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Online Non Profit Management Degree

Non profit organizations rely on good managers to create positive change while making ends meet. Online non profit management degree programs teach skills specific to this environment, from leading teams to achieving financial transparency. An estimated 1.4 million non profit institutions operate in the U.S. today, according to the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. Some focus on delivering health services, others on education and research, social and legal services, or the arts.

Non profit managers generally specialize in a program type or a particular role. Responsibilities could include overseeing daily operations, directing a long-range strategic vision, and transforming grants and donations into positive results. Managers may interact with clients, other non profits, and public or community groups; handle media communications and fundraising activities or events; conduct research on program effectiveness; and work with a Board of Directors.

Non profit management education and training

Many choices are available for online non profit management degrees. Academic programs include these:

  • Associate in non profit management
  • B.S. in public administration or non profit management
  • Master of Public Administration, or MPA
  • MBA in non profit management

The associate degree is a minimum qualification for management roles, and employers may prefer a bachelor's degree or higher. Professionals in the field seeking career advancement can consider an MPA or specialized MBA. The MPA emphasizes the unique challenges of a public non profit environment, while the MBA focuses on broad business skills with some targeted elective courses.

Career outlook and salary

Careers in this field offer many rewards, not always financial, and the days can be long. Diverse job titles include development director, program analyst, program manager, research associate, community outreach coordinator, finance director, director of information systems and public relations specialist. Salaries vary based on responsibility and program type.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that an administrative manager in a local government agency earned an annual mean salary of $80,560 in 2010. A September 2011 GuideStar report, published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, calculates that the median pay for non profit chief executives ranges from $41,800 for small-budget organizations, below $250,000, to $422,381 for the largest non profits -- those with budgets of more than $50 million. The 2010 Charity Navigator non profit salary survey found a median salary of $147,273 for all CEOs.

The non profit sector has seen an overall staffing decline, as shown by a Mercadien Group survey, but in 2011, many organizations cited flat or increasing revenues and capital spending. Health care and social service organizations had the highest growth expectations heading into 2012, according to Mercadien. The survey showed the importance of management and human resources skills in this arena, as more than 90 percent of respondents said that finding and retaining good people was a top goal for the future.

Non-profit Management Schools

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