Master's in Nonprofit Management
Nonprofit organizations, driven by a shared purpose and a commitment to social good, could play a vital role in addressing the challenges that communities face. If you are passionate about making a difference and want to take your career in the nonprofit sector to new heights, pursuing a Masters in Nonprofit Management could be a key to unlocking your potential.
How Do Nonprofits Generate Revenue?
Nonprofit organizations rely on various revenue streams to support their operations and fulfill their missions. Following are some potential sources of revenue.
Nonprofits often seek funding through grants provided by government agencies at federal, state, and local levels. Certain nonprofit sectors, such as healthcare, research, education, and public media, often rely on federal funding.
Foundations, which include both private foundations and public charities, are not-for-profit entities that provide charitable donations to nonprofit organizations. They are often under the control of a small number of people, such as families, who decide how and where money should be directed.
Nonprofits with membership models might collect dues or fees from individuals or organizations who wish to become members. In return, members may receive benefits such as exclusive access to events, publications, or networking opportunities.
Gifts from major donors
Major donors are organizations or individuals who contribute substantial financial gifts or assets to help sustain the organization and fund specific projects or initiatives. Cultivating relationships with major donors could be important for nonprofits to secure significant funding.
Small donations add up, and the cumulative impact of these donations may be an important source of revenue for nonprofits. Relying solely on the success of a single event or the support of a handful of major donors could leave a nonprofit vulnerable to significant financial losses in the face of unforeseen circumstances.
Special events and sponsorships
Many nonprofits organize special events, such as galas, auctions, or charity runs, to raise funds. Local companies will often agree to be sponsors of special events, especially if that event has the potential to provide a good advertising opportunity for the company.
Endowment funds are financial assets that a nonprofit invests to generate income over the long term. The earnings from endowments could provide a stable and ongoing source of revenue to support the organization’s operations and programs.
Some nonprofits generate revenue by providing goods or services related to their mission. For example, a nonprofit environmental organization might sell eco-friendly products, or a museum might charge admission fees to visitors.
What Is a Master’s in Nonprofit Management?
Master’s in Nonprofit Management programs aim to teach the day-to-day and financial components of running a nonprofit organization, including fundraising, managing staff and volunteers, and securing media exposure. They might also focus on the structure of nonprofits as well as how they provide services to the community.
Types of nonprofit administration master’s degrees
There are a wide variety of names and degree types in nonprofit management. The four you might often run into are:
- Master of Arts (MA) in Nonprofit Administration
- Master of Science (MS) in Nonprofit Management and Leadership
- Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Nonprofit Management
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Nonprofit Management
These programs all have a similar goal: To help prepare you to run an efficient nonprofit organization. However, each may have a unique focus area or approach.
Typically, MS programs are more technically focused, with an emphasis on research. These are also considered a stepping-stone for those interested in earning a doctorate in nonprofit administration. MA programs in nonprofit administration, on the other hand, tend to have a more theoretical basis. They could be a great choice for those who want an overview of nonprofit management with the flexibility to concentrate in a certain area.
The MBA and the MPA are both professional degrees. They may therefore approach the topic with an eye toward business and analysis. The MPA could be great for those particularly interested in the public sector.
Schools with Nonprofit Master’s Programs
Nonprofit management: common courses
Master’s in nonprofit administration programs typically focus on fiscal responsibilities and managerial tasks. Some courses may examine how thriving nonprofits are structured, grow, and evolve. They might also be geared toward helping you develop critical analysis and leadership skills and knowledge to improve results.
Check out the following list to see some of the courses you may take.
- Organizational Behavior and Leadership
- Nonprofit Principles and Practices
- Approaches to Human Capital
- Leadership Theory, Application, and Reflection
- Strategic Fund Development
- Strategic Management and Planning
- Nonprofit Organizational Performance and Program Evaluation
- Nonprofit Social Entrepreneurship
- Nonprofit Fundraising and Financial Management
- Nonprofit Development and Advancement
Why Choose a Master’s in Nonprofit Management?
A Master’s in Nonprofit Management degree could offer a number of advantages for individuals aspiring to make an impact in the nonprofit sector.
A holistic approach to nonprofit leadership
Many Masters in Nonprofit Management programs take a holistic approach, focusing on foundational knowledge in business management that could be applied to your specific area of interest.
Expand your network
Building a strong network during your studies could open doors to job opportunities and collaborations in the future. A Master’s in Nonprofit Management could provide you with the chance to connect with professors who are experienced in the field and engage with fellow students who share a passion for making a difference. Additionally, many programs offer internships, fieldwork, and networking events where you might interact with professionals working in nonprofit organizations.
Boost your career
Master’s in nonprofit administration programs could strengthen your leadership skills, which might lead to higher-level positions within an organization. In addition, master’s degree holders typically earn more than those with just a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, you might experience lower unemployment.
Choosing a Program: Factors to Consider
What are your goals in pursuing this degree with regard to career and personal enrichment? Think about this question as you explore the following considerations in choosing a program.
- Curriculum and course offerings: As mentioned previously, there are different degree types that may have different focuses. And, even within the same degree type, you might find variations in the curriculum and course offerings. Some programs might offer unique features that set them apart.
- Faculty expertise: Look for programs with faculty members who are well-respected and recognized in the nonprofit sector. Faculty members who have published research, hold leadership positions in nonprofits, or have extensive practical experience could provide beneficial insights and mentorship.
- Internship and fieldwork opportunities: Many programs offer real-world experiences. Not only could this give you helpful experience, it could help you build a network. If these factors are important to you, make sure to determine the hands-on offerings of programs you are considering.
- Alumni network and career support: Pursuing a master’s degree is an investment, and, as such, you may want to feel some kind of reassurance that it could pay off. With a broad alumni network and career support services, you could get the support you might need to land the job of your dreams.
- Accreditation and reputation: It’s important to choose a school that is accredited—meaning it has been reviewed by an outside board to ensure it upholds rigorous standards of instruction. In addition, look for accreditation of the program itself. The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) is an accrediting body that is considered by many to be the global standard in public service education. The reputation of a school beyond accreditation may be important to you; you could examine rankings and read reviews of programs you are interested in to get a sense of how well they are regarded.
- Flexibility and convenience: Evaluate the program’s format and schedule to determine if it fits your lifestyle and personal commitments. Some programs offer flexible options such as part-time or online study, allowing you to balance your education with other responsibilities. Consider your preferred learning style and the program’s flexibility to ensure a comfortable and manageable learning experience.
- Career outcomes: Research the career outcomes of graduates from the program. Are they placed in leadership positions within nonprofit organizations? Speak to alumni to determine whether they feel the program helped them achieve their career goals.
Unlocking Career Opportunities in Nonprofit Management
A master’s degree in nonprofit administration could open doors to various career opportunities. Here are some careers you might consider.
As the highest-ranking position in a nonprofit organization, the executive director or CEO is responsible for overall leadership and management. They provide strategic direction, oversee the organization’s operations, cultivate relationships with stakeholders, and ensure the organization’s mission is achieved.
Median annual salary, 2022: $189,520¹
Fundraising managers are responsible for developing and implementing fundraising initiatives. They might plan events, apply for grants and other funding, and meet with potential donors.
Median annual salary, 2022: $107,390²
Public Relations Manager
Public relations managers focus on enhancing the public image of their organization. They might write press releases, identify a spokesperson, and create advertising and promotions programs.
Median annual salary, 2022: $129,430³
Business Development Director
A director of business development plays a pivotal role in an organization by spearheading efforts to cultivate new business opportunities, drive revenue growth, and expand the brand. In this position, they are responsible for not only identifying and developing new business prospects but also overseeing client-relationship management and sales initiatives.
Program managers oversee specific programs or projects within a nonprofit organization. They are responsible for program planning, implementation, and evaluation. They manage program budgets, ensure program goals are met, and monitor the impact of programs on the target population.
An account manager of a nonprofit is responsible for managing relationships with clients, donors, or stakeholders, and ensuring their needs are met to support the organization’s objectives. They focus on building and maintaining strong relationships to maximize the engagement, retention, and satisfaction of stakeholders.
Advocacy and Policy Specialist
Advocacy and policy specialists work to influence public policy and advocate for social change on behalf of nonprofit organizations. They research and analyze policy issues, develop advocacy strategies, engage with policymakers, and mobilize grassroots efforts to create positive policy outcomes.
Some graduates may choose to work as social entrepreneurs by starting their own nonprofit organizations or social enterprises. They identify innovative solutions to address social or environmental challenges, develop sustainable business models, and create positive social impact.
Communications directors oversee the organization’s communications strategy and messaging. They develop and implement marketing and public relations campaigns, manage media relations, and ensure consistent messaging to promote the organization’s mission and programs.
Community Relations Director
Community relations directors focus on building and maintaining positive relationships with the community served by the nonprofit organization. They collaborate with community partners, engage stakeholders, and develop programs or initiatives that address community needs and strengthen the organization’s community impact.
In conclusion, a masters degree in nonprofit administration could provide a strong foundation for a career in the nonprofit sector. Whether you aspire to lead nonprofit organizations, drive business development, manage programs, advocate for policy change, or work as a consultant or social entrepreneur, the knowledge and skills gained from the program could unlock diverse career opportunities and enable you to make a significant impact in the nonprofit sector.
GradSchools.com offers 78 Graduate Schools with Masters in Nonprofit Management
Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Accessed 8/2/2023.
Grand Canyon University
University of Denver
Robert Morris University
Maple Springs Baptist Bible College And Seminary
Baruch College, City University Of New York
High Point University