Best Online Nonprofit Management Programs

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Best Online Bachelor's Programs in Nonprofit Management

Nonprofits are critical lifelines for their communities — but they don’t have enough workers to provide their key services.

Demand for nonprofit workers is high as organizations face shortages: Nearly 3 in 4 nonprofits reported job vacancies in a 2023 National Council of Nonprofits survey. Many of those vacancies were in program and service delivery positions, and more than 10% of nonprofits reported senior management vacancies.

A nonprofit management degree can prepare students to step into leadership roles at nonprofits and help address that workforce shortage. Nonprofit managers serve a wide range of organizations, from food banks to shelters and other nonprofit groups, and help them deliver important services to their communities.

That field is growing — the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for social and community services managers to grow by 9% over the next decade, a much faster pace than average. Read on to learn more about nonprofit management programs and find the best fit for you.

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 can't pursue additional specializations, and students often complete foundational business coursework before delving into information specific to the nonprofit sector.

Featured Online Nonprofit Management Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Nonprofit Management Programs of 2024

We use trusted sources like Peterson's Data and the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#1 Best Online Nonprofit Management Programs

Cleary University

  • Howell, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $965

Out-of-State | $1,256

Credits to Graduate: 122

The bachelor of science in public and nonprofit administration offered by Western Michigan University is a flexible program that prepares students for careers in public and nonprofit organizations. Graduates can work in government agencies, hospitals, schools, and other fields. In the program, students learn the theory and practice of public service and the various functions of the public and nonprofit sectors.

There are 33 required hours of coursework within the major, including three credits for the completion of a capstone project.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$21,630
Out-of-state
$21,630
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,088
Out-of-state
$16,088
Retention Rate
50%
Acceptance Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
751
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Best Online Nonprofit Management Programs

North Park University

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $630

Out-of-State | $630

Credits to Graduate: 120

A bachelor's degree in nonprofit management from North Park University provides students with a foundation in the essential functions of nonprofit management, including organizational change, finance and budgeting, fundraising, and board governance. The program places a focus on the ethical, organizational, and environmental challenges that nonprofits face.

Graduates are prepared for a variety of careers in nonprofit management, social work, human resources, business administration, and more. Classes may be taken in person, online, or in a hybrid format. New classes begin every two months, and accelerated options are available. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$32,380
Out-of-state
$32,380
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,004
Out-of-state
$14,004
Retention Rate
70%
Acceptance Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
2,749
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#3 Best Online Nonprofit Management Programs

Western Michigan University

  • Kalamazoo, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $812

Out-of-State | $812

Credits to Graduate: 120

In Cleary University's BBA in nonprofit management program, students learn to increase the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations through the use of leadership, fundraising, management, and nonprofit strategy skills. The program focuses specifically on developing students for roles as executive directors and development, public relations, and operations managers in nonprofit settings. 

Upon graduation, students are prepared for a range of careers in religious leadership, volunteer and program coordination, fundraising and donor development, grant writing, and more. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,850
Out-of-state
$17,313
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$17,539
Out-of-state
$26,308
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
17,835
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

Ranking Methodology Summary

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To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Nonprofit Management Program?

  • Minus

    Public Administration

    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.
  • Minus

    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.
  • Minus

    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.
  • Minus

    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.
  • Minus

    Human Resource Management in the Public Sector

    This survey course delves into human resources specializations — including recruiting, onboarding, training, compensation, and evaluation — within the context of public and nonprofit agencies.

Featured Online Nonprofit Management Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Nonprofit Management

Since most nonprofit management students also gain foundational business administration knowledge, they can qualify for careers in both the nonprofit and private sectors. And while 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, careers in public relations, and social services careers. According to Payscale data from March 2024, nonprofit program coordinators, who are entry-level employees in the field, earn an average annual salary of $49,250.

With experience, nonprofit professionals can advance into managerial and supervisory roles, where they can benefit from significant demand. For example, the BLS projects 9% job growth for social and community services managers between 2022 and 2032.

Career Paths

Social and Human Service Assistant

Social and human service assistants supporting social workers and rehabilitation specialists. They may help clients find assistance with activities of daily living or complete applications for Medicaid or SNAP programs. These entry-level professionals typically work for local government agencies, nursing homes, or family support organizations.

  • Median Annual Salary (May 2023): $41,410

Nonprofit Program Coordinator

Program coordinators serve as the face and voice of the organization to the population they intend to serve. These junior-level professionals may provide services directly, manage volunteers, or work with board members. Program coordinators can eventually compete for jobs as national program managers or executive directors.

  • Average Annual Salary (March 2024): $49,250

Nonprofit Executive Director

Executive directors serve as the CEOs of nonprofit organizations. They spearhead fundraising campaigns, oversee budgets, and supervise and direct staff and volunteers. They also recruit new employees and serve as the voice of the organization. Executive directors report to the governing board.

  • Average Annual Salary (March 2024): $74,640

Social and Community Services Manager

Social and community service managers supervise programs that benefit the public. These professionals work with communities to identify necessary services, raise money to support the services, oversee public awareness campaigns, and provide administrative support. This role may require a bachelor's degree plus work experience or a master's degree.

  • Median Annual Salary (May 2023): $77,030

Fundraising Manager

Fundraising managers lead campaigns that bring money into their organizations. They may devise fundraising strategies, meet donors face-to-face, apply for grants, and manage other fundraising staff. These professionals typically hold a bachelor's degree or master's degree and may have earned a Certified Fund Raising Executive designation.

  • Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $130,480

Continuing Education

Gaining experience in the field is the most important form of additional education for working nonprofit professionals with a bachelor's degree. However, they can also pursue a master's degree 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 pursue a graduate certificate in nonprofit management. These programs usually require 12-18 credits and take one year or less to complete.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor’s in Nonprofit Management Degrees

Can you make six figures working at a nonprofit?

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Pay for nonprofit managers varies based on position, experience, and location. According to the BLS, nonprofit managers earned a median annual salary of $77,030 in May 2023.

Is a degree in nonprofit management worth it?

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A degree in nonprofit management can lead students to impactful work at a wide range of organizations, including community food banks, organizations that help people find housing, and many other kinds of nonprofit organizations that offer a wide range of services across the country.

What is the best certification for a nonprofit professional?

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The best certification for a nonprofit progressional depends on a specific organization's needs. A number of universities and organizations offer nonprofit leadership and fundraising certifications to prepare students to lead and manage their organizations, but students could also pursue certifications in areas like finance, or even high-demand fields like data management, to better serve their organization.

What is the hardest part of running a nonprofit?

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There are a number of challenges to running a nonprofit organization, with each organization having its own unique roadblocks. Fundraising and securing grants is an almost universal challenge for nonprofits as they look to provide services to their communities.

What types of nonprofits make the most money?

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Feeding America, Good 360, United Way, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Direct Relief topped the most recent Forbes list of the largest U.S. charities.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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