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Top Advantages of a Nonprofit Management Degree Over a Traditional Business Degree

An MS in Nonprofit Management can put you on a unique and fulfilling career path.

What kind of businesses do you think of when you think of business management? Giant tech companies? The automotive industry? Oil and gas?

How about nonprofits?

Top Advantages of a Nonprofit Management Degree Over a Traditional Business Degree

While nonprofit organizations don’t focus on making money, most are structured like traditional businesses and need leaders capable of guiding employees toward major goals. If you enjoy the challenges of a business environment but aren’t sure you want to earn an advanced business degree, you should take time to consider an MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership.

What Is an MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership?

An MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership is a graduate degree that’s similar to an MS in Management. But while a master’s in management—or a general master’s in business—is broadly focused on management and administration in the business world, an MS degree in nonprofit management lets you specialize in nonprofits. Through a nonprofit management master’s degree program, you can learn how to:

  • Apply concepts, principles, and processes related to budget, finance, resource development, and strategic planning to nonprofit organizations.
  • Apply strategies for acquiring, managing, developing, and retaining volunteers and board members for nonprofit organizations.
  • Apply nonprofit organizational theories, policies, and practices of governance across sectors, domestically and internationally.
  • Create positive social change in domestic and international communities.

What Are the Advantages of a Nonprofit Career Over a Traditional Business Career?

It Can Be Easier to Get Your Foot in the Door

There are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States.* Those organizations offer a lot of opportunity for employment. They also offer plenty of volunteer opportunities. Unlike business internships, which can be highly competitive, many nonprofits are quick to welcome volunteers. This gives you a chance to get your foot in the door and make yourself known, even before you’ve completed your master’s degree.

The Work Can Be More Fulfilling

Nonprofits do everything from create social change to preserve our environment to run art museums. What they don’t do is focus on turning a profit. Yes, there is fundraising at almost all nonprofits, but the money isn’t the sole focus. The goal is improving the world, which can make working at a nonprofit much more fulfilling than working for a traditional business.

You Can Learn a Wider Range of Skills

Many traditional businesses tend to have rigid organizational structures that create limited roles for employees and managers. Nonprofits, however, tend to be more fluid. This is partly due to most nonprofits being understaffed† and partly due to a culture that values creating positive change over meeting firm profit goals. This means that at a nonprofit, you could be hired for one job but find yourself being given additional responsibilities as needs arise. It’s an environment where you can acquire a wide number of skills, which you can use to advance in your nonprofit career or use on your résumé should you ever decide to work for a traditional business.

You Can Have a Great Benefits Package

While nonprofits are not known for paying huge salaries, many do offer fantastic benefits.‡ In particular, you may enjoy flexible hours and generous vacation time, which can make your personal life easier to manage and more enjoyable to live.

How Can You Earn Your MS in Nonprofit Management?

If you’re concerned that earning a graduate degree would be too difficult with your current job and responsibilities, you should take a look at online learning. Online graduate degree programs offer a flexible schedule so you can arrange your classes and coursework around your responsibilities instead of trying to arrange your responsibilities around your coursework.

An MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership can put you on the path to a unique and fulfilling career. And thanks to online education, earning your nonprofit master’s is more convenient than ever before.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership degree online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


*National Center for Charitable Statistics, Quick Facts About Nonprofits, on the internet at http://nccs.urban.org/statistics/quickfacts.cfm.

†D. Eisenberg, Career Spotlight: Benefits of Working in the Nonprofit Sector, Monster, on the internet at www.monster.com/career-advice/article/career-spotlight-benefits-of-working-in-nonprofit-sector.

‡A. Green, Thinking About a Nonprofit Job? Here's What You Should Know, U.S. News and World Report, on the internet at http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2014/03/26/thinking-about-a-nonprofit-job-heres-what-you-should-know.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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