The Best Online Master’s Programs in Nonprofit Management

The Best Online Master’s Programs in Nonprofit Management

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This versatile degree builds traditional business skills in finance, management, and leadership while also introducing innovative coursework in grant writing, social entrepreneurship, and resource development.

Master's in nonprofit management online degrees appeal to many types of students. Some learners pursue this advanced degree after working in the field for several years. Others hold an unrelated bachelor's degree and want to shift their careers toward working in nonprofits.

Graduates work in various roles based in nonprofits, including community service manager and public relations and fundraising manager. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects these roles to grow by 13% and 8% respectively between 2018-2028, creating job stability in the coming years.

Top 10 Online Master's in Nonprofit Management Programs 2020

#1 University of Denver Denver, CO
#2 Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK
#3 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
#4 Endicott College Beverly, MA
#5 La Salle University Philadelphia, PA
#6 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
#7 Salve Regina University Newport, RI
#8 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
#9 Corban University Salem, OR
#10 Northeastern University Boston, MA

Best Online Master's in Nonprofit Management Programs

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Endicott College 

Beverly, MA Apply Now

About this school

Endicott College is a private institution that hosts 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students through more than 80 programs each year. The college offers many of its programs online, including a master's in nonprofit management.

The 42-credit, online master of business administration with a concentration in nonprofit management allows learners to earn the degree in as little as 18 months. The online program has the same curriculum and experienced instructors as its on-campus counterpart.

Students complete a mix of general business and concentration coursework. Core business classes include project management, managerial economics, and human resources in transition. During the nonprofit management concentration, students take classes such as marketing and fundraising in nonprofits, providing direction for nonprofits, and managing nonprofits.

Applicants must submit official undergraduate transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a 250-500-word essay.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
Percent Receiving Loans

La Salle University 

Philadelphia, PA Apply Now

About this school

Founded by the Institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools in 1863, La Salle University is a private, Roman Catholic university affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church through the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Degree-seekers can choose from traditional, hybrid, and online programs, including an online nonprofit management degree.

The 33-credit master of science in nonprofit leadership combines disciplines such as marketing, finance, evaluation, and planning. Learners take courses on topics like fund development for nonprofits, strategic planning for nonprofits, and law and ethics for the nonprofit sector.

Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate. The fully online program has eight-week courses. Online learners interact with instructors through email, discussion boards, and instructional channels. Graduates can critique, solve, and analyze issues in nonprofit environments and work as ethical leaders in nonprofit organizations.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
Percent Receiving Loans

Central Michigan University 

Mount Pleasant, MI Apply Now

About this school

Central Michigan University is a public research university that hosts more than 20,000 on-campus students and 7,000 online students each year. Founded in 1892, CMU offers a variety of degree opportunities across disciplines, including a master's in nonprofit management.

The master of public administration in nonprofit management prepares students for careers managing and leading nonprofit organizations. The unique program features its own research entity, the Transnational Initiative on Governance Research and Education Network, which allows learners to complete management simulations abroad to deepen their skills and knowledge.

During the rigorous curriculum, students focus on building competencies in public service with an emphasis on nonprofit management. Students can take advantage of a variety of graduate and teaching assistantships along with fellowship and scholarship opportunities.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 2.8 GPA. Learners must also complete undergraduate economics, research methods, and statistics courses before enrolling in the program. Applicants must submit official undergraduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a current resume, and a personal statement.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
Percent Receiving Loans

Salve Regina University 

Newport, RI Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1934 by the Sisters of Mercy, Salve Regina University is a private institution that hosts nearly 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The school offers many of its programs online, such as a master's in nonprofit management.

The 36-credit, online master of business administration with a nonprofit management concentration requires 12 courses. Learners take core business courses on topics like managing business operations, building value through marketing, and strategic management and business policy. Students pursuing the nonprofit management concentration can choose from classes like nonprofit financial management, fundraising and marketing for nonprofits, and nonprofit management.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and submit official undergraduate transcripts, a personal statement, a current resume, and two professional letters of recommendation.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
Percent Receiving Loans

University of Northern Iowa 

Cedar Falls, IA Apply Now

About this school

The University of Northern Iowa is a public university that offers more than 100 areas of study through its colleges of social and behavioral sciences, business administration, sciences, education, arts, and humanities. UNI offers many of its programs online, including a nonprofit management degree.

The fully online master of arts in philanthropy and nonprofit development is designed for professionals with at least 3-5 years of relevant experience. Spring and fall courses use eight-week modules, while summer classes span four weeks. Throughout the specialized curriculum, degree-seekers study topics such as public relations campaign methods, strategic management of human resources, and financial decision-making for youth and human services agencies.

The master's program follows a cohort format, allowing students to take courses with the same group of learners throughout the program. The cohort format requires all students to complete their courses in unison. If a student needs to miss a course in the cohort, they should meet with an advisor to discuss their options.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
Percent Receiving Loans

Corban University 

Salem, OR Apply Now

About this school

Corban University is a private, Christian college that belongs to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Corban enrolls around 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students annually through its programs, including its online master's in nonprofit management.

The fully online master of public administration comprises 30 credits. Learners study topics like managing public sector institutions, finance reporting and control, and business strategy and entrepreneurship. Students typically take one course per eight-week session, graduating within one year. Asynchronous courses give students the flexibility to balance their studies with professional and personal obligations.

Applicants must profess their faith in Jesus Christ and demonstrate a consistent Christian lifestyle. They must also hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit official transcripts, a writing sample, a resume, and a Christian character reference.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
Percent Receiving Loans

Northeastern University 

Boston, MA Apply Now

About this school

A private research university, Northeastern University is classified as a doctoral research university with very high research activity. Founded in 1898, Northeastern offers undergraduate and graduate degrees across a variety of disciplines, including an online master's in nonprofit management.

This entirely online master of science in nonprofit management provides learners with the flexibility they need to continue working as they earn the degree. The program uses integrated experiential learning, allowing learners to gain field experience by working with real-world sponsors.

Nonprofit management students can tailor the degree to align with their personal interests and career goals by pursuing concentrations in fundraising, leadership and management, project management, social innovation, or social media and analytics.

The curriculum comprises general requirements, electives, and concentration courses. Students explore topics like financial management for nonprofit organizations, promoting nonprofit organizations, and grant and report writing. Learners typically satisfy their program requirements within 1.5-2 years of study. They also have a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships and assistantships, to help with tuition.

Applicants must provide a completed application, a statement of purpose, a current resume, undergraduate transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. Undergraduate transcripts must denote that applicants earned their degrees from accredited colleges or universities.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
Percent Receiving Loans

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Programs

Online Master's in Nonprofit Management Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the following degree programs based on their quality, the types of courses offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputations, including the school's reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.

What Is Nonprofit Management?

Until recently, many people viewed nonprofit organizations as charities relying solely on donations rather than businesses using profits to help others. Large nonprofit organizations whose business models incorporate money-making strategies, such as Goodwill, began to evolve the field, as did the emergence of formalized academic programs in nonprofit management.

Nonprofit management degrees focus on helping professionals who want to work in nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations gain the necessary skills.

Nonprofit management degrees focus on helping professionals who want to work in nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations gain the necessary skills. The curriculum incorporates traditional business topics that relate to nonprofit organizations as well as unique studies specific to the sector. Courses cover nonprofit governance, mission-based organization management, nonprofit financial management, and data analytics for the nonprofit sector.

In addition to coursework, nonprofit management degrees incorporate practical experience. Some programs require learners to complete an internship, while others require a comprehensive capstone.

What Is a Master's in Nonprofit Management?

A master's in nonprofit management online degree appeals to students who want to combine traditional business skills with nonprofit knowledge. These learners may be graduates of a bachelor's in nonprofit management who are ready to progress their careers to the next level. They may also be career changers coming from a traditional business background or an unrelated field.

Core coursework in a master's in nonprofit management covers grant proposal writing, nonprofit board governance, nonprofit organization fundraising, and public sector theory. Electives may include marketing and development, arts and cultural leadership, international development, or community development planning. Because so many focus areas exist, distance learners should take their time researching a school that fits their needs.

After completing a master's in nonprofit management, some learners may decide to pursue a doctorate degree. These programs best serve individuals who want to work in research or academia. Some prospective learners may decide a traditional master's in nonprofit management does not perfectly suit their interests. If so, an online MBA program or executive MBA program may be worth considering.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master's in Nonprofit Management?

Master's in nonprofit management online programs typically take full-time learners 18-24 months to complete, but several variables can affect this timeline. Students who completed previous credits at another institution may be able to transfer these to a new school, shortening their completion times.

Master's in nonprofit management online programs typically take full-time learners 18-24 months to complete, but several variables can affect this timeline.

Some learners may need to find a part-time program that fits with existing personal and professional responsibilities. For those who want to graduate as quickly as possible, an accelerated program lasting 12-18 months may best serve their needs.

Other factors to consider when assessing likely timelines include if a school offers year-round classes as opposed to only fall and spring classes and how long it will take to complete any required final projects.

What Does a Nonprofit Manager Do?

Nonprofit managers fill a variety of professional roles. Factors such as industry, location, education level, and the size of the nonprofit all impact the type of work they do and the communities they serve.

A professional working at a nonprofit college performs substantially different tasks than one employed by a nonprofit focused on foster youth advocacy, but the overarching goal remains the same: support people as they go about their lives. While for-profit business managers rely on the sale of goods and services to cover costs, nonprofit managers must develop fundraising tactics to ensure their goals come to fruition.

Nonprofit managers must have a passion for serving the public, an innovative spirit, the ability to solve problems, and a desire to work with a diverse population.

Nonprofit Management Jobs

Graduates of nonprofit management degrees can fill many different professional roles based on their interests and skills. We look at a few of the more common options below.

Public Relations Managers and Specialists

Public relations managers work to identify, build, and maintain favorable views of their companies in the public eye. They train spokespeople, answer questions from the media, prepare press releases, and create guidelines to hlep executives answer questions about the organization.

Fundraising managers create and execute fundraising programs to raise awareness of the nonprofit and reach new donors. They court these donors, invite them to events, and share the mission of the organization. They also apply for grants and work closely with financial managers.

Median Annual Salary


Projected Growth Rate


Top Executives

Nonprofit managers at the C-level oversee common organizational functions such as marketing and public relations, finance, operations, and human relations. They typically oversee staff in each of their areas, set strategic goals for the department, develop budgets, and liaise with other top executives.

These professionals typically have significant experience in either nonprofit or for-profit organizations that helps them work up to a senior-level role.

Median Annual Salary


Projected Growth Rate


Social and Community Service Managers

These professionals often serve as program managers, ensuring communities can access services and support mechanisms that provide social benefit. They develop new programs based on stakeholder needs, hold community meetings to ensure the work of the organization aligns with neighborhood goals, and liaise with other organizational members.

Once a program is established, social and community service managers collect data on its effectiveness, conduct community meetings to learn about any shortcomings, and make adjustments as needed. They may also write grants to help fund programs and work with marketing professionals to build awareness.

Median Annual Salary


Projected Growth Rate



While a nonprofit management degree does not offer a direct path to governmental work, individuals with a passion for using legistlation to do significant good can find a home in government jobs.

Whether working at the metro, state, or federal level, legislators write and pass laws that benefit the public good. They meet with constituents and experts, assign research to legislative aides, and submit their proposed legislation for debate. They also develop and allocate budgets that help cover the legislation if passed.

Median Annual Salary


Projected Growth Rate


Nonprofit Management Associations

Nonprofit managers have the option of joining numerous professional organizations to help them further their careers. Below are a few such organizations.

American Society for Public Administration

The largest organization of its type in the nation, ASPA has numerous chapters around the country. Promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and ethical decision-making in public administration, ASPA offers members networking opportunities, conferences and events, subscription to its three publications, and access to its Center for Accountability and Performance.

Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action

Committed to advancing research in the nonprofit sector, ARNOVA connects nonprofit leaders with professional academics. Membership perks include access to useful resources such as member networking and annual conferences as well as cutting-edge research in the field.

National Council of Nonprofits

With over 25,000 members, the National Council of Nonprofits provides a large member network for nonprofit professionals to connect through. Dedicated to advocacy and advancing America's charitable nonprofits, the National Council of Nonprofits fosters connections, identifies areas of need, and helps organizations secure funding and achieve their goals.

Young Nonprofit Professionals Network

Founded in 1997, YNPN specifically devotes itself to helping emerging nonprofit leaders achieve success. It boasts a member network of over 50,000, and members have access to its large network, leadership advancement resources, and annual conferences.

Society for Nonprofits

With a variety of publications to its name, including Nonprofit World, Society for Nonprofits provides members with many useful resources, including training and education programs, networking opportunities, discounted services, and insurance programs.

NonProfit Times

A newspaper that premiered in 1987, NonProfit Times provides journalistic coverage of issues and events relevant to nonprofit organizations. NonProfit Times also offers a job search board and grant listings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Nonprofit Management?

Nonprofit management applies business concepts to organizations focused on providing social good.

What Is a Master's in Nonprofit Management?

A master's in nonprofit management is an advanced degree that provides graduates with the skills and knowledge required to work in high-level roles in nonprofits.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Nonprofit Management?

Graduates work in marketing, fundraising, human relations, and program management.

What Degree Do I Need to Run a Nonprofit?

Nonprofit professionals hold myriad degrees, but as educational opportunities specific to the field become more widely available, more of these leaders pursue nonprofit management programs.

What Kind of Jobs Can You Get With a Nonprofit Management Degree?

Because nonprofit management degrees incorporate many transferable skills, graduates can work in many different roles.

What Does a Nonprofit Manager Do?

Nonprofit managers often wear numerous hats, working to ensure the nonprofit fulfills its mission and reaches those it hopes to serve.