Fraud in Nonprofit Organizations (Online Self-Study)

CPE Credit: 4 
Course Level: Intermediate
Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic fraud examination techniques


Nonprofit organizations not only provide essential services to the public, they also form a sizable portion of the global economy. Whether a nonprofit’s mission involves supporting community and business development, health care services, religious activities, research and educational opportunities, or a host of other services, the work often requires substantial funding and a team of directors, employees and volunteers. While the mission-above-profit aspect of these organizations might lull one into thinking that fraud is less of a problem than it is in the for-profit sector, nonprofits face many unique fraud risks. 


To help reduce the risk of fraud-related losses at nonprofits, fraud examiners need to understand the most common types of schemes perpetrated at nonprofits. This course covers schemes committed against the nonprofit by employees or insiders, those committed by external parties, as well as fraud that can be attributed to the nonprofit itself. Additionally, you will learn to identify the most effective fraud detection and prevention methods based on an organization’s particular risks. 


Key Takeaways:  

  • The steps for investigating a nonprofit organization 
  • The most common types of nonprofit schemes 
  • How nonprofits are regulated differently than other organizations 
  • What actions can cause a nonprofit to be liable for fraud 

Preview Course

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CPE Information:

You Will Learn How To: 

  • Differentiate the ways nonprofits are regulated compared to other organizations 
  • Identify fraud schemes commonly committed against nonprofits 
  • Recognize behavior by agents that could cause a nonprofit organization to be liable for fraud 
  • Ascertain what internal and public information is available for fraud examinations regarding nonprofits 
  • Recall the steps necessary for due diligence during an investigation of a nonprofit 
  • Select the fraud prevention controls that are most effective in the context of nonprofits 





Table of Contents:

  • Part I: Introduction to Fraud in Nonprofits
  • Lesson 1: The Harms and Perception of Fraud in Nonprofits
  • Lesson 2: Regulatory Frameworks of Nonprofits
  • Part II: Common Fraud Schemes Against Nonprofits
  • Lesson 3: Embezzlement and Misappropriation Schemes
  • Lesson 4: Procurement and Billing Schemes
  • Lesson 5: Corruption Schemes
  • Lesson 6: Beneficiary Schemes
  • Part III: Fraud Schemes Committed by Nonprofits
  • Lesson 7: Theft and Misuse of Assets
  • Lesson 8: Marketing and Fundraising Schemes
  • Lesson 9: Financial Statement and Accounting Schemes
  • Part IV: Investigating Nonprofit Fraud
  • Lesson 10: Sources of Information
  • Lesson 11: Analyzing Financial and Internal Records
  • Lesson 12: Due Diligence Inquiries
  • Lesson 13: Governance
  • Lesson 14: Fraud Risk Assessment
  • Lesson 15: Effective Internal Controls for Nonprofits

ACFE Online Self-Study Courses Feature:

24/7 access to courses through your Internet browser

Save time and quickly earn CPE credits with instant access, grading and printable certificate

The flexibility to start or stop a course and pick-up right where you left off

No additional shipping fees

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System Requirements:

Internet access: High-speed connection recommended

Free Adobe Flash Player

Speakers required for video sound

Online Self-Study Troubleshooting Guide:

Problem: When I attempt to access my courses from “My Online Learning,” the course never launches, or I receive an error message saying my pop-up blocker needs to be turned off.

Solution: Your web browser must be configured to allow pop-ups in order to access ACFE Self-Study courses. Your browser may prompt you to allow pop-ups, or you may have to allow them manually. You may either allow them for all sites, or allow them just for the current site.

For information on how to manage your pop-up blocker settings in a specific browser, click the link below that corresponds to the browser you are using:

Internet Explorer
Google Chrome

Also note that many toolbars, such as the Google Toolbar and Yahoo! include pop-up blockers as well. If you have one or more toolbars installed on your browser with built-in pop-up blockers, you must configure them to allow pop-ups.

Problem: When I click on a course from “My Online Learning,” I am presented with a login page, but my username and password won't allow me to log in.

Solution: You do not have to log in a second time to access your online self-study. You most likely reached the login page because you clicked the link labeled “Click Here” as shown below:

Online SS Image Absorb Error

Do not click that link; instead, allow your browser to automatically open the eLearning window on its own, which should happen after a few seconds. This will log you in automatically so that you can access your online courses.

Problem: I receive the following error when I try to load a different lesson with a course:

SS Online API Error

Solution: This occurs in Internet Explorer when trying to load a different lesson without closing the current lesson. This error can be avoided two different ways:

Always close the current lesson before going to another one. Always click the Close Window button (usually the red “X” in the upper right corner) of the current lesson before clicking on another lesson.

Use a different browser. This error seems to only occur in Internet Explorer, so using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome should resolve the issue (see below for links to download either of these browsers).

Other Troubleshooting Tips: If you encounter other errors, such as courses freezing or crashing, we recommend taking the following action:

Try a different browser. ACFE online self-study courses are designed to run on all modern web browsers, but if you encounter a problem that is not solved using one of the suggestions above, you can try using a different web browser to see if it eliminates the problem. We have most frequently seen where using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome has resolved an issue that was seen in Internet Explorer.

Mozilla Firefox can be downloaded here
Google Chrome can be downloaded here

Make sure you are running the latest version of Flash. Go to to see what version of Flash you are running, and then compare that to the table on that page to see what the latest version is for your operating system/browser combination. If you are not running the newest version, you should upgrade and see if that resolves the problem.