Best Online Master’s in Nonprofit Management 2021

| TBS Staff


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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 2021
#1 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
#2 Johnson & Wales University-Online Providence, RI
#3 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
#4 Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
#5 Cairn University-Langhorne Langhorne, PA
#6 University of Denver Denver, CO
#7 North Park University Chicago, IL
#8 Metropolitan State University Saint Paul, MN
#9 Juniata College Huntingdon, PA
#10 Regis University Denver, CO

Featured Online Schools

Best Online Master's in Nonprofit Management Programs

University of Central Florida true View School Profile $$ Orlando, FL 73% 39% 57% The University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Established in 1963, UCF comprises 13 colleges with over 230 degree programs. UCF currently boasts 335 merit scholars.

Students take two years to complete UCF's master of nonprofit management online degree. They may select an out-of-state cohort track, or a nonprofit management and public administration dual track. The master of public administration degree requires an additional 18 credits.

No GRE is required for this program. However, students need a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must submit their resume, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of goals.

Johnson & Wales University-Online true View School Profile Providence, RI 73% 100% Johnson & Wales University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales is a private establishment. It has a 97.7% career outcome rate.

Johnson & Wales's master of science in nonprofit management is delivered 100% online and asynchronously. It boasts an accelerated schedule, enabling students to complete the program in just 15 months. Key courses here include financial reporting and control and program evaluation.

Students must apply online. They must submit two recommendations, their academic transcripts, and a statement of purpose.

University of Northern Iowa true View School Profile $$$ Cedar Falls, IA 65% 56% 25% The University of Northern Iowa is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

UNI is a public establishment founded in 1876. It offers programs in 160 areas of study.

UNI's master in philanthropy and nonprofit development is delivered 100% online synchronously and asynchronously. Some classes are delivered via Zoom sessions. Students can also study via flexible eLearning.

Students need a minimum average 3.21 GPA for admission. They should also have a SAT score ranging from 980-1241. ACT score requirements range from 20-26 at UNI. Students also need to complete a college preparatory program.

Arizona State University-Skysong true View School Profile $$ Scottsdale, AZ 14% 55% 97% Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

ASU boasts 70 elite programs and more than 530 000 alumni. It also has more than 270 athletic championship titles.

ASU's online master of nonprofit leadership and management degree requires 33 credits for completion. Some fundamental courses here include volunteer resource management, the non-profit sector, and financial and resource management. The program also comprises a capstone in the form of an integrative seminar. Elective courses include grant writing for non-profit organizations, and nonprofit marketing and communications.

Applicants must submit a resume, three reference letters, and their official transcripts. A minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA is required.

Cairn University-Langhorne true View School Profile Langhorne, PA 62% 68% 32% Cairn University- Langhorne is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Learning (MSCHE).

Cairn boasts more than 70 programs. 1,558 students are currently enrolled, with 96% finding employment within a year of graduating.

Cairn's online master of business administration degree requires 42 credits for completion. Students can complete the degree within 20 months.

Students must choose courses from concentrations such as leadership, human resources, organizational culture, organizational development, entrepreneurship, innovation, and strategic planning and management.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and a 2.5 cumulative GPA. They should also submit official transcripts.

University of Denver View School Profile Denver, CO 77% 36% 18% The University of Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

DU comprises 110 student-managed organizations. A private institution, it caters to 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Students can complete DU's nonprofit leadership master's program in just 18 months. Course concentrations here include philanthropy and resource development, executive leadership and governance, social enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship, and mission-driven operations and management. Course delivery format is 100% online and asynchronous.

No GMAT or GRE scores are required here. Students must have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale for their undergraduate work.

North Park University View School Profile Chicago, IL 60% 69% 19% North Park University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1891, NPU boasts a 10:1 student to faculty ratio. Its average class size is 17.

The average time for completion for NPU's master of nonprofit administration degree is two-and-a-half years. Students can also complete this in as few as 21 months. The degree comprises five electives and 13 core courses. 36 credits are required for degree completion. The program concludes with a capstone course on nonprofit strategic planning and management.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree, an electronic version of their curriculum vitae, and official transcripts from previous educational institutions attended.

Metropolitan State University View School Profile $$ Saint Paul, MN 39% 46% 48% Metropolitan State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1971, Metropolitan State currently has more than 10,500 students. It comprises more than 25 graduate programs, and more than 50 undergraduate programs.

Metropolitan State's master of public and nonprofit administration degree requires 40 graduation credits. Students must participate in a capstone seminar in community orientated management. Students must then complete a final project and program integration.

Applicants with a GRE or GMAT should submit copies of their scores when submitting admissions. If they do not have these scores, they must do an assessment in statistics and math.

Juniata College View School Profile Huntingdon, PA 79% 65% Juniata College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Established in 1876, Juniata is a private liberal arts institution. It's a co-educational college and students graduate in four years here.

Juniata's master of nonprofit leadership degree comprises a curriculum with courses on 21st century leadership, research methods, nonprofit fiscal management, and organizational communication and culture. Students are also required to complete courses in marketing in the information age, social entrepreneurship, and conflict and change. Students must work on and complete a capstone project as part of a team too.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited learning establishment. They must also have a minimum 2.75 GPA.

Regis University View School Profile Denver, CO 69% 47% 63% Regis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Regis boasts more than 120 programs and degrees. All students are fortunate enough to receive financial aid.

The Regis master of nonprofit management degree requires 36 credits. This specific program is accredited by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC).

A capstone course in service in a professional project or service oriented field experience is required. The capstone course holds three credits. Some of the core courses here include conflict resolution for leaders, financial resource development, and legal and ethical issues for nonprofits.

Applicants must submit an essay and resume. They must also submit their completed online application and degree transcripts.

La Salle University View School Profile Philadelphia, PA 67% 70% 17%

Founded in 1863 by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, La Salle is a private institution. It's a Lasallian Catholic university with 18 sports programs.

La Salle's master of science in nonprofit leadership degree has a 100% online and asynchronous delivery format. Students must finish all courses within seven years in order to graduate. 33 credits are required for this degree. Another graduation requirement is that students must have a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA. Students cannot take more than six credits per semester.

Applicants must submit their application form, their most recent resume, two letters of recommendation, and their official transcripts.

University of Houston-Downtown View School Profile $ Houston, TX 20% 38% 51% The University of Houston-Downtown is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

UHD boasts a student faculty ratio of 18:1. Over 80% of its students receive financial assistance, and there are 15,251 enrolled students.

UHD's master in nonprofit management online degree requires 36 credits. Students must complete 18 hours of core courses and 12 hours of electives. The degree requires a six-hour internship with several capstone projects to round out the 36 credits.

Some core courses include strategic planning in the nonprofit sector, principals of nonprofit finance, and management in the public and nonprofit sector.

Students applying to this program must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Grace College and Theological Seminary View School Profile Winona Lake, IN 57% 56% 38% Grace College and Theological Seminary is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Grace currently serves 1,236 students on campus. Established in 1948, it boasts more than 100 minors, majors, graduate, and certificate programs.

The Grace master of nonprofit management degree is completed in 36 credits. The course delivery format is 100% online and asynchronous. Students get two years to complete this degree. Many of the courses take eight weeks.

Students wanting to apply must fill in an online application for review by the admissions committee. Student must also subject a transcript from the institution they received their bachelor's degree. An enrollment deposit of $100 is also required.

Concordia University-Chicago View School Profile River Forest, IL 49% 69% 66% Concordia University- Chicago is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1864, CUC enrolls 90% of its students in graduate programs shortly after graduation. Education is melded with faith here.

The MBA not-for-profit management specialization at Cuc is completed within one or two years. It comprises 48 credits of coursework. This degree is offered on campus or as a 100% online, asynchronous program.

Students wanting to apply must submit an objective statement, indicating how the degree complements their career. They must also submit two letters of recommendation, their official transcripts, and a resume. A cumulative minimum 2.5 GPA is required too.

New England College View School Profile Henniker, NH 25% 78% 44% New England College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

NEC boasts more than 60 on-campus and online degrees. It serves students from 48 states and 23 countries.

The master of science in management – nonprofit leadership at NEC degree includes six core courses for the MSM and four core courses to complete the nonprofit leadership concentration. Some of those core courses include research methods, professional and organization ethics, and organizational management and leadership. Students must also complete a strategic capstone of two credits.

Required courses for the nonprofit leadership concentration include dynamics of nonprofit governance, and strategic fundraising. Applicants must have a minimum 2.75 GPA on a 4.0 scale for admission here.

Best Online Master's

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. 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.

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

$60,000

Projected Growth Rate

6%

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

$104,980

Projected Growth Rate

6%

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

$65,320

Projected Growth Rate

13%

Legislators

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

$24,670

Projected Growth Rate

5%

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.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

true 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.

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