Online Nonprofit Management Bachelor's Degree

Nonprofit organizations work to make the world a better place. These public charities and private foundations focus on diverse issues within their communities, helping to provide services, educate the community, and support research and advocacy. While these organizations focus on the public good, they need effective leadership to accomplish their goals.

Earning a nonprofit management degree online prepares graduates to tackle business problems and carefully manage donations to provide accountability to their supporters. Leadership positions may include fundraising and development directors, social service managers, or top executives. Use this guide to learn more about the exciting, fulfilling careers available when you earn a degree in nonprofit management online.

What is a Job in Nonprofit Management Like?

Nonprofit management can include business careers like accounting, marketing, or strategic leadership. However, instead of selling goods or services, the organization focuses on community or global issues, such as healthcare access, safe and affordable housing, youth development and mentoring, or arts and culture. Every day, thousands of nonprofits work to serve their communities. A career in nonprofit management allows you to combine your desire to help with your career goals.

Nonprofit organizations may be public charities or private foundations. They operate in cities large and small and may affiliate with public agencies, such as schools, or work with nongovernment agencies, like religious organizations. Examples of nonprofit organizations include community hospitals, local animal welfare organizations, and national entities like the American Cancer Society or United Way.

Leaders must ensure their organizations keep accurate financial records to report to their donors and maintain tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They also need to make sound business decisions about funding, grants, programs, and services. Often, nonprofit organizations operate on limited budgets and need leaders able to identify efficiencies and prioritize needs. Leaders must also make smart investment decisions to ensure the organization remains strong for years to come.

Earning your bachelor's degree in nonprofit management online includes an interdisciplinary curriculum with core business classes. Students learn about business ethics, financial reporting, and business leadership. The curriculum complements these core courses with courses in volunteer recruitment and management, fundraising and donor development, and grant writing. Nonprofits require the support of dedicated volunteers willing to give their time, talent, and funds to help organizations accomplish their goals.

What Can I Do with an Online Nonprofit Management Bachelor's Degree?

Earning an accredited nonprofit management degree online prepares you to take on leadership roles within nonprofit organizations. Because the curriculum focuses on leadership, the skills and knowledge you gain can help you excel in many industries and careers. Electives and a related minor can tailor your degree to a specific sector, like healthcare or human services, or position, like marketing and development. Read on to learn about the skills and knowledge you can gain and the careers and earning potential available after graduation.

Skills & Knowledge Gained

Colleges offering top nonprofit management online degrees deliver curricula that encompass business and management skills with special classes focused on nonprofit management. Courses introduce students to theories of business management and strategic leadership while assignments offer the opportunity for practical learning. Business courses teach students how to read a balance sheet, file paperwork, and build relationships -- a vital skill no matter your field -- through online discussions, group projects, internships, and practicums. Students also develop decision-making and problem-solving skills that consider business needs and ethics.

Writing and communication skills are invaluable in this career. Nonprofit managers often serve as community ambassadors for their organizations, speaking to civic organizations, government bodies, and community stakeholders. They may give media interviews, write newsletters, or talk with potential donors. Courses in business and strategic communications, public relations, and marketing help develop your writing and speaking ability. These courses also develop skills in advertising and promotion, often using digital technology and social media along with traditional media outlets.

Nonprofit managers often juggle competing priorities. They need top-notch organizational skills and time-management skills. Managers must also be able to collaborate with others and delegate tasks effectively, ensuring they have the time and ability to take on upper-level planning. Employers across every industry seek these skills, so demonstrating how your degree prepared you for these tasks can help you succeed no matter your career choice.

Many nonprofit management degree online schools also offer the chance to tailor your courses to your interests. Electives and minors allow students to hone their skills for a specific industry, like healthcare or social services. These specializations give students a better understanding of the policies and practices within the industry and help them identify areas where nonprofit organizations can make an impact.

Careers & Salary Potential

The business knowledge you acquire and the organizational and leadership skills you build during your online bachelor's degree in nonprofit management apply to many positions within nonprofit and corporate enterprises. Consider the industries you wish to work in, such as social services or education. You may also prefer working with donors, managing communications, or developing overall goals and strategic plans. Tailor your coursework, internships, and volunteer efforts to those preferences. Below are a few examples of nonprofit specialty areas.

  • Social Services/Human Services: This industry encompasses services that help people improve their living situations. Organizations focus on areas like affordable housing, job training, or addiction intervention. They may help families with food or direct support to pay unexpected bills.
  • Healthcare: Healthcare nonprofit organizations provide care to patients or focus on specific populations or illnesses. Operations may include mobile health clinics for medically underserved communities or educating the community on health concerns, like obesity and smoking.
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: Cultural organizations, like community theaters or museums, rely on both general ticket sales and the support of donors. Many of these institutions promote youth activities and education and provide economic benefits for their communities.
  • Adoption/Foster Care Services: Children seeking adoptive or foster families often require a variety of support services. Nonprofit organizations can help raise funds to provide basic household items, such as children's furniture and toys, or connect families with counseling services.
  • Education: Education nonprofits support innovation in teaching methods or assist high-need schools, especially those struggling to meet academic standards. Nonprofits can also provide grants to support teacher training, scholarships for future teachers, or advocacy for education reform.
Nonprofit Director

Annual Median Salary: $65,500

Directors serve as chief executive officers (CEOs) for nonprofit organizations. They handle day-to-day operations, set organizational goals and strategic plans, and work closely with the board of directors. They also recruit and manage staff.

Director of Development

Annual Median Salary: $64,000

These executives handle the fundraising activities of nonprofit organizations. They identify funding sources, including individual donors, grants, or government funding. Development directors also identify marketing opportunities to promote their organizations, increase public support, and solicit donations.

Grant Writer

Annual Median Salary: $48,000

Grant writers research and apply for funding opportunities through private philanthropic foundations, government agencies, or other funding sources. They must tailor each grant application to specific grant criteria. They also track project data and report on grant activities.

Communications Manager

Annual Median Salary: $64,000

Communications managers develop overall communication strategies utilizing traditional and new media, including social media. They write press releases and work with journalists to promote their organizations, advocacy efforts, and events.

Volunteer Coordinator

Annual Median Salary: $38,500

Volunteer coordinators recruit individuals interested in donating their time to organizational projects. They also handle orientations, including safety talks or training, and may schedule volunteers to work at specific times.