Nonprofit Leadership

Nonprofit leaders must possess many skills in order to be successful, regardless of which particular cause they are working with on a daily basis. Nonprofit leadership requires understanding the unique challenges that nonprofits face with regard to funding and resources, managing a team, and implementing a long-range vision. If you’re passionate about nonprofits and want to engage in a career that’s both challenging and rewarding, consider furthering your education with a master’s degree. The nonprofit leadership level has multiple competencies used to consider and assess employees as established by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. These include community outreach and public relations, management skills, program planning (as well as implementation and evaluation), nonprofit accounting and financial management, fundraising practices and principles, risk management, and volunteer management. There are numerous higher education programs that will give a student the grounding for success in nonprofit leadership.

Nonprofit Leadership Education For anyone considering a future career in nonprofit leadership, or for those currently working in the field who want to advance their education and improve their promotion opportunities, a master’s degree is a valuable opportunity to learn more about the theories and skills at play in today’s nonprofit groups. There are numerous different degrees available, some with a core focus on management in the nonprofit sector and others offering elective courses and specializations in this area. Deciding to pursue advanced education is an important decision and one that should be made with care. Before committing to any particular program, it’s recommended that you thoroughly research what it entails and even set up meetings with faculty or past graduates to learn more about the experience.

Masters in Public Administration: A Master of Public Administration offers a lot of flexibility for today’s nonprofit career seekers because students will undertake a vigorous program of study exploring both the government sector and the nonprofit arena. Graduates will find their skills and knowledge applicable in numerous job opportunities as a result of training in governmental management and nonprofit management.



Top-Ranked MPA Designed to Prepare Tomorrow’s Public Service Leaders.
Multidisciplinary Curriculum with Real-World Experience; GRE Waivers Available.


Delivered by Syracuse University’s #1-Ranked Maxwell School.
Action-Oriented Curriculum Completed in as Little as 15 Months; No GRE.

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Master of Business Administration: Another educational route that many people consider is an MBA with a specialization in nonprofit management. The major focus of these programs will be business management, although elective classes will focus in on material most relevant to nonprofit leaders. This program is ideal for those interested in a nonprofit management or board member position.

Master of Social Work: If you’re passionate about running programs and working directly with a client base, consider obtaining a Master of Social Work, or M.S.W. The majority of the courses for this program are related to social welfare, although there are elective courses about nonprofit management.

Master of Public Policy: Those who enjoy the opportunity to create change on a statewide or nationwide level would do well to pursue a Masters of Public Policy. Many of these programs offer a concentration in nonprofit management, but the big focus of the courses will be around creating and changing policies.

Master of Nonprofit Administration: If your ultimate goal is to work as an executive director of a nonprofit organization, considering a Master of Nonprofit Administration. All of the foundation and elective courses will be geared towards a future career in this field. Some of the sample courses in this program include strategic planning, nonprofit finance, and board governance.

Master of Philanthropic Studies: Those interested in the giving involved with nonprofit organizations will benefit from a master’s degree in philanthropic studies. The laser focus of this program is philanthropic giving for nonprofits.

Master of Science in Human Services: If you know that you want to work directly with a human service organization, there is another option for further education with a Master of Science Degree in Human Services. Those seeking management positions in these organizations will gain the basic grounding for the tools they will need on the job.

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