Most Affordable Online Master’s in Nonprofit Management Programs 2021

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A degree in nonprofit management trains graduates for careers as nonprofit directors, nonprofit financial managers, and fundraising managers. In these roles, professionals increase their responsibilities and earning potential. For example, social and community service managers earn a median annual salary of over $67,000 with much faster than average projected job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Our ranking lists the most affordable online master’s in nonprofit management programs for 2021. Prospective learners can use the list to identify the best fit for their budget and career goals. This page also introduces common nonprofit management master’s degree courses and scholarships for nonprofit management students.

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Top 10 Online Master’s in Nonprofit Management Programs


  • Q. What can I do with a master's in nonprofit management?

    A master’s in nonprofit management prepares graduates for roles including nonprofit director, nonprofit financial manager, or fundraising manager. Graduates also pursue leadership roles in nonprofit and public sector organizations.

  • Q. What degree is best for nonprofit work?

    A nonprofit management master’s degree offers focused training for management-level roles in the nonprofit sector. During the degree, enrollees study strategic planning, resource development, and nonprofit leadership.

  • Q. What is nonprofit management?

    Nonprofit management trains professionals for leadership roles in nonprofit organizations. The field includes financial training, organizational leadership skills, and fundraising management.

  • Q. Can you make a living working for a nonprofit?

    Yes; the average nonprofit annual salary exceeds $58,000, according to March 2021 PayScale data. Directors, managers, and other supervisory professionals earn even higher salaries.

Why Get a Degree in Nonprofit Management?

A degree in nonprofit management gives graduate students advanced training for nonprofit leadership roles. A master’s degree offers several personal and professional benefits.

In a nonprofit management master’s degree, learners specialize in areas including financial management, organizational leadership, and policy advocacy. These specializations train graduates for focused career paths.
An online nonprofit management program prioritizes flexibility. Degree-seekers arrange their coursework around other responsibilities, including work. The format makes it easier to complete a master’s degree.
Career Advancement
A master’s degree offers leadership training. Graduate training prepares nonprofit professionals for roles such as nonprofit manager, fundraising manager, and nonprofit finance manager.
The distance learning format makes a master’s in nonprofit management more accessible. Instead of relocating, prospective applicants research top programs in their focus area and enroll from their home state.
Increased Earning Potential
Professionals with a master’s degree earn higher salaries than bachelor’s degree-holders. A nonprofit management master’s degree often yields higher earning potential.

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Courses in Nonprofit Management

A master’s in nonprofit management prepares graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary for nonprofit leadership positions. The curriculum covers topics such as nonprofit leadership, nonprofit financial management, and fundraising management. Graduate students learn about strategic planning and resource development.

Nonprofit management degree-seekers may specialize their training by choosing electives in nonprofit finance, fundraising, or public affairs. Enrollees may complete an internship or master’s project to gain real-world experience. This section introduces common courses during a master’s degree in nonprofit management. While the exact courses vary by school, many programs include the following options.

  • Nonprofit Leadership

    With a master’s degree, nonprofit management professionals move into leadership roles, including director and supervisory positions. This course covers nonprofit leadership theories, organizational leadership skills, and the practical application of leadership training. Learners develop a leadership style based on their background and career goals.

  • Nonprofit Financial Management

    Topics in this course include learning financial rules for nonprofits, reporting financial documents, and planning fiscal resources. Students learn about management control systems, financial terminology, and financial accounting. The course builds strong analytical skills while preparing graduates for financial management positions.

  • Fundraising Management

    Fundraising managers help nonprofit organizations raise funds and operate. This course examines approaches to fundraising, including the best practices and techniques for fundraising managers. Students also study fundraising campaigns, donor events, organizational management, and ethical issues. The class prepares graduates for careers as fundraising managers.

  • Strategic Planning

    Strategic planning courses prepare graduate students for leadership and managerial roles in nonprofit organizations. Learners examine organizational missions, stakeholder communications, and the strategic planning process. The class examines challenges in strategic planning. Enrollees learn how to develop strategic plans based on the organization’s needs and goals.

  • Resource Development

    Nonprofit organizations rely on resource development to obtain financial support and manage their financial resources. In this course, learners study philanthropy and development, including the process of finding sources, cultivating donors, and soliciting donations. Graduate students design a resource development plan to build career-ready skills.

Certifications and Licensure for Nonprofit Management

Professional certifications help nonprofit management graduates stand out in the job market. Professionals gain specialized skills by pursuing endorsement as a certified nonprofit professional, project management professional, or certified fundraising professional. A master’s degree in nonprofit management meets the education requirement for these certifications, which also require an examination.

Certified Nonprofit Professional

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance offers the CNP credential, providing a national endorsement for nonprofit managers and other professionals. Candidates earn the certification through their master’s program or by pursuing a workforce track. The CNP exam tests candidates on their nonprofit expertise in a 100-question short answer format.

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Project Management Professional

The PMP credential demonstrates experience in project management. Applicants need a four-year degree, three years of project management experience, and 35 hours of project management education or training. Candidates must pass an exam and meet continuing education requirements to maintain their credential.

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Certified Fund Raising Executive

The CFRE credential recognizes experienced fundraising applicants who follow ethical practices in philanthropic fundraising. Applicants need a mix of education, work experience, and professional performance to qualify for the credential and take the exam. Applicants with a master’s in nonprofit management receive points toward their eligibility.

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Scholarships for Nonprofit Management Students

Nonprofit management students qualify for multiple scholarship opportunities, including scholarships for general business degrees. Professional associations, private foundations, and other organizations offer scholarships to support nonprofit management degree-seekers. In addition to the following opportunities, learners should research scholarships based on their university, state, or career goals.

  • Foundation for Community Association Research Byron Hanke Fellowship

    Who Can Apply: The Foundation offers the fellowship that supports graduate students working on development and management issues related to communities or community associations. Applicants must attend an accredited institution.

    Amount: $3,000-$5,000

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  • Professional Convention Management Association Continuing Education Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Graduate students pursuing careers in the business events industry qualify for the scholarship. In addition to a tuition award, recipients receive PCMA membership for one year.

    Amount: $3,500

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  • Prospanica Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Prospanica Foundation supports Hispanic or Latino students earning a business degree, including nonprofit management graduate students. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA and hold Prospanica membership.

    Amount: Up to $5,000

    Explore Here

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Nonprofit Management Programs 2021

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