statue of Liberty—to the more complex concept of creating modern day shared value through partnerships and sophisticated collaboration.  

Module and Day 2: Exploring the Integration of Social Impact Partnerships and Design Thinking

Design thinking no longer is solely the domain of design schools or professional designers. This approach has been adapted to take on many challenges from product design and services to innovation and branding. Students will focus on learning how design thinking has been (and can be) applied to social impact issues and causes to tackle challenges that require creativity and breakthrough thinking. This is only possible when diverse points-of-view are gathered at the same table. Then, the focus shifts to an introduction of a signature approach to social impact partnership design for the remainder of the day. Students will practice this approach through real-time scenarios as they begin to master the process with confidence. At day’s end, students will be assigned to design team challenges and given pre-work including the development of a partnership problem statement.  

Module and Day 3: Applying Partnership Design Challenges

Students will apply previous lessons through their social impact partnership design team challenge. Working as a strategic design team, they will apply an accelerated version of the process in order to practice how to put it into action while working with diverse stakeholders. Students will also have the opportunity to report back to the class and receive valuable feedback. 

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the Certificate in Social Impact Partnership Design, students will be able to:

1. Distinguish the characteristics and differences of various partnership models used within the social impact sector and when each should be employed.

2. Understand the fundamental principles of design thinking while gaining insights into how to utilize them for social impact partnership work.

3. Apply a signature approach to partnership development based upon design thinking to the work of social impact.

4. Create a social impact partnership strategy for your own organization now and into the future.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in
Live Online
Apr 17, 2024 to Apr 19, 2024
Contact Hours
Course Tuition
Tuition non-credit $2,995.00
Section Notes
  • Social Impact Partnerships (live online | 9:30am-4pm) -  October 18, 19, 20
  • Social Impact Partnerships (live online | 9:30am-4pm) -  November 15, 16, 17


Welcome to Live Online!

Using the Live Online platform, Georgetown faculty deliver real-time online exceptional educational experiences based on a human-centered approach that integrates the needs of professional learners and the possibilities of technology.

Live online classes are small to support highly interactive engaged learning and collaboration, deliver the same learning objectives as classroom courses, and count towards the completion of a Georgetown certificate.

You will experience:

  • live lectures, discussions, activities, and the dynamic exploration of topics and concepts
  • the immediacy of live connections with the instructor and your peers to challenge and encourage innovative thinking and the meaningful exploration of ideas
  • scheduled lectures, discussions, and presentations with a comparable level of interaction as classroom attendance
  • networking and the creation of social connections with other professional learners in a global classroom


Required fields are indicated by .