Online Nonprofit Management Schools

How to Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Nonprofit Management Online

Pursuing a nonprofit management bachelor's degree online prepares graduates to take on important roles throughout nonprofit organizations. Degree-holders can work in countless industries and sectors to give back to the public, and as more individuals come to rely on nonprofit services, roles in this field are expected to grow substantially in the coming years. The online format of these programs also makes it easy for busy students to balance their studies alongside personal and professional responsibilities. This guide covers common courses, available jobs and average salaries, frequently asked questions, and available scholarships.

How Much Can You Make in a Nonprofit Management Career?

Graduates of online nonprofit management school bachelor's degrees qualify for a wide spectrum of roles. Whether you aspire to work in a university setting, at a nonprofit focused on serving foster youth, or for an innovative community newspaper, there are plenty of jobs to meet your passions and interests. It's important to remember that no degree alone guarantees a career or salary; some positions may require additional education and/or certification. Jobs highlighted in the section below are commonly held by graduates of bachelor's in nonprofit management degrees.

Fundraising Manager

Fundraising managers help organizations meet annual monetary goals by creating fundraising events, reaching out to existing and potential donors, applying for grants, and working with community members to develop activities that bring money into the nonprofit. They also oversee other fundraising support staff.

Median Annual Salary: $114,800

Job Growth (2016-2026): 8%

Social and Community Services Manager

These professionals work on the programming side of things. They liaise with local neighborhood stakeholders to identify necessary programs and services before working to develop and implement them in the community. They also work with staff, volunteers, and vendors to ensure new programs have the support they need, as well as determine the levels of effectiveness and identify any areas of improvement.

Median Annual Salary: $65,320

Job Growth (2016-2026): 13%

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers bring awareness to their nonprofits through innovative digital and print campaigns. They plan promotional calendars, work with vendors to design graphics and other needs, negotiate contracts, work with members of the press to get stories out, develop and monitor budgets, carry out market research studies, and oversee marketing support staff.

Median Annual Salary: $132,620

Job Growth (2016-2026): 8%

Financial Manager

Financial managers ensure the companies they serve maintain financial health. They create financial statements and forecasts, work with individual departments to develop budgets, explore ways to reduce costs, liaise with C-level staff about important financial decisions, and oversee financial reporting and budgeting staff members.

Median Annual Salary: $127,990

Job Growth (2016-2026): 16%

Executive Director

Executive directors sit at the top of their nonprofits; they manage strategic planning and oversee the overall direction of the organization. They liaise with other departmental heads to ensure each is working effectively, report to the board of directors about organizational activities, set new policies and procedures, and meet with important donors to encourage financial support.

Median Annual Salary: $104,980

Job Growth (2016-2026): 6%

As you review the data in the previous table, it's important to remember that salary packages can vary greatly based on a number of factors. Salary consideration can include the level of degree attained, amount of experience, industry, and geographic location. In particular, location can make a significant difference: data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that social and community managers average wages of $101,360 per year -- significantly more than the national average of $65,320. States currently employing the largest concentration of these professionals include Vermont, Oregon, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Alaska.

What Courses Can Be Taken for an Online Nonprofit Management Degree?

Nonprofit management bachelor's degree online programs include foundational coursework designed to give students a broad knowledge of the discipline. Throughout their studies, learners cover topics in nonprofit leadership, marketing, fundraising, finance, board participation, and many other areas that help them enter entry-level roles with confidence and poise. Review the courses listed here, but check with individual schools to learn about their specific offerings.

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    Social Entrepreneurship:

    This introductory course examines how nonprofits are run as businesses, including how organizations can profit alongside their social objectives, as opposed to existing as charities wholly dependent on donations.

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    Nonprofit Leadership:

    Students learn the management skills required in the nonprofit arena, specifically when dealing with volunteers and other non-paid individuals donating their time to the cause.

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    Nonprofit Fundraising:

    This survey course looks at some of the existing and emerging trends within fundraising, with emphasis on legal aspects, capital campaigns, donor databases, and digital giving platforms.

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    Diversity in the Workplace:

    Students learn the value of creating a diversified workforce that can speak to many different experiences. This is especially valuable when serving communities that benefit from seeing themselves reflected in the staff.

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    Board Leadership:

    This class familiarizes students with the structure of boards of directors in nonprofits, specifically the role they play and how they can help with fundraising, partnership development, leadership, and community relations.

How to Choose the Best Online Nonprofit Management Program

Pursuing an online bachelor's degree in nonprofit management is a big step; it can dramatically boost your career potential, and it can take a substantial commitment of time and money. As a result, it's not unusual for students to have many questions about the process. We surveyed a number of prospective students considering this path to get a sense for their top questions. Below, you'll find answers that should help your decision-making process.

Q. What strategies should I follow in choosing my nonprofit management courses?

A. When selecting nonprofit management classes, it's important to maximize your available electives. Since the majority of bachelor's in nonprofit management require a set of core courses, using your electives wisely allows you to customize your degree to your career goals. Most universities provide an online catalog of available courses, so review those carefully before enrolling to ensure the school meets your needs.

Q. Should I have any concerns about getting this degree online?

A. Simply put: No. The nonprofit management curriculum transfers well to distance learning given that most of the degree is based on reading, interacting with fellow students, and completing assignments. All of these tasks are easily completed on a digital learning management platform.

Q. How do internships work with an online bachelor's in nonprofit management?

A. Internships work the same for online programs as they do for campus-based programs. Students who live near their university may be able to select from a list of pre-approved internship sites, while those living further away work with their program administrator and/or internship coordinator to find a suitable location near their place of residence.

Q. What should I look for when reviewing faculty profiles?

A. Faculty profiles can provide significant insight into both a professor's research interests and their level of professional experience. If you review all faculty profiles and do not come across a professor with interests similar to yours, the school may not be a great fit. Similarly, professors who went straight from completing their degrees to working in the classroom may lack real-world experience to draw from when teaching.

Q. Should I look for a specific curriculum focus?

A. The majority of nonprofit management bachelor's degree online paths do not provide specializations at this level; these are more likely during graduate programs. Even if you can't specialize, you can still use your electives to give focus to your studies. Ask the program administrator how many electives you have and make a plan as to which classes will best serve you professionally.

Q. How does a bachelor's degree in nonprofit management online help me reach my goals?

A. As discussed throughout this guide, bachelor's degrees in nonprofit management are the minimum requirement for many growing and well-paying jobs in the industry. Graduates who possess this qualification catch the attention of hiring managers who understand the type of training they received in school.

Q. Should I consider pursuing an advanced degree at an online nonprofit management school?

A. After working in the industry for a time, some individuals may question whether an advanced qualification can help them move up the professional ladder. If you're interested in roles focused on research, academics, or leadership, a master's in nonprofit management could be a great fit. These programs typically require an additional two years of study and are available as online degrees.

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Nonprofit Management Programs

Paying for online nonprofit management school at the bachelor's level is an important consideration for many prospective students due to the ever-rising costs of higher education. While it's true that some tuition rates seem prohibitive at first glance, plenty of scholarships and grants are available to help cut costs. Aside from those discussed in this section, be sure to check with local/state/federal governments, professional associations, private foundations, and colleges/universities to learn about additional funding opportunities.

Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Scholars Program

In exchange for a commitment to participate in at least eight hours of community service each week, this foundation provides learners with up to $18,000 in funding. Applicants must also demonstrate an interest in working in the nonprofit sector, maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, and be enrolled at an approved college on a full-time basis. Students apply directly to a campus partner.

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William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fellowship

Offered through the Aspen Institute Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation, this fellowship is awarded to minority students who plan to pursue a career in nonprofit management. Students must go to Washington D.C. and participate in a fellowship at the Institute; in exchange, they receive a $2,000 stipend, as well as valuable experience and the opportunity to network with nonprofit leaders in the nation's capital.

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Mendez Scholarship

Developed to assist future servant leaders, this scholarship is granted to students pursuing undergraduate business scholarships with a concentration in nonprofit management. Applicants must reach out to the foundation and introduce themselves, provide details about their course of study, offer an example of a current and ongoing example of how they are demonstrating servant leadership in their community, and provide official transcripts. Scholarship amounts vary.

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Dole Public Service Scholarship

Named in honor of Senator Robert J. Dole, this award is available for graduating high school students living in Kansas who plan to study nonprofit management. Applicants must complete at least 100 community service hours per year to maintain eligibility. They must also possess a 3.0 GPA or higher, and attend one of six approved colleges or universities in Kansas. Award amounts vary by year.

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