Careers in Nonprofit Management
Managers of nonprofit organizations have a remarkable number of skills and responsibilities in common with traditional business managers, but are also markedly separate from the spectrum of traditional business. Just like managers of a business or for-profit organization, nonprofit managers oversee the maintenance of equipment and systems for the organization, ensure that the facilities are in working order, and supervise the overall production and business processes of the organization.
One difference between nonprofit and typical managers, however, is that nonprofit management positions require a unique approach to generating operating finances, attracting highly qualified professionals and volunteers for jobs without the large salary incentive, and finding ways to encourage improvement within the organization. Nonprofits, by definition, take any money that is gained through its practices and put that money immediately back into the organization to help promote its mission. As a manager in this type of situation, you are expected to inspire and encourage your staff to believe in and achieve the overarching goals of that organization and find ways to best promote those goals within the political and economic environment around you.
The average salary range for individuals in nonprofit management positions is $30,761 to $67,399 per year. These numbers are an average of all the reported salaries for nonprofit management positions and should not be thought of as definite salaries for such positions. The most recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for nonprofit management jobs explains that managers in nonprofit organizations earn wages that are typically lower than governmental and other business management positions. This outcome is to be expected for nonprofit related positions because of the sheer nature of such organizations.
Required Education for Nonprofit Management
Individuals with a career in nonprofit management come from a fairly broad educational background, including bachelor’s degrees in psychology, sociology, and political science, and master’s degrees in business administration and social work. These areas of academia lend themselves well to nonprofit management for many reasons. While having an understanding of business practices and management objectives is endlessly important for any management position, a solid understanding of the social and psychological aspects of the world help individuals’ understand the underlying objective of the nonprofit they are interested in serving.
Of course, the type and nature of various nonprofits vary widely throughout the industry, so it can be useful if students interested in nonprofit management narrow their sights on one specific genre of nonprofit business within their academic pursuits. Nonprofit managers can benefit tremendously from undergraduate course work in business and management, as well as from traditional or online MBA degree programs.