Last Updated: October 20, 2020
Not all businesses measure success by the bottom line. Nonprofit organizations bring a business-style approach to solving social, economic, and public problems.
An MBA in nonprofit management equips today's students with the business skills to take the helm of world-changing organizations. Nonprofit managers can help provide affordable housing, job training, or clean water. They can advocate for human rights, build innovative schools, or lead hospital systems.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the U.S. economy will add 29,800 social and community manager positions between 2019 and 2029. Fundraisers, marketers, accountants, and human resources professionals also play key roles in helping nonprofit organizations achieve their missions. An aging population and addiction treatment programs fuel the rapid growth in this industry.
Earning an MBA in nonprofit management can help kick off a rewarding career. Prospective students can learn about careers and degrees in nonprofit management using the guide below
The 10 Best Online Nonprofit Management Degrees
|1||Oklahoma State University||Stillwater, OK|
|2||University of North Dakota||Grand Forks, ND|
|3||Clarion University||Clarion, PA|
|4||Wilmington University||New Castle, DE|
|5||Western Kentucky University||Bowling Green, KY|
|6||University of California, Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA|
|7||Dakota Wesleyan University||Mitchell, SD|
|8||Bushnell University||Eugene, OR|
|9||Regent University||Virginia Beach, VA|
|10||Liberty University||Lynchburg, VA|
What Is Nonprofit Management?
Formal nonprofit organizations have existed for at least 1,000 years, beginning with almshouses that served the poor in the Middle Ages. Today's charitable enterprises operate in more sophisticated ways, but their aim remains much the same — to improve the world, communities, and the lives of people. Modern nonprofits operate across industries such as healthcare, education, the arts, and community and international development.
These organizations represent a large slice of the American economy. According to research from the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society's 2019 Nonprofit Employment Report, American nonprofits employed 12.3 million people, or 10.2% of the nation's workforce.
The nonprofit sector employs the third-most workers in the country, behind only retail and food service. The same report found that the U.S. is home to about 1.5 million nonprofit organizations.
The sector continues to grow. The BLS projects that the number of social and community service managers will increase by 17% between 2019 and 2029. During the same time period, the BLS projects the number of public relations and fundraising managers to grow by 9%. Hard economic times can lead to strong rebounds in nonprofit growth, as they reveal the critical role these organizations play.
Leaders in nonprofits may serve as executive directors, or they may head up specific initiatives such as fundraising, marketing, finance, administration, or program development. Nonprofit organizations have traditionally paid low wages, but Johns Hopkins' research suggests that the wage gap is shrinking between for-profit companies and nonprofits. Today's charities offer well-paid roles for well-trained leaders.
Why Get a Nonprofit MBA?
One of the most versatile and practical degrees available, the MBA offers learners a solid background in business along with a chance to build a powerful professional network. While some MBA concentrations can help students drive highly lucrative careers, the nonprofit specialization works to change the world through healthcare, education, art, and community development initiatives.
An MBA may provide the perfect option for young or midcareer professionals drawn to leadership careers that measure a return on life, not just investment.
- Solid Business Education: Increasingly, nonprofit organizations seek to solve societal problems with business skills. Leaders in these organizations need a solid understanding of accounting, finance, marketing, and decision theory. These components also form the core of an MBA curriculum.
- Analytical Skills Acquisition: Nonprofit leaders must address complex social problems, and they often rely on tight budgets and a thin staff to do so. This job requires top-notch analytical skills, which an MBA provides.
- Effective Leadership Training: The MBA prepares executive leaders. When paired with a nonprofit concentration, an MBA equips current students with the skills and knowledge they need to lead healthcare, education, and philanthropic agencies in the 21st century.
Ranking the Top 10 Online MBAs in Nonprofit Management, 2020
Students considering a master's in nonprofit management online face a challenging decision. Many well-regarded universities offer intriguing degrees with a variety of emphases and at different price points. Each prospective student must ask: Which school and program works best for me?
An online ranking such as the one below can provide a helpful resource and a great place to start the search. That said, prospective students should weigh all their considerations before investing in a graduate degree.
Interested in how we got our list? Read through the explanation of our methodology for determining the best nonprofit management online MBA programs in the country.
#1 Oklahoma State University — Stillwater, Oklahoma
|Oklahoma State University delivers the top online Master's of Business Administration with a focus in Nonprofit Management at the Spears School of Business. Featuring 42-credit hours of high-quality business education, this one gets the nod as the best in the country.|
The Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University features an online Master's of Business Administration with a Nonprofit Management concentration. The business school has an accurate grasp on the issues many professionals seeking higher education face and have created this program to accommodate distance learner's needs. Many online degrees, unfortunately, sacrifice the components of teamwork and connectivity as a result of the online context, and this is not the case for the Spears School of Business which strives to help build a student's network throughout the program. This 42-credit hour degree costs between $20,000 and $29,999 in total tuition fees and is classified as average in affordability. According to the U.S. News and World Report Best Business Schools Ranking, graduates from the business school report an average base salary of $58,142 after graduation, which gives great potential for a strong return on investment of education. Required courses within this program include Corporate and Business Strategy, Prescriptive Analytics, Business Intelligence Tools and Techniques, and Theory and Practice of Financial Management. U.S. News & World Report has recently recognized the business school as offering the 30th best online MBA in the nation. The Spears School of Business receives its stellar business accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Oklahoma State University was founded on Christmas Day in 1890 as Oklahoma Territorial Agricultural and Mechanical College. The college's development owes much to the Morrill Act of 1862. OSU was established 17 years before Oklahoma became a part of the Union. The first classes were held in nearby church buildings while the school's campus was under construction. Oklahoma A&M changed its name to the Oklahoma State University of Agricultural and Applied Sciences in 1957 to reflect its increasing academic scope. Today, OSU is a four-year, public institution of higher learning with a main campus in Stillwater, Oklahoma which delivers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels to the 25,295 students currently enrolled there.
Affordability Score: Average
OMBAT Ranking Score: 100.00
#2 University of North Dakota — Grand Forks, North Dakota
|An online Master's of Business Administration with a Social Entrepreneurship emphasis is offered at the University of North Dakota's College of Business and Public Administration. This very affordable 43-credit hour program is one the discerning distance learner will want to pursue.|
The College of Business and Public Administration at the University of North Dakota features an online Master's of Business Administration with a concentration in Social Entrepreneurship. This 43-credit hour program features nine credits of Social Entrepreneurship-intensive courses including Creation and Management of Social Enterprise, Political Advocacy and Social Entrepreneurship, and Seminar in Social Entrepreneurship. This degree can be completed as a 100% online program or in the classroom on UND's main campus in Grand Forks. The degree is classified as very affordable and features a total tuition range of less than $14,999. According to U.S. News & World Report, the College of Business and Public Administration has recently been recognized as offering the 36th best online MBA in the country. The business school receives its business accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Operating under the school motto of Lux et Lex "Light and Law," the University of North Dakota is a four-year public space-grant university featuring the main campus in Grand Forks, North Dakota and known as the flagship university for the state. Established in 1883, the university predates North Dakota being founded as a state by six years. UND's first building, Old Main, was where the entirety of the school functioned as it encompassed all classrooms, the library, school offices, and dorms. Home of the Fighting Hawks, the UND's athletic department consists of men's and women's varsity sports teams competing at the NCAA Division I level as members of the Big Sky Conference. Receiving its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, the University of North Dakota offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees to the 14,406 students currently enrolled there. UND features more school colors than the average university and features green, white, black, pink, gray, and orange.
Affordability Score: Very Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 83.15
#3 Clarion University — Clarion, Pennsylvania
|Clarion University's College of Business Administration and Information Sciences features an online Master's of Business Administration with a Non-profit Business focus. This affordable degree delivers a top-notch curriculum and an extreme value for the distance learner.|
The College of Business Administration and Information Sciences at Clarion University offers an online Master's of Business Administration with a specialization in Non-profit Business. Among the business school's accolades includes it being named by U.S. News & World Report as offering the 100th best online MBA in the country. This 33-credit hour program is classified as affordable with a total tuition cost between $15,000 and $19,999. The College of Business Administration and Information Sciences receives its excellent business accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Some of the core courses for this degree include Leadership and Organization, Strategic Management/Business Policy, Management Accounting, Advanced Managerial Economics, and Managerial Finance. The nine-credits of Nonprofit Business concentration courses delivered in this degree are Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations, Marketing for Nonprofits, and Nonprofit Management. While students interested in this degree should complete a graduate application and hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with a minimum of a 2.75 GPA, candidates with a 3.25 or higher GPA or those with at least five years of professional experience after the completion of their undergraduate degree may qualify for a GMAT/GRE waiver.
Home of the Golden Eagles, Clarion University receives its regional accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Clarion is a four-year, public institution of higher learning featuring a main campus in Clarion, Pennsylvania. The university is a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Wearing the official school colors of blue and gold, the men's and women's varsity sports teams at Clarion compete at the NCAA Division II level within the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The university currently offers degrees at the associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels to the 5,225 students enrolled there. Beginning as a theological school when first established in 1867, Clarion was first known as the Carrier Seminary of Western Pennsylvania.
Affordability Score: Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 82.42
#4 Wilmington University — New Castle, Delaware
|An online Master's of Business Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management is offered at Wilmington University's College of Business. This wonderful 36-credit hour program delivers an incredible value at an affordable tuition rate.|
Wilmington University features an online Master's of Business Administration with a Nonprofit Management emphasis at the College of Business. Students seeking an accelerated experience will be happy to know they can complete all program requirements in just one year. This 12-course, 36-credit hour program is backed by the business school's stellar business accreditation through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. U.S. News & World Report has recently recognized the College of Business as offering the 205th best online MBA in the nation. This 100% online program is classified as affordable with a total tuition price between $15,000 and $19,999. Required courses within this program include Seminar in Nonprofit Management, Organizational Behavior and Ethical Leadership, Managerial Accounting, Administrative Law, Quantitative Business Analysis, Global Marketing Management, and Fund Development & Fundraising in the Human Service Environment. Students interested in this degree can begin the acceptance process by completing a graduate application and submitting a $35 fee with official transcripts to the admissions office.
Receiving its regional accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Wilmington University offers associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to the 14,170 students currently enrolled there. Founded as Wilmington College in 1968, the school was rye brainchild of educator Dr. Donald Ross. With the main campus in New Castle, Delaware, Wilmington also maintains six other centers for learning throughout the state of Delaware. Home of the Wildcats, Wilmington University is a private not-for-profit university. The athletic program at the school consists of 16 varsity sports teams.
Affordability Score: Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 80.42
#5 Western Kentucky University — Bowling Green, Kentucky
|An online Master's of Business Administration with a Nonprofit Administration Graduate Certificate Program is offered at Western Kentucky University's Gordon Ford College of Business. This top-five program is a stand-out with an excellent curriculum and business accreditation through the AACSB.|
The Gordon Ford College of Business at Western Kentucky University features an online Master's of Business Administration with a Nonprofit Administration Graduate Certificate Program. This program consists of 33-credit hours and 12-credit hours of certificate-intensive coursework. Two of these courses are interchangeable with two electives resulting in a 39-credit hour degree program. Other specializations connected with this program include Business Sustainability, Communicating in Healthcare, Communicating in Organizations, Lean Six Sigma, and Organizational Leadership. Admission requirements for this MBA include a completed application form, current resume with two references included, official college transcripts, and a GMAT score from within the past five years. Students with a 3.5 GPA from an AACSB-accredited business school may waive the GMAT/GRE requirement. Courses within this program include Strategic Business Concepts & Applications, Contemporary Issues in Business, Advanced Managerial Finance, Managerial Accounting Concepts & Applications, and Information Technology & Strategy. The Gordon Ford College of Business is accredited by the AACSB and has been awarded for offering the 72nd best online MBA in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
Founded in 1906 as Western Kentucky State Normal School, today's Western Kentucky University is a four-year, public institution of higher education. Within twenty years of the school's establishment, it was granting four-year degrees and was known as a teachers college until 1948 when it became Western Kentucky State College. With a main campus situated in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the school features the official school motto of "The Spirit makes the Master Life more life." Western Kentucky University receives its regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The university currently offers associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to the student body of 20,257. Home of the Hilltoppers and Lady Hilltoppers, the school's official colors are red and white.
Affordability Score: Average
OMBAT Ranking Score: 79.03
#6 University of California, Los Angeles — Los Angeles, California
|An online Master's of Business Administration with a Social Impact focus is offered at Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. This first-rate degree features a rigorous curriculum and a higher than average ROI potential.|
The University of California, Los Angeles features an online Master's of Business Administration with a Social Impact emphasis at the Anderson School of Management. This 80-unit program consists of three-year completion time and is classified as very expensive with a total tuition range of more than $100,000. According to U.S. News and World Report's Best Business Schools Ranking, graduates from the Anderson School of Management report an average base salary of $119,964 after graduation, showing great potential for a strong return on investment of education. Besides the concentration in Social Impact, the business school also offers concentrations in Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Real Estate, an Easton Technology Leadership Program, Entertainment Management, Global Management, and Leaders in Sustainability. The school uses what they call a Flex online program to deliver this curriculum. While the bulk of coursework is completed online, there is a weekend-campus visit required once every three weeks. Students interested in this degree are encouraged to create an online application, order transcripts, and submit a GMAT/GRE score, resume, letters of recommendation, and essay questions to begin the acceptance process. Students will also take part in an on-campus interview.
With the main campus situated in Los Angeles, California, the University of California, Los Angeles was established in 1919 as Southern Branch of the University of California. The school's original intent was to train students for careers as public-school teachers in Southern California. In recent years, many Hollywood movies have used the UCLA campus as a location and the school has a vibrant film program. Famous alumni from the university include James Dean, Jim Morrison, Francis Ford Coppola, Ben Stiller, and Jack Black. Standing today as a four-year, public university offering undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to the 44,027 students currently enrolled there, UCLA is home of the Bruins who wear the colors of UCLA Blue and UCLA Gold. The university receives its regional accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.
Affordability Score: Very Expensive
OMBAT Ranking Score: 78.12
#7 Dakota Wesleyan University — Mitchell, South Dakota
|The Graduate Studies department at Dakota Wesleyan University offers an online Master's of Business Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Church Leadership. This high-quality program shines with an incredible curriculum delivered 100% online.|
Dakota Wesleyan University's Graduate Studies department offers an online Master's of Business Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Church Leadership. This MBA is moderately priced, costing students between $20,000 to $29,999 for the entirety of the master's degree. This program has recently been recognized as the 156th best online MBA in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The business school receives its exemplary business accreditation through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. Students doubling up on courses each eight-week term can complete all requirements for this degree in just one year. Part-time students are also welcomed to take longer to graduate. Courses within this 36-credit hour program include The Pathway to Stewardship, Financial Stewardship: 21st Century Resource Development and Management, Stewarding Vision: Strategy Design, Implementation and Evaluation, and Stewarding the Church: Leadership and Management. Application requirements include a completed online application, a 300-500-word personal statement of academic and professional goals, a current resume, and all official transcripts from previously attended colleges and universities.
Operating under the school motto of "Sacrifice or Service," Dakota Wesleyan University's main campus is in Mitchell, South Dakota. The school was established in 1885 and got its start in 1883 when a group of Methodists in the Dakota Territory created a charter for Dakota University. The school went through difficult times over the years especially during the Great Depression when enrollment waned, and some students paid for tuition with farm produce. Currently, this four-year, private nonprofit university oversees 908 students seeking degrees at the associate, undergraduate, and graduate levels. Home of the Tigers, DWU's sports teams compete at the NAIA level as members of the Great Plains Athletic Conference. The school receives it regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
Affordability Score: Average
OMBAT Ranking Score: 77.93
#8 Bushnell University — Eugene, Oregon
|An online MBA with a specialization in Non-profit Leadership is featured at Bushnell University's Business Department. This 36-credit hour degree has been named one of the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.|
Bushnell University's Business Department offers an online Master's of Business Administration with a focus in Non-profit Leadership. This 36-credit hour program's tuition ranges between $20,000 to $29,999, classifying it as average in comparison to the other programs in the country. According to U.S. News & World Report, this degree is the 205th best online MBA in the country. The business school receives its excellent business accreditation through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. This degree has been designed by the business school to open a professional's career options with solid business theory and current practical case studies, all delivered from a Christian context which prioritizes faith, service, and wisdom. The other specialization offered by the Business Department is Management. Students may choose to graduate in just 12 months through an accelerated program or take as long as two years as a part-time student. Flexibility and convenience are high priorities for this program as it includes six start times each year. No application fee is required for this degree. Students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 are not required to submit a statement of purpose.
Receiving its regional accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Bushnell University was established in 1895 by Eugene Claremont Sanderson, a Disciple of Christ pastor, and named Eugene Divinity School. The school was awarded its university status in 2008. Home of the Beacons, the athletic department at this private not-for-profit university supports men's and women's varsity sports teams which compete at the NAIA level as members of the Cascade Collegiate Conference. Bushnell University currently maintains a student enrollment of only 798 students seeking degrees at the associate, undergraduate, and graduate levels.
Affordability Score: Average
OMBAT Ranking Score: 77.89
#9 Regent University — Virginia Beach, Virginia
|Regent University's School of Business & Leadership offers an online Master's of Business Administration with a Not-for-Profit Management focus. Besides a remarkable curriculum, this degree delivers excellent value to the distance learner.|
The School of Business & Leadership at Regent University features an online Master's of Business Administration with a specialization in Not-for-Profit Management. This degree is presented from Judeo-Christian heritage and is designed to offer training that combines modern reasoning with solid business theory. Other concentrations attached to this online degree include Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance & Investing, Management, Healthcare Management, Human Resource Management, Innovation Management, Leadership, and Marketing. This degree is also offered as a general MBA. Students may take classes online, in the classroom, or as a hybrid experience with a combination of the two. As this degree does feature eight start times, students wanting an accelerated experience can complete all coursework in just 12 months. Courses within the program include Managing Not-for-Profit & Faith-Based Organizations, Not-for-Profit & Faith-Based Organizations Fundraising Development, Not-for-Profit Start-Up, and Foundations of Leadership: History, Theory, Application & Development. Receiving its business accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the School of Business & Leadership delivers this 42-credit hour degree with an average total tuition rate between $20,000 and $29,999. U.S. News & World Report names this degree as the 122nd best in the nation.
Home of the Royals, the athletic department of Regent University maintains men's and women's varsity sports teams competing as members of the National Christian College Athletic Association. Featuring the motto of "Christian Leadership to Change the World," Regent is a four-year, private not-for-profit university featuring the main campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Regent currently offers degrees at the associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels to the 9,488 students enrolled there. Receiving it regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, Regent's school colors are blue and green.
Affordability Score: Average
OMBAT Ranking Score: 77.16
#10 Liberty University — Lynchburg, Virginia
|The School of Business at Liberty University delivers an online Master's of Business Administration with a Non-Profit Leadership and Management emphasis. The School of Business has designed this degree to train students for successful careers in business.|
Liberty University offers an online Master's of Business Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Leadership and Management at the School of Business. This 45-credit hour degree features a total tuition range between $20,000 and $29,999 classifying it as average in affordability. According to U.S. News & World Report Liberty's program is the 136th best online MBA in the nation. Besides this degree with a focus in Non-Profit Leadership and Management, other specializations include Accounting, American Legal Studies, Finance, Criminal Justice Administration, Healthcare Management, Human Resources, International Business, International Legal Studies, Leadership, Marketing, Project Management, Public Administration, Public Relations, Strategic Management, and Supply Chain Management and Logistics. While most students take two years to complete all requirements for this degree, the business school offers students a generous 50% of transferrable credit into the program. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs grants the School of Business at Liberty its business accreditation.
Existing as a four-year private, not-for-profit university offering degrees at the associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels to the behemoth student body of 75,044 students currently enrolled there, Liberty University got its start in 1971 when the evangelical pastor and author, Jerry Falwell founded it as Lynchburg Baptist College. Jerry Falwell Jr. took over as the school's president after the passing of his father in 2007. While the bulk of the school's student body consists of distance learners, Liberty first offered correspondence courses to the public by mailing VHS tapes to students in 1985. Still a forerunner in distance learning, Liberty currently maintains over two billion dollars in assets. Operating under the motto of "Knowledge Aflame," Liberty's main campus is in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Affordability Score: Average
OMBAT Ranking Score: 77.04
What to Expect From Master's in Nonprofit Management Programs
To earn a nonprofit management MBA, students commit their time, money, and energy to a challenging academic program. A master's in nonprofit management online can take as little as 10 months, but some students choose to study over 2-3 years to better manage the balance of life, family, work, and learning.
Graduate degrees in nonprofit administration include an MBA, an MS, an MA, and a master of public administration (MPA). While each of these degrees maintains a slightly different emphasis as outlined below, they all prepare students to learn and lead in the nonprofit world. Learners in any type of nonprofit graduate program may find degrees available online, in person, in accelerated formats, and part or full time.
Nonprofit degree courses may include business or leadership basics such as operations and technology management, along with specialized courses in nonprofit administration, such as strategic fundraising. Students generally need a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA for admission. The MBA may also require three years of real-world experience and a background in business.
Nonprofit Management Degree Options
Students can pursue any of several kinds of master's programs in nonprofit management. Options include an MS in nonprofit management, an MA in nonprofit management, an MPA with a concentration in nonprofit management, and a nonprofit MBA. Some schools may refer to these programs as degrees in nonprofit administration or nonprofit development.
The MS and MA degrees generally follow similar curricula. The difference lies in emphasis. The MS looks more at data, management, and finance, while the MA focuses on softer skills in leadership, marketing, and philanthropy.
The MPA prepares students for public service and management at the local level. This degree emphasizes theories of public leadership and service in nonprofit context. Finally, the MBA in nonprofit management focuses on business leadership, equipping students with executive skills specific to education, healthcare, and philanthropic agencies.
The MBA may require a business education background. By contrast, most MS, MA, and MPA degrees accept candidates with bachelor's degrees in any field.
Popular Nonprofit Management Courses
A master's in nonprofit management online typically blends core business courses, nonprofit management courses, and an internship and/or capstone. Each program's distinct strengths and purpose help determine course offerings.
The curriculum may cover topics such as diversity, leadership, accounting, business information systems, and corporate social responsibility. The list below includes some examples of courses students might take for an MBA in nonprofit management.
- Best Practices in Nonprofit Organizations: A foundational course in the nonprofit MBA program, best practices in nonprofit organizations covers the nature, trends, and shifts in nonprofits. Students learn to identify key issues in nonprofit management and interpret trends in the sector.
- Contemporary Issues in Human Resource Management: Students in this course study human resource law and regulations, leadership development, workforce training, compensation, benefits, and recruitment and retention. The course also covers the purpose and value of a human resources program.
- Grant Acquisition and Management: This course provides a broad overview of institutional fundraising. Students learn how grants fit into an overall fundraising strategy. They also learn about writing competitive proposals, creating accurate budget narratives, and devising appropriate administration systems.
- Fundraising and Development: Students explore the world of nonprofit fundraising, including its concepts, terms, and strategies. The course covers topics such as donor psychology, relationship building, and fundraising strategies. Learners may gain fundraising skills through roleplay, case studies, and writing for development.
- Capstone — Nonprofit Strategy Practicum: At the program's conclusion, students practice leadership strategies at a local nonprofit organization. The practicum lets students integrate academic learning with the realities of nonprofit management through a semester-long project.
Financing your Nonprofit Management Degree
Higher education often requires a substantial financial investment. Only a few students pay entirely out of pocket, however. Most learners access funding through government-backed loans, teaching assistantships, or private grants and scholarships. By earning their degree online, many students can work while attending school to partially fund their studies.
Many companies help cover the cost of business school for their employees. The company might pay all or part of an employee's tuition, provided that the student maintains an acceptable grade point average. Whatever the details, prospective learners absolutely need a financial plan before committing to an MBA program.
What Jobs Can a Nonprofit Management Degree Get You?
A widely recognized degree, the MBA can open doors to advanced career positions and lucrative salaries. Completing a degree from a business school can give management professionals a leg up as they navigate the world of work.
As many nonprofit organizations now operate with the same finesse as for-profit agencies, these organizations also expect their leadership team to hold the same levels of knowledge and skills, including advanced degrees.
Earning an MBA in nonprofit management can provide academic knowledge in organizational theory, strategic planning, and financial administration. But the benefits of a graduate degree don't stop there. MBA-holders also gain valuable professional networks, strategic alumni communities, and chances to command higher salaries.
Nonprofit management graduates can hold jobs as top organizational executives, fundraisers, or social program managers.
According to the BLS, fundraisers can earn well over $130,000 per year, and the highest 10% earn more than $200,000.
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers: Public relations and fundraising managers oversee the organization's reputation with stakeholders and the community. These professionals also raise the funds required to operate the nonprofit and its programs. Public relations managers generally focus on branding and marketing, while fundraisers do work comparable to sales managers in the for-profit world.
- Required Education: Some positions require a master's degree
- Job Outlook: +9%
- Median Annual Salary: $116,180
Social and Community Service Managers: Social and community service managers oversee programs that benefit the common good. Depending on the size of the organization, they may oversee programs directly, designing and analyzing program structure and function. Or they may hire, train, manage, and deploy a team of professionals who take the hands-on roles.
- Required Education: bachelor's degree; master's degree may prove beneficial
- Job Outlook: +17%
- Median Annual Salary: $67,150
Top Executives: A top executive in a nonprofit organization helps the enterprise achieve its mission. These professionals may oversee operations as CEOs or executive directors, or they may work as heads of fundraising, marketing, programs, or finance. For many people, a top executive post represents the zenith of their career ambitions and comes after many years of education and relevant experience.
- Required Education: bachelor's degree; master's degree preferred
- Job Outlook: +4%
- Median Annual Salary: $104,690
Selecting Your Nonprofit Management MBA Program
Prospective MBA students must consider a variety of factors when selecting their program. A ranking can provide a great start, but students should also think about several other considerations before investing their time and money in an online MBA. Factors to consider include:
- Accreditation: Prospective students should only consider regionally accredited schools. Financial aid, credit transfers, admission to doctoral programs, and degree utility all hinge on regional accreditation. The best business schools typically hold programmatic accreditation as well, ideally from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
- Staff Credentials and Diversity: Most faculty members should hold a terminal degree, such as a Ph.D., in their discipline. Students should learn from faculty who are diverse in age, race, experience, and research interests as well.
- Cost and Financial Aid: How much does a top-ranked school cost? Can students obtain a comparable education for a lower price at another school? Does a large financial aid package offset a high price tag?
- Program Length: Some MBAs only require 10 months from start to finish. Others offer students a longer time frame, but with more relaxed schedules. Prospective learners must determine which approach works best for them.
Why Should You Get Your MBA in Nonprofit Management Online?
Online education has mushroomed since the first accredited online graduate program launched in 1985. Immediately prior to the COVID pandemic, about 25.8% of college students took at least one online class, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which tracks such data.
Online degrees have gained acceptance from employers as more and more students have turned to them for fast, flexible education. The nonprofit management MBA fits neatly into an online learning system due to its practical focus, content-rich nature, and collaborative style.
Working professionals particularly prefer learning online. Not all learners, however, think distance education provides the right environment for them. Prospective students must weigh several factors when considering the online experience.
What are the benefits of earning an MBA in nonprofit management online? Many students complete their programs more quickly, pay lower total costs, can stay where they are, and enjoy more options for accredited MBAs by choosing an online degree. Learners can also continue working while going to school.
Who benefits most from a traditional program? Those students who value face-to-face interaction, who want to immerse themselves in an academic environment, or who plan to attend a school that only offers on-campus instruction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an MBA in nonprofit management worth it?
Professionals with this degree can work in healthcare, education, religion, the arts, community development, and other highly rewarding fields. The master's degree itself can help these professionals understand how to solve complex social problems.
What can I do with a master's in nonprofit management?
A master's in nonprofit management can lead to a career as the executive director of a nonprofit or a role in program management, fundraising, or marketing. Nonprofit careers can vary dramatically in scope, activities, and salary.
What kind of nonprofit management degrees are there?
Students can earn graduate or undergraduate degrees in nonprofit administration. In this field, a graduate degree can mean a master's in leadership, a master's in ministry, or an MBA with an emphasis in nonprofit management.
What does a nonprofit manager do?
A nonprofit manager makes sure their organization fulfills its mission. This professional might oversee a major department such as finance or fundraising, or they might manage or assess programs. The career reflects the sector's breadth and diversity.
Are nonprofit managers in demand?
The BLS projects that the U.S. economy will add 29,800 social and community service management jobs between 2019 and 2029. Education and healthcare drive the nonprofit field, and both sectors tend to weather financial downturns well.