Why Earn a Degree in Nonprofit Management?
You see the world needs change, but more than just a yearning, you’d like to put your thoughts into action.
Maybe you’re planning on forming a nonprofit organization, or you’d like to join one that’s established. The question is, how do you start?
One way is with a master’s degree in nonprofit management. An advanced degree provides you with the skills and knowledge needed to progress in your career or go out on your own.
“Like traditional business degrees, a nonprofit management program equips students with organizational management and administration skill sets, including finance, strategy, and innovation,” says Geoffrey Lantz, professor of Nonprofit Management at Adler University.
“However, instead of focusing on shareholder value, leaders in this industry leverage those tools toward immediate and long-term impact on social and environmental issues and the ability to uplift and promote the well-being of others.”
If you’re interested in studying nonprofit management, you’re not alone. A recent study by Economic Modeling Specialists International listed degrees in the public administration and social services professions as one of the most in-demand degrees, reporting 33 percent growth from 2010 to 2014.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
There are considerable reasons why being academically prepared gives you an edge in the nonprofit sector.
The nonprofit field is competitive. Mission-driven organizations such as nonprofits tend to attract the best and the brightest. Many people want to work in an organization where they feel like they’re making a difference in the world. Earning a master’s degree shows employers your commitment to the field, and is a way to differentiate yourself from the competition.
A master’s degree can help you move up the ladder. If you aspire to a role such as executive director, director of programs, marketing director, or development director, a graduate degree equips you with the skills and knowledge to step up to the role.
Higher education can supplement gaps in your professional development. Nonprofit organizations are less likely than corporations to offer training or professional development opportunities, and as a result, most nonprofit professionals must take responsibility for their education and career development.
You learn from your nonprofit peers. When you’re attending nonprofit management classes, whether it’s online or on the ground, you have the chance to interact and learn from colleagues who face similar issues. And at Adler University, the instructors in the nonprofit management program have actually started and run nonprofit organizations, so your learning expands beyond the textbook.
You gain perspective. As you read case studies and hear what your fellow students are encountering in their organizations, you get to see the universal challenges that nonprofit organizations face. Learning what solutions have helped others provides new insight into your own organization’s difficulties.
After you earn your degree in nonprofit management, if you decide not to work at a nonprofit organization, there are still opportunities to do philanthropic work in corporations or as an independent consultant.Related resources