In a world that is dotted with the hustle & bustle of commerce and business, usually driven by profits, there is ample space for other sectors that are not necessarily profit-driven. MS in Nonprofit management is increasingly growing in popularity and consequently requires Nonprofit Managers to take up leadership and administrative roles in Nonprofit Organizations. Nonprofit Managers typically involve themselves in charitable donation and service. And a Master’s in Nonprofit Management online program will train students to develop new competencies, sharpen their abilities, and build and utilize a credible network of colleagues working across the nonprofit sector. Students of this program will also develop their creativity, critical skills, and communication skills and be able to devise strategies and plans to maintain and successfully address an organization’s objectives. A Master’s in Nonprofit Management will go on to shape up better individuals, who will, in turn, make the planet a better place to live in.

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Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Online Masters in Nonprofit Management Programs

With several types of degree programs and a vast majority of online  colleges offering distinct flavors of an online Masters in Nonprofit Management program, qualifying for the best is not as easy as it seems. Every college and program has its strengths and weaknesses, all of which (and more) must be carefully considered to make it to the list.

Keeping in mind the various factors such as the experience and quality of faculty, the reputation of the institution, Accreditation, infrastructure, convenience, flexibility, the structure of the program, and affordability, here are some of the best Nonprofit Management programs in the United States:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599
Texas A & M University
JKW Administration Building, Suite 200, College Station, Texas 77843
Clemson University
201 Sikes Hall, Clemson, South Carolina 29634
Indiana University, Bloomington
107 South Indiana Ave., Bloomington, Indiana 47405
West Chester University
University Avenue and High Street, West Chester, Pennsylvania 19383
University of Southern California
University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
La Salle University
1900 W Olney Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19141
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32816
CUNY Bernard M Baruch College
55 Lexington Ave at 24th St, New York, New York 10010
University of Denver
2199 S. University Blvd, Denver, Colorado 80208
Grace College and Theological Seminary
200 Seminary Dr, Winona Lake, Indiana 46590
Marywood University
2300 Adams Ave, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18509
Regis University
3333 Regis Blvd, Denver, Colorado 80221
North Park University
3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60625
Johnson & Wales University
Academic Center, 801 West Trade Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
Hope International University
2500 E Nutwood Ave, Fullerton, California 92831
Bay Path University
588 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, Massachusetts 01106
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24515
University of Houston, Downtown
1 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002
Arizona State University
1475 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85257

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Masters in Nonprofit Management Programs

An unconfirmed yet arguably legitimate study shows that the nonprofit sector is the fifth-largest economy in the world. Considering the sheer magnitude of this sector and how it addresses the societal, moral, and environmental concerns of the planet, an online master’s in Nonprofit Management will teach students to develop and demonstrate a wide range of skills across various disciplines. Along with this skill set, students will also learn how to build a network of credible people, organizations, and resources necessary to succeed in the nonprofit or any other industry.

The online master’s in Nonprofit Management concentration builds up an understanding of finance, business, planning, and evaluation. Whatever the background of the student, the certified nonprofit professional has the critical skills needed to lead diverse and complex organizations by applying concepts and strategies that can be applied to a plethora of real-world scenarios.

Masters in Nonprofit Management Degree Types

Many students are likely to assume that an MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) in Nonprofit Management is the default Masters in Nonprofit Management. This assumption is far from the truth. Nonprofit management can be taught and learned in several other avatars, such as an MNM, MA, MS, or MPA.

MNM Degree

The online master’s in Nonprofit Management or MNM degree program prepares students for a leadership position in the nonprofit sector and is best suited for those who wish to start their nonprofit organization. Areas of study include ethical leadership, advocacy, nonprofit development, project management and development and fundraising, non profit administration, community solutions and financial administration. At the end of the program, students might have to complete a professional project as well.

MS Nonprofit Management

The Master of Science or MS Nonprofit Management is an applied degree and an intersection of MBA and MPA degrees, which gets down to the technicalities of nonprofit management. MS programs rely heavily on statistical and factual data, interpretations and strategies, nonprofit developemnt, project management and research methodology to study the subject in greater detail. Areas of study include communication, stewardship, donor cultivation, and fund management (creating fundraising managers) nonprofit administration.

MA in Nonprofit Management

The Master of Arts or MA in Nonprofit Management is typically structured for individuals who are already working in the nonprofit sector with a bachelor’s degree and wish to move into a management position. The program dives deeper into nonprofit management with a multi-disciplinary approach. Areas of study include human resources, law and ethics, fundraising, revenue generation, grant writing, and program management.

MBA Nonprofit Management

The Master of Business Administration or MBA Nonprofit Management focuses on the business and commercial aspects of nonprofit management and is designed for those who already work in the nonprofit sector but lack management expertise. Areas of study include corporate financial management, business analytics, economic theory, and supply chain management.

Important: Read more about the MBA program with a concentration in Nonprofit Management, if any other degree type is not a preference.

MPA Nonprofit Management

The online master’s in Public Administration or MPA Nonprofit Management Is a theoretical degree program tailored for the community, government, public, and nonprofit leaders. MPA programs usually include elements of business management and public policy, preparing graduate students to be successful leaders in both the public and nonprofit sectors. Areas of study include public policy, sociology, and law.

Specializations in Masters in Nonprofit Management Programs

As with most Master’s programs, a Master’s in Nonprofit Management online program also offers specializations, either as subdivisions of a major or an interdisciplinary track. A specialization gives graduates in-depth knowledge within the field of study and critical skills necessary to work in a particular sub-field. Some of the options of concentrations, specializations, and majors available in Nonprofit Management degrees include but are not limited to:

  • MNM Technology
  • Masters in Philanthropy
  • Humanities and Nonprofit Management
  • Nonprofit Leadership
  • Process and Outcome Evaluation for Nonprofit Organizations
  • Nonprofit and Association Financial Management
  • Strategic Management in Nonprofits and Associations
  • Working With the Community: Boards to Volunteers
  • Stewardship and External Support
  • Organizational Cultures and Systems
  • Strategic Fundraising and Philanthropy
  • Nonprofit Organization, Governance, and Management
  • Public Program Evaluation
  • Organizational Resource Management and Nonprofit Leadership Management
  • Unique Option: Political Communication Specialization
    specialty in digital political communication provides students with in-depth knowledge of cutting-edge digital advertising, interaction, and analytic techniques and strategies. Students make use of current campaigning methods to help increase awareness and affect change in the political environment. Learning how to employ cutting-edge political technology and paid communication to effect change and mobilize people, as well as the ability to optimize political engagement, is an integral part of the course’s curriculum.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Nonprofit Management Online Programs

Irrespective of the type of Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management, the curriculum of most programs is based on interdisciplinary subjects such as sociology, law, history, economics, political science, business management, environmental management, ethics, and public affairs. Although the exact core courses offered to vary by program, in general, a Master’s in Nonprofit Management online program will consist of the following courses, from a list of many more:

  • Strategic Planning in the Nonprofit Organization
  • Project and Program Management
  • Theory and Future of Nonprofits
  • Using Technology to Build Community and Grow Your Organization
  • The Legal and Ethical Element of Nonprofits
  • Board Governance
  • Social Media and Information Technology for Nonprofits
  • Operation and Administration of Nonprofits
  • Fundraising Strategies
  • Strategic Planning
  • Board Development
  • Nonprofit Marketing
  • Volunteer Management
  • Proposal and Grant Writing
  • Psychology of Motivation
  • Leading Change
  • Assessing Leadership Skills
  • Conflict Management
  • Fundraising and Planning
  • Nonprofit Governance and Law
  • Nonprofit Organization Startups and Policy
  • Marketing for Organizations
  • Legal and Critical Analysis
  • Research Methods for Organizations
  • Leading in a New Era
  • Legal and Ethical Issues for Nonprofits
  • Program Development and Accountability
  • Conflict Resolution for Managers
  • Best Practices in Organizations
  • Fundraising and Development
  • Nonprofit Innovation
  • Theology of Leadership and Business
  • Ethical Issues in Management
  • Financial Practices for Managers
  • Nonprofit Human Services Fundraising and Resource Development
  • Business Analytics and Research Methods
  • Board Development and Human Resource Management in Nonprofits
  • Program Evaluation and Research Methods
  • Leadership and Organizational Development in Nonprofits
  • Nonprofit Law and Ethics
  • Fundraising and Grant Seeking for Nonprofit Agencies
  • Public Relations Campaign Methods
  • Studies in Critical Thinking in Philanthropic and Nonprofit Issues
  • Financial Decision Making for Youth/Human Services Agencies
  • Foundations of Nonprofit Management
  • Obtaining and Managing Resources for Organizations
  • Nonprofit Management Analysis
  • Governing and Leading Organizations
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Administration
  • Seminar in Public Administration and Its Environment
  • Research Methods for Public Administration
  • Seminar in Public Policy Process
  • Revenue Generation
  • Introduction to Public Administration and Public Service
  • The Policy Process and Democracy
  • Public Service Leadership
  • Foundations of Philanthropy
  • Financial Management in the Nonprofit Sector
  • Managing Diversity in Today’s Nonprofits
  • Development and Management of Faith-Based Organizations
  • Resource Development for Nonprofits
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Personnel Development in Nonprofits
  • Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management
  • Statistics for Managerial Decision Making
  • Organizational Theory and Behavior
  • Financial Decision Making for Managers
  • Strategic Human Resources Management: Public and Nonprofit
  • Public Ethics and the Common Good
  • Economics of Social Issues
  • Nonprofit Financial Management
  • Organization Theory
  • Introduction to Organizations
  • Budgeting and Finance
  • Advocacy and Public Policy
  • Promoting Organizations
  • Grant and Report Writing
  • Legal and Governance Issues in Organizations
  • Developing Your Leadership Capability

Some programs require students to opt for at least one elective course, examples of which include but are not limited to:

  • Women in Leadership
  • Public Relations Management
  • Data-Driven Business Decisions
  • Business Communications
  • Applied Nonprofit Management
  • International Business
  • Managerial Economics
  • Ministry and Cultural Diversity
  • Managing in a Multicultural Society
  • Fund Development
  • Nonprofit Boards and Executive Leadership
  • Crisis Communication
  • Dynamics of Change at the Community and Social Level
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Ethics and Public Decision-Making
  • Urban Economic Development
  • Social Entrepreneurship: Concepts and Cases
  • Comparative Public Policy and Administration
  • Effective City Management
  • Managing Public Networks
  • Urban Politics and Government

Upon graduating with a Master’s in Nonprofit Management, graduate students would have developed skills in many areas critical to the success of organizations, such as fundraising, management, program development, advocacy, and volunteer management. Additionally, graduates of this degree will be prepared to:

  • analyze and appropriately use statistics, research methodology, and program assessment to conduct research related to nonprofit ventures;
  • devise, understand and apply concepts, principles, strategies, and processes related to organizations in both domestic and international environments;
  • develop and apply concepts and processes related to budget, finance, resource management, and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations;
  • strategically plan, manage, communicate and drive fundraising campaigns;
  • effectively apply relevant legal and ethical guidelines and practices in public and private nonprofit sectors;
  • effectively utilize oral, written, and presentation skills to easily and effectively communicate and collaborate with others in the nonprofit sector;
  • understand and apply theories, policies, and practices of governance in public, private, domestic, international, and nonprofit sectors;
  • apply cultural competency in public, private, and nonprofit organizations through the understanding and application of cultural diversity;
  • effectively deploy marketing, public relations, and communication strategies in nonprofit organizations;
  • effectively manage human resource, and acquire, train, manage and retain volunteers for nonprofit operations; and
  • bring about positive social change to domestic and international communities.

Accreditation for Online Masters in Nonprofit Management Programs

Any nonprofit organization always accepts a well-recognized and accredited online Masters in Nonprofit Management program. Students must always opt for regionally accredited schools, or whose degrees are programmatically accredited, by competent bodies. For example, the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC) accredits Master’s in Nonprofit Management programs at several schools, as does the Network of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Regional Accreditation is awarded by agencies such as the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Accrediting Commission for Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC), to name a few. The comprehensive Accreditation Guide highlights the importance and value of Accreditation.

Timeline for graduation from Online Masters in Nonprofit Management Programs

In general terms, the duration of a Master’s in Nonprofit Management online program requires 12 to 18 months to complete, if taken up full-time. Working professionals who study part-time usually take an average of 2.5 to 3 years to graduate. Some online colleges allow students to take up to 7 years to complete their degree.

Online Masters in Nonprofit Management Programs Admission Requirements

To pursue a Master’s in Nonprofit Management online, applicants must have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in any discipline from a regionally accredited institution. The coursework of these programs should have preferably covered topics in management, humanities, economics, and sociology. In addition to this requirement, applicants are expected to submit:

  • A Graduate Application and prescribed Application Fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • A Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • At least 3 Academic and/or Professional Reference Letters
  • Proof of English proficiency, if English is not a native language

In general, applicants are required to have a minimum of 3.00 cumulative Grade Point Average or GPA (scale is 4.00 = “A”) in the last 60 hours of their first Bachelor’s program. In most cases, a standardized test score of GRE or GMAT is not required.

Note: Some schools may ask applicants to submit a Statement of Educational and Career Goals indicating in sufficient detail compatibility between the school’s educational objectives and capabilities.

Free Online Nonprofit Management Courses

While some online portals offer free courses on a wide range of topics related to Nonprofit Management, a few of them may offer a free online Nonprofit Management certificate program to those who do not want to pursue a Master’s degree. However, such programs and free certificate courses are generally not accredited and should therefore be considered merely to enhance one’s knowledge on a specific area of Nonprofit Management. Some examples of sites that offer free course and certificate programs are:

Philanthropy University has courses on a wide range of topics spanning advocacy, developing an operating budget, fundraising strategies, setting up a nonprofit board, and more. Most of these courses are self-paced and award a digital certificate of completion.

How to Pay for Masters in Nonprofit Management Programs

Depending on the college and program, the cost of a Master’s in Nonprofit Management online program can be rather high. Paying for tuition and other associated educational costs can strain the wallet, but fortunately, students have a variety of options to fund these expenses. Here are a few examples of such funding options that are worth exploring:


Scholarships are usually merit-based and offer financial assistance that does not require repayment. Most Universities offer in-house scholarships, but there are private agencies, individuals, alumni, and foundations that offer them.


Grants are funds provided by the federal, state, or private sectors covering the tuition fee and/or other associated student expenses, such as study materials, transport, equipment, etc. They are generally based on financial need and not necessarily on merit.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Graduate Teaching Assistantships allow a graduate student to assist the college or program either with teaching or other non-teaching work while studying simultaneously. For the part-time work that they do, students are compensated monetarily.

Working on Campus

Some universities allow students to work part-time on their campus against a reasonable salary. Such work may or not be academically related, but the money earned from it can certainly meet some educational expenses.

Student Loans

Student Loans are funds that are borrowed on interest from the federal government, banks, or private organizations, to help pay for education. Students should note that irregular, delayed, defaulted payments can compound interest and add to student debt.


FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is an application to check if one is eligible for financial aid. A complete look at FAFSA is available here.

The best Financial Guide outlines all there is to know about how to finance advanced education.

FAQs about Nonprofit Management Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Masters in Nonprofit Management?

The Master’s in Nonprofit Management program gives students the theoretical knowledge and practical experience they need to take up leadership and administrative roles in private, public, governmental, domestic, and international nonprofit organizations and sectors.

What to do with Masters in Nonprofit Management?

Is a certificate in Nonprofit Management worth it?

Which university offers Nonprofit Management?

 Masters in Nonprofit Management worth it?

Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in Nonprofit Management Graduates

Upon completing the Master’s in Nonprofit Management degree, graduates will be prepared to work in the following variety of nonprofit sectors, such as:

  • Charitable Foundations
  • Education
  • Art, Culture & Heritage
  • Legal Organizations
  • Health Care & Services
  • International Rights
  • Human Rights
  • Media (Journalism, Publishing)
  • Animal Rights
  • Environmental Conservation & Protection
  • Churches and Religious Bodies
  • Civic Agencies
  • Social Service

Although some career positions may require additional experience, training, and certification, it is not uncommon for Nonprofit Management graduates to take on complex roles. These roles include community outreach, fundraising, or grant writing, and apply for titles such as Community Engagement Director, Conference Services Director, Program Director, and many others as well. Other career examples include but are not limited to:

  • Volunteer Manager
  • Public Relations Manager
  • Entrepreneur
  • Social or Community Service Manager
  • Fundraiser
  • Community Development Manager
  • Director of Development
  • Program Specialist
  • Social Entrepreneur
  • Program Director
  • Executive Director
  • Program Manager

The Master’s in Nonprofit Management salary outlook is rather positive. For example, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Social and Community Service Managers earn a median annual pay of $74,000, with jobs increasing by an enviable 12% between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the average. Similarly, Public Relations and Fundraising Managers earn a median annual pay of $119,860, with a job outlook of 8% (2021 to 2031). Fundraisers take home median annual pay of $60,660a job outlook of 11% (2021 to 2031).

Certifications and Licensing for Nonprofit Management Graduates

Certifications are a must if one wishes to advance one’s career or seek well-paying jobs in the field of nonprofit. One of the most sought-after credentials after completing a Master’s in Nonprofit Management online is the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP), awarded by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. After this certification, professionals can earn the four tracks associated with the CNP – the Workforce TrackLegacy Campus TrackService Organization Track, and Advanced Track. Another good credential to explore is the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP), overseen by The American College of Financial Services.

While, in particular, working in the nonprofit sector does not require any licensure, some roles in governmental nonprofit organizations, especially those related to public policy, public affairs, anti-trafficking, and cross-border aid, may require additional qualifications and training.

Additional Resources for Nonprofit Management Professionals

Networking and connecting with others in the nonprofit world are crucial for career advancement and gaining additional knowledge. Graduates of Master’s in Nonprofit Management online programs should engage their peers, partner with them, and find strategic ways and means to deal with real-world challenges in the nonprofit sector. Understanding the nuances of Nonprofit Management from a non-academic perspective and building up contacts for fundraising can be achieved by tapping into resources that are widely and freely available. Here are a few to get started:

  1. claims to have over 500 free learning resources that include hundreds of free online courses, videos, and downloadable guides.
  2. Global Giving
    Apart from offering free courses in Nonprofit Management, Global Giving also offers videos, viewpoints, ‘Tups’ – a theory test lab, and a host of tools such as guides, templates, checklists, assessment cards, and more. There are also insights on crowdfunding and resources for companies, donors, and nonprofits.
  3. Volunteer Management Group
    The Volunteer Management Group is packed with resources for Nonprofit Management students and working professionals. The site offers training programs, courses, free grant writing services, internships, and a whole lot more.
  4. National Council of Nonprofits
    The National Council of Nonprofits offers tools and resources under several categories such as advocacy, leadership, financial management, ethics and accountability, diversity, equity, and inclusion, etc.
  5. First Nonprofit Foundation
    The First Nonprofit Foundation makes white papers and articles available to individuals, along with sample documents for use with clients and volunteers, which include applications, surveys, contracts, referral forms, and assessments, among others. There is also a compilation of a long list of external resources that cater to varied personal and professional needs.
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