Best Online Nonprofit Management Programs
If you want a career helping others, a bachelor's in nonprofit management could be a good fit. This guide covers common courses and admission requirements.
Nonprofit Management Degrees Online
The adage "do good, do well" — essentially, help people while earning a decent living — is more possible than ever these days. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social and community services managers earn a median annual salary of $69,600, which far outstrips the median annual salary for all occupations ($41,950). Furthermore, the BLS projects 15% job growth for these professionals between 2020 and 2030.
Online bachelor's in nonprofit management programs often take four years to complete and can help students take advantage of this growth and salary potential. With additional experience, graduates can also pursue careers in the private sector as public relations or fundraising managers, who earn a median annual salary of $118,430, according to the BLS.
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Read on to learn more about admission requirements for these programs and potential careers for nonprofit management graduates.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Nonprofit Management Program?
Students with an altruistic streak and an aptitude for business often do well in nonprofit management programs. Nonprofit professionals should feel comfortable seeking out donations, managing budgets, and advocating for a cause. As such, extroverted, mission-driven, detail-oriented students are often good fits for bachelor's in nonprofit management programs.
Bachelor's in nonprofit management programs usually require approximately 120 credits and take about four years to complete. Students who enroll in online and accelerated programs may be able to graduate more quickly. Learners can also graduate more quickly by taking courses during each summer semester instead of just the fall and spring.
Many programs encourage students to complete internships at nonprofit organizations to gain experience in the field. Distance learners can usually arrange to complete these internships at approved sites in their own communities.
Nonprofit management is often offered as a concentration within bachelor of business administration programs. As such, nonprofit management students usually cannot pursue additional specializations, and students often complete foundational business coursework before delving into information specific to the nonprofit sector.
Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Nonprofit Management Programs
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Nonprofit Management Program?
This survey course provides learners with the foundational knowledge they need to run nonprofit and government agencies. Covered topics may include strategic planning, policymaking, law, and ethics.
Finance for the Public Sector
In this course, learners delve into finance and budgeting in governmental and nonprofit organizations. Possible topics include financial acquisition, distribution, and obligations to taxpayers and donors.
Public Policy and Strategy
This course teaches learners how to create, implement, and evaluate public policies. Students discuss accountability to nonprofit boards, governmental agencies, and citizens during policymaking.
Fundraising and Grant Writing
Fundraising and grant writing are essential tools for nonprofit development. In this course, students learn about major gifts, annual campaigns, social enterprises, technology in fundraising, and corporate philanthropy.
Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
This survey course delves into human resources functions — including recruiting, onboarding, training, compensation, and evaluation — within the context of public and nonprofit agencies.
Related Programs That Might Interest You
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Nonprofit Management Program?
Online bachelor's in nonprofit management programs generally maintain the same admission requirements as their on-campus counterparts. In addition to the materials listed below, some programs may require applicants to complete an interview.
All nonprofit management programs require prospective students to complete an application. Learners can fill out applications for most schools online. Applicants can simplify the admissions process by using the Common App to apply to multiple schools at once. If you apply to schools that don't use the Common App, you must fill out their individual applications.
Some bachelor's in nonprofit management programs require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. While more and more programs are eschewing standardized testing, some schools require prospective students to meet an ACT or SAT score cutoff to earn admission. To maximize your score, take practice tests and access online resources before test day.
Letters of Recommendation
Many bachelor's in nonprofit management programs require 2-3 letters of recommendation. For undergraduate programs, these letters should be written by former teachers. Try to choose teachers who taught classes in which you earned good grades. In a pinch, you can ask work supervisors or coaches to write letters of recommendation. Try to give your recommenders 1-2 months to write their letters.
Essays are a frequent requirement for all undergraduate programs. If you use the Common App, you can reuse the same main essay for multiple schools. However, most individual schools require their own essay prompts, so expect to write multiple essays throughout the admissions process.
If you are a first-year applicant, you must submit high school transcripts to each school you apply to. If you have already completed some college, your official transcripts can help you earn transfer credits at your new school, especially if you are transferring from a two-year community college to a four-year university.
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Nonprofit Management Degree?
Since most nonprofit management students also gain foundational business administration knowledge, they can qualify for careers in both the nonprofit and private sectors. As such, although nonprofit management is not necessarily a popular major, it can lead to a variety of jobs, since it is often linked to business.
Nonprofit management graduates can pursue careers in the nonprofit sector, business, fundraising, public relations, and social services. According to PayScale data from October 2021, nonprofit program coordinators, who are entry-level employees in the field, earn an average annual salary of $44,710.
With experience, nonprofit professionals can advance into managerial and supervisory roles, where they can benefit from significant demand. For example, the BLS projects 15% job growth for social and community services managers between 2020 and 2030.
Social and Human Service Assistant
These entry-level employees provide psychological, social work, and rehabilitative services to clients. They generally work for government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Social and human service assistants often work with children, the elderly, people managing disabilities, and veterans.
Median Annual Salary (As of May 2020): $35,960
Nonprofit Program Coordinator
Program coordinators are usually the most junior-level employees within nonprofit organizations. Often working under the supervision of a program manager, these professionals carry out the services that their nonprofit provides. They often manage volunteers and organize events.
Average Annual Salary (As of October 2021): $44,710
Nonprofit Executive Director
Executive directors are the CEOs of nonprofit organizations. They manage budgets, take an active role in fundraising, and serve as the face of the organization. They must also manage employees, report to the board of directors, and make sure the organization runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis.
Average Annual Salary (As of October 2021): $67,980
Social and Community Services Manager
These professionals lead nonprofit, social services, and mission-driven organizations. These professionals often write grants, manage budgets and employees, and analyze data to improve their programs. While graduates with a bachelor's in nonprofit management may need to gain additional experience in the field before qualifying for these roles, they generally do not need additional education.
Median Annual Salary (As of May 2020): $69,600
These professionals manage campaigns that bring in money to their organizations. They use strategies like annual campaigns, major gifts, and capital campaigns. While graduates with a bachelor's in nonprofit management do not need additional education to qualify for these positions, they do need significant fundraising experience.
Median Annual Salary (As of May 2020): $118,430
Nonprofit Management Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Gaining experience is the most important form of additional education for nonprofit professionals with a bachelor's degree in the field. However, they can also pursue master's degrees in nonprofit management to increase their salary potential and chances at managerial positions like fundraising manager, executive director, and community and social services manager.
If they don't want to commit to an entire graduate degree, nonprofit professionals can often pursue a graduate certificate in nonprofit management. These programs usually require 12-18 credits and take one year or less to complete.
How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Nonprofit Management Program?
True program cost should be an important factor when choosing between bachelor's in nonprofit management programs. While you can expect a decent return on investment if you enter the private sector, you may not make as much money working at nonprofit organizations.
As of the 2018-2019 school year, the National Center for Education Statistics calculated the average cost of undergraduate tuition, fees, and room and board at nearly $25,000. You may be able to save on tuition by enrolling in online programs, which sometimes offer in-state or discounted tuition rates to distance learners.
If you enroll in an online program, you should consider whether you want to learn synchronously or asynchronously. Synchronous programs require scheduled virtual sessions, while asynchronous programs do not. Furthermore, consider whether you have the capacity for a full-time, part-time, or accelerated program given your professional, familial, and personal commitments.
Location matters when choosing between bachelor's in nonprofit management programs, as you may qualify for in-state tuition by enrolling at an in-state school. Even if you enroll in an online program, you may want to opt for a school close to you. Your program may include limited in-person or on-campus requirements, and you may want to take advantage of local networking opportunities.
If you enroll in a business program with a nonprofit management concentration, you can look for programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Student services can make or break a program, especially an online program that involves less peer and professor interaction. Keep an eye out for advising or mentorships, tutoring, internship opportunities, career services, and alumni networking.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Nonprofit Management Programs
Is a bachelor's in nonprofit management worth it?
Yes. An online bachelor's in nonprofit management is often worth it, as graduates can pursue careers in the nonprofit sector, business, social services, and professional fundraising. Graduates of nonprofit management programs benefit from strong salary and growth potential. They can also work at mission-driven organizations that may prove both personally and financially rewarding in the long run.
What can I do with a bachelor's in nonprofit management?
Graduates with a bachelor's in nonprofit management can pursue careers in the nonprofit sector, business, fundraising, and social services. For example, bachelor's degree-holders may eventually earn positions as fundraising managers, who made a median annual salary of $118,430 in 2020, according to the BLS.
Are nonprofit management majors in high demand?
Yes. Nonprofit professionals are in high-demand at both the early-career and executive levels. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 15% job growth for social and community services managers and 17% job growth for social and human service assistants.
Keep in mind that more advanced positions often require experience in entry-level roles in the nonprofit sector. You may need to join a company at the entry level and earn promotions to advance your career. Some companies also prefer advanced degrees for managerial positions.
How much money can I make with a bachelor's in nonprofit management?
Program coordinators, who are entry-level nonprofit employees, earn an average annual salary of $44,710, according to PayScale data from October 2021. You can qualify for these positions with a bachelor's in nonprofit management.
With additional experience, you could become an executive director of a nonprofit. PayScale reports that these professionals earn an average annual salary of $67,990. Most positions that you can earn with a bachelor's in nonprofit management pay salaries that fall within this range. Keep in mind that salary potential depends on various factors, including location, title, industry, and experience.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in nonprofit management?
Graduates with a bachelor's in nonprofit management can likely make the most money by working as fundraising managers in the private sector. According to BLS data from May 2020, these professionals earn a median annual salary of $118,430. These positions may require additional education or significant experience in entry-level fundraising roles.
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