Best Online MBA in Nonprofit Management Programs of 2021

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By Staff Writers

Reviewed by Krystal Covington, MBA

Published on August 24, 2021

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Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

Earning an MBA in nonprofit management allows graduates to take on high-level management roles in a variety of nonprofit settings. Whether a student plans to work as a chief financial officer, a fundraising director, or a marketing manager, these programs can help them achieve these goals.

Program costs can vary substantially, with online MBA in nonprofit management programs typically costing less and requiring fewer related costs, such as transportation, campus-based fees, and student housing. Most programs take two years to complete. Students can finish an accelerated program in 10-16 months.

Read on to learn about MBA in nonprofit management programs, common coursework, and job prospects.

Still unsure about your MBA college choice? Check out our overall Best Online MBA Programs.

Related Non-Profit Management Programs That Might Interest You

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

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What Is an MBA in Nonprofit Management?

MBA in nonprofit management programs typically take two years to complete. The curriculum covers topics in management, finance, marketing, and accounting and includes specialized coursework in nonprofit management principles.

Students participate in group-based projects, write research papers, and work in student-consultant roles with nonprofits on class assignments. Many business schools also require students to participate in summer internships, allowing them to build relevant skills prior to graduation.

What Can I Expect From an Online MBA in Nonprofit Management Program?

Online MBA in nonprofit management programs provide students with the specialized knowledge needed to run socially-focused ventures that improve some aspect of our communities. After completing all core classes, students focus their efforts on topics specific to nonprofit ventures.

Degree-seekers looking for an option that works with busy personal and professional schedules often decide to pursue an online program. These degrees also allow learners to cast their nets wider geographically when looking at prospective schools.

Example MBA in Nonprofit Management Courses

Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations Social Venture Management Economics and Metrics for Sustainability Strategic Fundraising Accounting and Financial Controls for Nonprofit Organization

What are Admission Requirements for an MBA in Nonprofit Management Program?

Many online MBA in nonprofit management programs set rigorous admission requirements to ensure quality candidates and eventual graduates. Applicants should plan to complete several different steps to secure admission.

Test Scores

Some online MBA in nonprofit management programs require applicants to submit GMAT scores or GRE scores, though some allow learners to bypass this requirement if they possess a higher GPA. At The University of Portland, for example, plan to provide a GMAT score of 500 or higher to receive serious consideration.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation help schools get a better sense of how others see applicants and learn more about their strengths and weaknesses. Students should request these well in advance of the deadline to ensure recommenders can take time to consider the individual before writing about them.

Resume

Many online MBA in nonprofit management programs require an updated resume that highlights previous and current work experience, volunteerism, and special participation. Given the nonprofit focus, some programs may accept volunteer work in exchange for previous professional experience in the discipline.

Essays

While undergraduate essays focus on getting a sense of who the student hopes to become, graduate essays focus more on professional goals. Many schools ask for a statement of purpose that outlines how a student plans to use their degree and why they feel a specific MBA in nonprofit management program best suits their needs.

Official Transcripts

All MBA in nonprofit management programs require applicants to submit official transcripts from any schools previously attended. In addition to confirming prerequisites, these forms also confirm GPA. Some schools may also accept transfer credits, and official transcripts identify which classes a student previously took.

What Can I Do With an MBA in Nonprofit Management Degree?

Earning an online MBA in nonprofit management provides the skills and credentials needed to work in high-level managerial and leadership roles within companies focused on specific causes and/or populations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 9% job growth for fundraising and public relations managers between 2019 and 2029.

Some programs also provide the opportunity to further specialize knowledge. Students can often pursue the following concentrations:

Healthcare Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation International NGOs Education Environmental Management
true Fundraising Manager

Because many nonprofits rely on donations for at least a portion of their budget, fundraising managers ensure donors continue giving. They arrange fundraising events, meet with potential donors, create fundraising strategies, and apply for grants from public and private entities. They also oversee other fundraising staff.

Median Annual Salary: $118,430

Top Executive

Nonprofit CEOs oversee other leaders in the company and provide strategic goals for the organization as a whole. They meet with the board regularly to report on growth and earnings, create long-term plans for the future of the organization, and meet with high-level potential donors.

Median Annual Salary: $107,680

Administrative Services and Facilities Manager

Within a nonprofit setting, these professionals oversee the administrative and operational staff, ensure they receive necessary training, and develop policies to help streamline work. On the facilities front, they ensure the organization's building and campus meet security requirements and are well-maintained.

Median Annual Salary: $98,890

Human Resources Manager

HR managers oversee staff across the lifespan of their employment, participating in processes, such as recruitment, hiring, training, and disciplinary action. These professionals also develop and manage the benefits system for employees and consult on human resources issues within the company.

Median Annual Salary: $121,220

Financial Manager

Financial managers make sure nonprofit organizations remain financially viable and healthy. They accomplish these goals by monitoring financial documents and consulting on long-term financial decisions.

Median Annual Salary: $134,180

Nonprofit Management Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Business Management Careers Finance Careers Marketing Careers

Is an MBA in Nonprofit Management Worth It?

Earning an MBA in nonprofit management offers a great fit for students who know they want to use their business skills to improve the world. The return on investment for this particular degree varies based on the school a student attends, what role they fill, and where they work.

While a general MBA provides all the business skills required at many for-profit companies, the nonprofit management specialization emphasizes the knowledge and skills needed within nonprofit structures.

Students on a tight budget may decide to pursue a different educational path, such as a graduate certificate or certification course in nonprofit management. They may also decide to work toward their MBA in nonprofit management on a part-time basis so they can spread the cost of the degree across a longer timeframe.

Why Get an MBA in Nonprofit Management Instead of a Master's in Nonprofit Management?

With both nonprofit management MBAs and master's programs available, students should consider which best serves their professional interests. An MBA is a more expansive degree, covering foundational business topics, such as finance, marketing, economics, and accounting alongside specialized studies in nonprofit management.

A master's in nonprofit management, conversely, focuses exclusively on the field and provides more in-depth knowledge about the nonprofit world itself. Degree-seekers who feel conflicted about which option to choose can look into dual MBA/master's in nonprofit management programs to get the best of both worlds.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

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How Do I Choose an MBA in Nonprofit Management Program?

true Cost

According to data compiled by BestColleges, the top 25 online MBA programs currently charge an average tuition rate of about $70,000, but students can find far cheaper options. If looking for a cost-effective option, consider public schools rather than private institutions. Attend a school that offers in-state tuition rates for residents and/or online learners.

Program Format

Online MBA in nonprofit management programs come in various forms these days, making it easy for busy students to find an option that fits their needs. Factors to consider include whether to enroll in a synchronous or asynchronous program and whether a full-time, part-time, or accelerated format works best with personal and professional responsibilities.

Location

Students who plan to enroll in an online MBA in nonprofit management program may decide to look at options further afield, but they still need to consider on-campus requirements before enrolling. Some MBAs require attendance at several intensives over the course of the program.

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities after graduation must play a central role in the decision-making process, specifically when looking at career resources offered by the program. Some of the factors to consider include whether the school works with corporate recruiters and the placement rate after graduation.

Programmatic Accreditation

Failing to attend a properly accredited online MBA in nonprofit management can result in trouble finding work after graduation, so make sure all your prospective schools are accredited. Seek out 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.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

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

2021 Best Accredited Online MBA in Nonprofit Management Programs

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Liberty University View School Profile Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University's online MBA in nonprofit leadership and management equips students with the skills needed to head a nonprofit organization. The program is a good fit for working professionals, as it eliminates all in-person requirements.

Comprising 45 credits, the curriculum covers subjects in workforce planning and employment, nonprofit management, and grant acquisition and management. Full-time students can complete the program within two years.


Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Program Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • Cost-per-credit: $565
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 45 credit hours
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private

Liberty University is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Trevecca Nazarene University View School Profile Nashville, TN

Trevecca's online MBA in nonprofit management program prepares graduates to run a nonprofit organization from a business perspective.

Students who enroll in the standard program graduate in 22 months. They can also pursue an accelerated program, which takes 15 months to complete. While the traditional route gives students the option to study either fully online or in person one night a week, learners who choose the accelerated option never need to visit campus in Nashville, Tennessee.


Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost-per-credit: $563
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credit hours
  • Program Length: 15-22 months
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private

Trevecca Nazarene University is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Johnson & Wales University View School Profile Providence, RI

Johnson & Wales' online MBA in nonprofit management is perfect for students who want to gain the skills needed to lead a nonprofit organization. This hybrid program requires that students take their MBA foundation, core, and capstone courses on campus. Distance learners complete nonprofit management concentration courses online.

The program requires 36-42 credits. Full-time students can graduate in around two years. Nonprofit management courses include business policy, theory and practice of nonprofit management, and social entrepreneurship.


Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Cost-per-credit: $786
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private

Johnson & Wales University is accredited by New England Commission on Higher Education.

Concordia University - Wisconsin View School Profile Mequon, WI

CUW's 36-credit online MBA in nonprofit management and leadership at Concordia University is a great choice for working students. The program delivers coursework asynchronously and does not include in-person requirements.

Students choose five courses out of 15 that center around nonprofit management, including legal issues in nonprofit organizations, financial management for nonprofits, nonprofit grant writing, and publicity and public relations. Applicants must submit a one-page essay, a resume, and two letters of recommendation. Prospective students do not need to submit GRE scores.


Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Program Accreditation: International Accreditation Council for Business Education
  • Cost-per-credit: $760
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private

Concordia University - Wisconsin is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.

Cairn University - Langhorne View School Profile Langhorne, PA

Designed for working professionals, Cairn's online MBA in nonprofit management program offers modular scheduling to allow students to keep their jobs while enrolled. Incoming learners may also receive credit for previous work experience and coursework.

Cairn's MBA program is offered completely online and takes around 20 months to complete for full-time students. The program's curriculum comprises 42 credits. All students complete a capstone project during their final semester.


Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Program Accreditation: International Accreditation Council for Business Education
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 42 credits
  • Program Length: 20 months
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private

Cairn University - Langhorne is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Lakeland University View School Profile Plymouth, WI

Lakeland's online MBA in nonprofit management program is perfect for students who want to help run a nonprofit organization from a business perspective. The nonprofit leadership concentration consists of three core courses, including strategic planning for nonprofit organizations, foundation of nonprofit leadership, and role of nonprofit organizations in public policy.

Admission requirements include a cumulative 2.75 GPA, a minimum GMAT score of 500, and a "C" or better in economics, statistics, finance, and accounting courses.


Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost-per-credit: $687
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 semester hours
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private

Lakeland University is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.

Bushnell University View School Profile Eugene, OR

Perfect for working adults, Bushnell University's online MBA in nonprofit management program does not include any in-person requirements. With six starts per year and no GMAT or GRE requirements, this program makes it as convenient as possible for students to advance their education.

The 36-credit curriculum includes relevant courses in volunteer leadership, marketing strategy, leadership and mission fulfillment, and operations and service management. Applicants without a 3.0 minimum undergraduate GPA can seek conditional admission.


Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Program Accreditation: International Accreditation Council for Business Education
  • Cost-per-credit: $710
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 12-24 months
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private

Bushnell University is accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Lindenwood University View School Profile Saint Charles, MO

Learners who enroll in Lindenwood's online MBA in nonprofit management program can choose to study online, in-person, or in a hybrid format. Courses in fundraising and revenue generation, volunteer management, and nonprofit governance and law provide students with the foundation they need for high-level work within a nonprofit organization.

Students can expect to take 33-51 credits before graduating. The university offers courses in eight-week terms, with five terms per academic year.


Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Program Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • Cost-per-credit: $525
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 33 credit hours
  • Program Length: 15-36 months
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private

Lindenwood University is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.

New England College View School Profile Henniker, NH

NEC's online MBA in nonprofit leadership prepares graduates to work in management positions in nonprofit organizations, social work, and other community-centered organizations. The program consists of seven four-credit core courses and three four-credit concentration courses, taking 20 months to complete at a full-time pace.

Nonprofit leadership concentration courses include dynamics of nonprofit governance, strategic fundraising, and grant writing and project management. Applicants to this program are not required to submit GMAT or GRE scores.


Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 40 credits
  • Program Length: 20 months
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private

New England College is accredited by New England Commission on Higher Education.

SUNY Empire State College View School Profile Saratoga Springs, NY

ESC's online MBA in nonprofit management provides graduates a foundation in business principles that fit the needs of nonprofit organizations. The 36-credit program does not include any in-person requirements, perfect for adult students. Full-time students can expect to graduate within 20 months.

In addition to foundational MBA courses, nonprofit management students take courses in strategic marketing for nonprofit organizations, planning for public and nonprofit organizations, and managerial economics.


Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private

SUNY Empire State College is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Frequently Asked Questions About MBA in Nonprofit Management Programs

Is an MBA in nonprofit management program hard to get into?

It depends on the programs. Top-ranked programs maintain more rigorous admission requirements than most other MBA programs.

What can I do with an MBA in nonprofit management?

Completing an MBA in nonprofit gives you the skills and credentials needed to seek work in a variety of nonprofit organizations. Whether you plan to seek work in education, healthcare, community development, or another area of need, an MBA in nonprofit management can help you achieve that goal.

Is nonprofit management a good career?

Nonprofit management is a great career for individuals who want to use their professional skills to help others. Nonprofit organizations work on a variety of causes, providing you with many opportunities to make a difference.

How much money can I make with an MBA in nonprofit management?

How much you earn with an MBA in nonprofit management depends on factors like the state you live in, your employer, your title, and your level of experience. Several positions highlighted earlier in this guide offer six-figure salaries for experienced professionals.

What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with an MBA in nonprofit management?

According to the BLS, financial managers earn a median annual salary of $134,180. Salaries in the nonprofit sector may be slightly lower than in for-profit ventures, but you can still make a great living.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

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Reviewed by:

Krystal Covington, MBA, is a business growth strategist with 15 years of experience in marketing and public relations. Her company, Go Lead Consulting, provides clients foundational tools to build new client and customer relationships.

Covington founded Women of Denver, one of the largest privately held membership organizations in Denver, Colorado. Her program helps women increase their business acumen, sharpen leadership skills and connect with other high-achieving women. Covington received her MBA from Western Governors University in 2012.

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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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