More college graduates than ever have decided in recent years to go into nonprofit work, including employment in nonprofit management. Doing so allows them to build a career in which they give back to the community, work with interesting people, enjoy many opportunities for career growth, and see firsthand the impact nonprofits make in the world.
Working in nonprofit management focuses is on people, not profits. For millions of managers, that alone is reason enough to work in the nonprofit sector.
Writing for The Balance, nonprofit manager Joanne Fritz summed up the attraction of a nonprofit management job this way: “Are you looking for a job that promotes work/life balance, that treasures your contribution, and that is all about giving back? Then a nonprofit job might be right for you.”
A nonprofit is an organization that works under a special business structure authorized through the United States tax code. All money that comes into a nonprofit goes toward the nonprofit’s mission and reasonable operational costs.
There are two main types of nonprofits under the tax code. A nonprofit organization (NPO) serves public needs through goods and services. A not-for-profit organization (NFPO) typically serves a group of members.
An NPO can work as the charitable arm of a corporation, as part of a foundation, or with its own funding. Under the tax code, nonprofits must focus on a charitable mission to earn tax-exempt status. The IRS defines charitable missions as those that:
The IRS also lists exemptions for those that provide “testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals.”
An NFPO focuses more on a specific organization. For example, they include labor unions, chambers of commerce, social and recreational clubs, and childcare-related organizations.
Ethical leadership is the cornerstone of any nonprofit. Those who work in nonprofit management must earn and keep the trust of all stakeholders, including donors, volunteers, the community, and program recipients.
The need for nonprofit managers continues to grow because the industry continues to expand. A study from Johns Hopkins University reported that the nonprofit sector now employs almost 12 million people.
Every nonprofit manager’s job varies depending on the mission, the size and location of the operation, and the budget. However, in all cases, nonprofit managers must put strategies into place that work best given those different factors and understand how best to serve the changing needs of the community.
The Case Foundation, which invests in nonprofits, lists many advantages to becoming a nonprofit manager, even those starting in the private sector.
Nonprofits Value Business Skills
Many of those who work at nonprofits started in the private sector, including managers who hold an MBA degree. The management skills they bring to nonprofits are highly valued.
Nonprofits Attract Interesting People
Whether employees, volunteers, or donors, people who work with a nonprofit tend to be the “best and the brightest” who want to unite with others to achieve a higher goal than making money.
Nonprofit managers and employees tend to work on projects in a wide variety of areas rather than in one niche. This leads to the development of a varied set of skills and knowledge.
As noted by the Case Foundation, workers in the private sector “rarely get to interact with the top brass, either to show their stuff, learn from the best, or simply get reinvigorated on a regular basis.” Nonprofits often have a less hierarchical structure, allowing managers and employees the chance to benefit from more access to decision-makers.
The Chance to Change the World
Nonprofits now employ innovative technology, data analysis, and other modern tools that help them better serve their mission. Nonprofit managers, now more than ever, can make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Concerns over nonprofit manager salaries also are a thing of the past. Knowing they must attract and retain the best people possible, nonprofits offer competitive salaries for managers. The average salary for a nonprofit manager reached $69,600 in May 2020, according to federal data. That number is significantly higher in many parts of the country, and the top 25% of nonprofit managers made more than $90,630.
Touro University Worldwide offers an online MBA in Nonprofit Management degree that gives graduate students the chance to combine cutting-edge business skills with the critical management skills needed to succeed in nonprofit management.
TUW designed the program to prepare graduates for middle and senior management positions with nonprofits. Students receive an introduction to nonprofit management and oversight that can apply to professionals working for NPOs, NFPOs, or serve on the board of directors for nonprofit organizations.
The 100% percent online program provides the flexibility working professionals need to earn an advanced degree. For those who aspire to spend their career helping others, earning an MBA in Nonprofit Management can provide a key step toward their career goals.
by TUW author