A Master’s in Nonprofit Management degree prepares you to raise funds for nonprofit organizations and effectively manage their business and financial affairs. The degree program provides students with the business savvy they need to oversee a nonprofit organization and make sure the organization can meet its goals with the proper funding, leadership, and public relations.
Nonprofit organizations — whether large and well-established institutions, or relatively new programs — command a significant, growing portion of the professional landscape. Offering plenty of valuable services to their communities through outreach, advocacy, entertainment, education, culture, religion, environmental awareness, and more, nonprofit organizations help improve quality of living on multiple levels. However, to succeed they need skilled managers.
What is a Master’s in Nonprofit Management Degree?
A Master’s in Nonprofit Management degree provides students with the graduate-level education necessary to excel as leaders in the nonprofit sector. This type of degree combines leadership theory and practices with fundamental information about the goals and operation of nonprofit organizations. Students in these programs typically study areas such as fundraising, public relations, organizational management, and ethical leadership principles. Students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to lead nonprofit organizations in a variety of settings.
How long does it take to complete an online Master in Nonprofit Management degree program?
Typically, it takes students a year and a half to two years to complete an online Nonprofit Management Master’s degree program.
Online Master’s in Nonprofit Management Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school’s reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.
The Best Online Master’s in Nonprofit Management Degree Programs
1. Arizona State University–ASU Online
Part of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions at Arizona State University, the School of Community Resources and Development provides students with a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree and non-degree study options. With internship and study abroad programs, the School provides students with paths to gain experience and expand their worldviews. Through several on-campus centers, including the Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, the School provides students with opportunities for professional development and community outreach.
Through the ASU online platform, the School of Community Resources and Development offers an online Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management degree program, which helps students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the nonprofit sector. The program provides a balanced approach that blends nonprofit management fundamentals, including financial management, fundraising, and leadership, with practical knowledge. Students enhance their ability to act as effective leaders in the nonprofit sector.
The online Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management program requires 33 credit hours, and includes the following core courses:
- The Nonprofit Sector
- Financial and Resource Management
- Program Evaluation and Information Management
Students in the online program must also complete a capstone project.
Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2. University of Central Florida–College of Health and Public Affairs–School of Public Administration
Located in the College of Health and Public Affairs at the University of Central Florida, the School of Public Administration presents students with undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree and non-degree program options in several areas. The School of Public Administration has over 40 years of experience in providing education in public administration and relevant fields. Students may pursue academic advancement, as well as professional advancement, through the School’s academic programs and the Center for Public and Nonprofit Management.
The School of Public Administration’s online Master of Nonprofit Management degree prepares students to perform as successful leaders in the nonprofit sector. The curriculum emphasizes ethical principles, developing a foundation in integrity, benevolence, fairness, and social justice. Alongside ethical principles, students develop professional principles, including commitment, competence, scholarship, stewardship, diversity and inclusiveness, and leadership. Students enhance their ability to effectively satisfy the needs of the communities they serve through nonprofit organizations.
The degree requires 36 credit hours, and includes the following required courses:
- Volunteerism in Nonprofit Management
- Nonprofit Resource Development
- Grant and Contract Management
- Nonprofit Organizations
- Nonprofit Administration
- Nonprofit Financial Management
- Public Program Evaluation Techniques
- Strategic Planning and Management
- Ethics and Government in Nonprofit Management
- Human Resource Management
Students in the online Nonprofit Management Master’s degree program may complete an internship. The School of Public Administration especially advises an internship for students without professional experience in the field.
Students can combine the Master of Nonprofit Management degree in a dual degree program with a Master of Public Administration degree.
The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
3. Northeastern University–College of Professional Studies
Offering a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree and non-degree programs, the College of Professional Studies provides career-minded students, both traditional and non-traditional, with the programs they need to pursue the careers they desire. Emphasizing a blend of theoretical and real-world knowledge, and the importance of specialization, the College of Professional Studies engages students with strong academic programs, professional partnerships, and professional networking and experience opportunities.
The College of Professional Studies offers an online Master of Science in Nonprofit Management degree program, with seven concentration options: Global Studies; Human Services; Leadership; Organizational Communication; Project Management; Social Media and Online Communities; and Sports and Social Change. With a curriculum that addresses the need for nonprofit leaders to command a diverse array of knowledge, students prepare to pursue careers as successful leaders in the nonprofit sector.
The online Master of Science in Nonprofit Management program requires 45--47 quarter credit hours, and includes the following required courses:
- Developing your Leadership Capability
- Legal and Governance Issues in Nonprofit Organizations
- Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations
- Promoting Nonprofit Organizations
- Fundraising and Development for Nonprofit Organizations
- Grant and Report Writing
- Human Resources Management in Nonprofit Organizations
- Dynamics of Change at the Community and Social Level
Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
4. Juniata College
Juniata College, a private liberal arts college and founded in 1876 and affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree and non-degree programs for students to pursue diverse fields. Initially named the Huntingdon Normal School, with classes in occupational training held in a single room over the founder’s print shop, the college has since grown tremendously.
Through interdisciplinary collaboration among its departments, Juniata College offers a Master in Nonprofit Leadership online degree which prepares students to pursue careers as leaders in the nonprofit sector. Emphasizing collaboration, social innovation, and problem-solving, the program focuses on ways students can meet the unique needs of marginalized communities. The curriculum provides a strong foundation in nonprofit management, finance, fundraising, public relations, social context, ethical decision-making, and more.
The online Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership requires 30 credit hours for students with relevant, acceptable work experience, or 42 credit hours for students without experience. The degree includes the following core courses:
- Foundations of the Nonprofit
- 21st Century Leadership
- Leading and Managing the Nonprofit Organization
- Nonprofit Fiscal Management
Students in the online Master in Nonprofit Leadership program must also complete a capstone project or graduate thesis. Students in the 42 credit hour program must also complete an internship.
Juniata College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
5. University of Houston Downtown–College of Humanities and Social Sciences–Department of Social Sciences
Offering a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Houston Downtown provides students with a diverse selection of academic paths to study human issues. Housed in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of Social Sciences provides students with valuable academic and professional resources, including internship opportunities, to boost the quality of their degree programs.
The Department of Social Sciences’ online Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management degree program prepares students to perform as leaders in the nonprofit sector. The program emphasizes real-world experience through a required internship and team-building. The program focuses on subjects such as program management, marketing and social media, fundraising, entrepreneurship, human resources, and more.
The online Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management program requires 36 credit hours, and includes the following core courses:
- Principles of Nonprofit Finance
- Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations
- Strategic Planning in Nonprofit Sector
- Program Assessment and Evaluation
- Resourcing the Nonprofit Organization
- Management in the Public and Nonprofit Sector
Students in the Master’s in Nonprofit Management online degree program must complete an internship.
The University of Houston, Downtown is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
6. University of Northern Iowa–College of Education–School of Kinesiology, Applied Health, and Human Services–Continuing and Distance Education
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Housed in the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa, the School of Kinesiology, Applied Health, and Human Services offers a diverse variety of undergraduate and graduate programs for students to pursue human-centered fields of study. With origins dating back to physical education courses offered in 1878, the School of Kinesiology, Applied Health, and Human Services has grown significantly. The School provides students with plenty of opportunities for professional and personal growth and development with nearly two-dozen programs, centers, and institutes on campus, including the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.
In cooperation with Continuing and Distance Education, the School of Kinesiology, Applied Health, and Human Services offers an online Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management degree program that prepares students to pursue careers as leaders in the nonprofit sector. Students develop a foundation of theoretical and practical knowledge and skills in nonprofit management, including fundraising, public relations, human resources, financial management, law, ethical decision-making, and more.
The online Master in Nonprofit Management degree requires 30 credit hours, and includes the following required courses:
- Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development: An Overview
- Psychology, Law, and Philanthropy
- Applied Writing: Proposals and Grants
- Evaluation, Research, and Accountability
- Studies in Critical Thinking in Philanthropic and Nonprofit Issues
- Public Relations Campaign Methods
Students must also complete a research project.
The courses utilize an eight-week module schedule.
The University of Northern Iowa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
7. La Salle University–School of Business
Dedicated to the mission of facilitating individualized educational experiences, the School of Business at La Salle University offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with plenty of options for specialization and customization. Through professional partnerships and career development services that promote real-world connections and experience, the School of Business helps its students enter the field of their choice. With several research and outreach centers on campus, including the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Nonprofit Center, the School of Business engages in advancing the field.
The School of Business offers an online Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development degree program, which prepares students to pursue careers as successful leaders in the nonprofit sector. Due to the need for diverse knowledge, the program presents a balanced plan of study which emphasizes such key areas as fundraising, marketing, management, leadership practices, law, and ethical decision-making. Mixing theoretical skills and knowledge with the practical, students enhance their ability to effectively manage nonprofit organizations.
The Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development online degree requires 33 credit hours, and includes the following core courses:
- Nonprofit Management
- Nonprofit Governance and Leadership
- Nonprofit Financial Management
- Fund Development for Nonprofits
- Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Leaders
- Law and Ethics in the Nonprofit Sector
- Marketing for Nonprofits
Students must complete a capstone project.
La Salle University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
8. North Park University–School of Business and Nonprofit Management
Founded in 1891 by Swedish immigrants, North Park is the University of the Evangelical Covenant Church. North Park University’s School of Business and Nonprofit Management also has a long history of quality in business education. With a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree and non-degree programs, the School of Business and Nonprofit Management serves the needs of many traditional and non-traditional students. Through a tight-knit alumni network, and professional development opportunities through on-campus centers such as the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management, the school provides students with the resources necessary to grow and advance.
The School of Business and Nonprofit Management’s Master of Nonprofit Administration online degree program provides a strong foundation in nonprofit administration principles. Emphasizing the diverse responsibilities and requirements of nonprofit managers, the program provides a thorough curriculum. Students explore areas such as ethical leadership, financial management, fundraising, collaboration across sectors, nonprofit law, and board governance.
The Master’s in Nonprofit Administration online degree program requires 36 credit hours, and includes the following core courses:
- Organizational Behavior and Ethics
- Ethical Leadership
- Nonprofit Financial Management
- Nonprofit Marketing Analysis and Consumer Behavior
- Multi-Sector Convergence and Consumer Behavior
- Nonprofit Board Governance and Volunteer Management
- Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations
Students in the online Master’s in Nonprofit Administration program must complete a capstone project.
North Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
9. Regis University–College of Business and Economics
Part of the Jesuit-affiliated Regis University, the College of Business and Economics incorporates Jesuit values and principles into the study of sound, contemporary business practices. Emphasizing a commitment to service and the promotion of the societal good, the College of Business and Economics offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Additionally, the College houses several centers, including the Innovation Center and the WELL Center, to promote growth and development in students and the community.
The College of Business and Economics offers a Master of Nonprofit Management online degree program which prepares students to pursue or advance careers as leaders in the nonprofit sector. The program prepares students with the necessary background to excel in the field through emphasizing core skills and knowledge in nonprofit management. Students study fundraising, public relations and communications, grant-writing, government relations, advocacy, program administration, and more. Students enhance their ability to balance the diverse responsibilities of a nonprofit manager toward ensuring the success of the organization.
The online Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management requires 36 credit hours, and includes the following required courses:
- History, Theory, and the Future of the Nonprofit Sector
- Communication Skills and Conflict Resolution
- Legal and Ethical Issues for Nonprofits
- Grant Writing
- Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations
- Program Development and Accountability
- Governance and Organizational Leadership
- Financial Resource Development
Students in the online Master of Nonprofit Management program must also complete field experience or a professional project.
Regis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
10. Bay Path University–Graduate College
Bay Path University was founded in 1897. With locations in Longmeadow (main), East Longmeadow (Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center), Sturbridge (MA), and Concord (MA), Bay Path’s innovative program offerings include traditional undergraduate degrees for women, The American Women’s College on-ground and online, the first all-women, all-online accredited bachelor’s degree programs in the country; graduate programs for women and men; and professional development programs to organizations and individuals through its Strategic Alliances division. Bay Path’s goal is to give students confidence in the fundamentals of their chosen field, the curiosity to question the ordinary, the leadership to show initiative, and the desire to make a difference.
With more than 20 graduate degree programs, Bay Path University provides plenty of flexibility for working and non-traditional students seeking career advancement. Through coursework that blends the theoretical with the practical, students enrolled in the fully-online Master in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy degree program develop expertise of strategic management, leading change, financial decision-making, ethical decision-making, effective fundraising, and more. Students graduate prepared for careers as successful leaders of the nonprofit sector in a constantly changing world.
The online Master in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy program requires 36 credit hours, and includes the following required courses:
- Introduction to Philanthropy and Fundraising
- Financial Decision Making for Nonprofits
- Foundation of Nonprofit Management
- Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations
- Leading Change for Nonprofit Organizations
Students must also complete a capstone project. Students may pursue three schedule tracks, consisting of one year, 20 months, or two years.
Bay Path University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Important Nonprofit Management Education and Career Information
What Does a Nonprofit Manager Do?
The responsibilities of nonprofit managers vary widely, depending on the specifics of their organization. The core of a nonprofit manager’s job involves making sure the organization runs smoothly and meets its goals, including funding for the organization. They typically spend a significant portion of their time focused on money management. They often work on public fundraising events. Nonprofit managers oversee a team of diverse individuals, dealing with issues of finance and fundraising, marketing and public relations, mission and outreach, personnel management, and more. A nonprofit manager utilizes expert knowledge in nonprofit organizations and business leadership to lead an organization to success in achieving its mission and growth.
Nonprofit Management Careers
Many of the most successful nonprofit managers have a graduate degree, giving them an edge above those who only have a Bachelor in Nonprofit Management degree. Individuals who hold a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management may pursue a variety of careers, including
- Campaign Manager
- Community Organizer
- Corporate Giving Director
- Development Director
- Event Team Manager
- Executive Director
- Foundation Director
- Fundraising/Development Professional
- Grant Administrator
- Outreach Director
- Program Manager
- Public Relations Director
- Volunteer Director
Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management Salary
According to Payscale.com, as of July 2017, nonprofit managers have an average salary of about $49,000. Salary factors include experience, where nonprofit managers work, and if they climb the career ladder. Many nonprofit organizations have small staffs and budgets, but a nonprofit manager in a high position at a large nonprofit organization with an equally large budget, can obtain a higher salary.
Nonprofit Employment Growth
As the nonprofit sector grows across the board, nonprofit employment grows along with it. Specifically, the 2016 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey showed significant growth in five areas
- Fundraising/Development, by 44 percent
- Direct Services, by 42 percent
- Education/Community Outreach, by 40 percent
- Program Management/Support, by 37 percent
- Marketing/Communications/Public Relations, by 37 percent
Nonprofit Management Associations
Nonprofit managers have the option of becoming members of numerous professional organizations, including the following:
Alliance for Nonprofit Management
Composed of nonprofit professionals from around the country, the Alliance for Nonprofit Management seeks to advance the development of the field through providing useful discourse and resources. Members enjoy such benefits as conferences and networking opportunities.
American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)
The largest organization of its type in the nation, the American Society for Public Administration has numerous chapters around the country. Promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and ethical decision-making in public administration, ASPA offers members benefits such as networking, conferences and events, subscription to its three publications, and the Center for Accountability and Performance.
Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA)
Committed to advancing research on the nonprofit sector, ARNOVA connects nonprofit leaders with professional academics. Membership includes access to useful resources such as member networking and annual conferences, as well as cutting-edge research in the field.
National Council for Nonprofits (NCN)
With over 25,000 members, the National Council for Nonprofits provides a large member network for nonprofit professionals to connect through. Dedicated to advocacy and advancing America’s charitable nonprofits, NCN fosters connections, identifies areas of need, and helps organizations achieve their goals and secure funding.
Young Nonprofit Professionals Network
Founded in 1997, the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network specifically devotes itself to helping emerging nonprofit leaders achieve success, and boasts a member network of over 50,000. Members gain access to its large network, leadership advancement resources, conferences, and more.
Society for Nonprofits
With a variety of publications to its name, including Nonprofit World, the Society for Nonprofits provides members with many useful resources. In addition, the Society for Nonprofits offers members training and education programs, networking, discounted services, and insurance programs.
A newspaper that premiered in 1987, NonProfit Times provides valuable journalistic coverage of issues and events relevant to nonprofit organizations. More than just a newspaper, NonProfit Times also offers a job search board and makes available grant listings, as well as other valuable resources.