According to a report by the National Center for Charitable Statistics, a total of 1.5 million nonprofits reside in the U.S., with new organizations added each year. Nonprofits offer a great opportunity for students who want to give back to their communities and find fulfillment in their work. For those looking for a versatile degree that offers career progression, a doctorate in nonprofit management can provide a great fit. Keep reading to learn about common coursework, available specializations, career paths, and what to look for in the best programs.
Choosing a Program
When selecting a doctorate in nonprofit management program, students must consider various factors to find the school that meets their needs. Many learners prioritize a program's available classes and faculty. Because students know what they want to learn about at the doctoral level, they should look for classes offered by professors who specialize in those areas. Common coursework includes studies in advanced leadership theory, nonprofit governance, and executive fundraising.
Another factor to consider includes the school's available concentrations. Many doctorate in nonprofit management degrees allow students to specialize in a subfield. Specific concentrations depend on the individual program, but may include studies in international nonprofit management, public policy and governmental advocacy, and leadership development. In addition to their coursework, degree seekers must complete a comprehensive exam and write a full-length dissertation. Often approaching the length of a book, these dissertations must include original research and focus on a unique angle or idea within the field of nonprofits. Some online doctorate in nonprofit management programs also require students to visit the campus to fulfill residency requirements; learners should inquire about these requirements prior to attending.
For career information, skip down:
- What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management Program?
- Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management Careers
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management Program?
While there are many common courses across doctorate in nonprofit management degrees, students should consult each school's curriculum to learn about available classes and concentrations.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Doctoral Degree in Nonprofit Management
Public Policy & Advocacy: This concentration teaches students to interact with local, state, and federal governments on behalf of their nonprofits in order to create change.
Careers this concentration prepares for: Any senior-level roles at nonprofits that require an understanding of how to work with and lobby governmental agencies.
Global Affairs: This concentration prepares graduates for roles at international or multinational nonprofits. Topics may include international human rights law, finance, and communicating effectively with diverse clients and workers.
Careers this concentration prepares for: Any nonprofits with a presence outside the U.S.
Leadership Development: This concentration caters to degree seekers who want to hone their leadership skills and prepare themselves for CEO or executive director roles.
Careers this concentration prepares for: Any nonprofits looking for those with leadership experience and training.
Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Nonprofit Management
- Nonprofit Management Ethics: This course explores common business ethics questions that frequently arise in nonprofit settings. Students learn to handle unethical issues, make morally sound decisions, and ensure that they follow protocol related to grants and funding.
- Executive Fundraising: This course gives students the skills necessary to use their position as a nonprofit executive director to represent their organization and raise funds.
- Volunteer Management: This course focuses on integrating volunteers into the nonprofit environment: how to recruit volunteers, how best to use their time and skills, and how to make connections with volunteers who wield influence in local government.
- Diversity in the Nonprofit Workforce: Students in this course consider some of the issues surrounding traditional workforces in areas of diversity, acceptance, and hiring. Emphasis lies with issues related to ethnocentrism and equal opportunity.
- Creating Financially Viable Nonprofits: Students in this course learn to balance short-term fundraising goals with long-term financial stability using future-oriented strategies.
Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management Careers
Nonprofits champion the needs of different groups and provide valuable services to them. The roles available to those interested in this field are wide and varied, and the careers highlighted below give learners an idea of the available roles. That said, students should spend time researching the careers they hope to enter and the organizations that match their interests.
Social & Community Service Manager: Working alongside other nonprofit professionals, these managers plan and organize social and community programs, ensure that communities can access public programs, and create metrics to measure the effectiveness of new program offerings.
Median Annual Salary: $64,100
Projected Growth Rate: 18%
Executive Director: Executive directors manage other employees, create strategic plans and forecasts for future growth and sustainability, communicate with the board of directors, and oversee the overall organizational budget.
Median Annual Salary: $104,700
Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Nonprofit Management Professor: Working at both public and private universities, nonprofit management professors instruct the next generation of nonprofit leaders in the knowledge and skills needed to succeed. Aside from teaching, they may also mentor students or alumni.
Median Annual Salary: $76,000
Projected Growth Rate: 15%