Organizational and Nonprofit Management Degree

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What is Nonprofit Management?

Nonprofit management is the area of management that deals with non-profit corporations and organizations, including but not limited to public organizations, schools, foundations and non-governmental organizations. Individuals in this field will utilize multiple fields of discipline in order to manage the administrative, financial, or human resources related areas of a given organization. An understanding of the laws that govern the formation of operation of such entities is required in order to successful operate.  According to the BLS, the nonprofit sector accounts for over 10% of the overall workforce in the United States translating to some 12 million jobs.

Top Nonprofit Management Degrees

Students interested in pursuing a degree in nonprofit management will have several options to choose from.  Programs span from certificate programs to graduate degree.  Additionally, prospective students can choose from classroom-based programs to online degrees in nonprofit management.  To help students make sense of each type of degree, we have summarized each below with a seamless opportunity to connect to schools of interest.

Certificates in Nonprofit Management

Certificate programs in nonprofit management can come in two forms: undergraduate and graduate.  The undergraduate certificate program is designed to provide students with essential principles of nonprofit businesses and management skills.  From introductory business concepts to organizational development, students will learn about foundational skills of nonprofit organizations.  On the other hand, graduate certificate programs are upper-level courses for qualifying students and working professionals.  Graduate certificates are often utilized to help upskill, add new skills, remain competitive in a field of study, and/or prepare for a job transition.

Bachelor Degrees in Nonprofit Management

Online bachelor degree programs in nonprofit management are 4-year programs for full-time students and longer for part-time students.  Degrees are conferred as a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) dependent upon the emphasis of the program.  Bachelor programs fuse liberal arts education such as communications, history, philosophy, psychology, and creative writing with core business classes.  Core courses in nonprofit management include classes such as marketing, management, economics, governance, financial management, accounting, logistics, fundraising, operations management, and organizational design.

Master Degrees in Nonprofit Management

Online master degrees in nonprofit management can be conferred as a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), or Master of Business Administration (MBA).  Master degrees will take approximately 2-years to complete for full-time students and longer for part-time students.  Core classes in a graduate-level program will vary from school to school.  However, most programs will generally cover topics found in the following classes: program management, financial management, governance, managerial economics, statistics, managerial finance, operations management, human resources, marketing management, strategic management, ethics, global management, conflict management, business research analysis, and performance management.

Graduates from a master’s program in nonprofit management will have the skills to join a variety of organizations.  Companies can include those from education, arts and culture, social assistance, health services, environmental protection, and economic development.  Job roles will vary by organization but common careers include: program administration, fundraising, management, grantmaking, public relations, communications, government relations, community outreach, advocacy, and operations management.

Educational Requirements for Managers

An education in the field is generally pursued at the bachelor degree level, though alternative management or business courses may be taken in lieu of such a program if it unavailable at a given school. Some school's may offer associate level degrees, though most employers will tend look more favorably upon candidates who have at least four years of education in the area as well as volunteer or internship experience.

A curriculum may include:

  • Non-profit Accounting and Reporting
  • Management of Limited Resources
  • Fundraising and Taxation
  • Business and Non-Profit Law
  • Non-Profit Corporate Structures

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Employment Opportunities in Nonprofit Management

Individuals will seek employment with non-profit, non-governmental or governmental agencies. Individuals must be well versed in the daily operations of their employer, as well as be able to track finances, costs and other factors that may adversely affect continued operations. As such, an attention to detail, good interpersonal skills, the ability to work long hours, as well as mete out responsibility as needed to encourage efficiency and cost reduction is required in order to be able to find and maintain employment in this area. Organization may also require individuals to manage the intake of funds through donations or other means if funding is procured in such a manner.

Job Growth, Salary and Related Managerial Fields

The non-profit sector has grown significantly over the last twenty years, and is expected to continue seeing such growth as the role of such organization nationally and internationally continues to affect policy and introduce new ideas. As such, individuals should be able to find work, though those with master degrees in the field or higher will tend to experience less competition and better results due to limited positions overall. The annual salary for such managers is over $100,000 annually but may vary greatly based on success, experience, employer and location.

Individuals interested in non-profit, public, organizational management may also be interested in business administration, operations management, or customer service management.  For additional research, consider the NCN and the SFN to learn more about the not-for-profit world of business and benefits they provide to their members.

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Career Summary: Organizational and nonprofit management Major




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