Best online nonprofit management degrees 2021: Top picks

    Individuals with a nonprofit management degree serve as leaders and administrators within the nonprofit sector. Tasked with overseeing fundraising and development efforts, nonprofit managers also organize volunteer and outreach programs, coordinate events and communications, and develop and implement marketing campaigns.

    The nonprofit sector, according to Foundation List, will see moderate yet continued growth in 2022. Similarly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that nonprofit positions such as fundraising manager and social and community service manager will grow by 13% and 15%, respectively, from 2020 to 2030.

    Nonprofit management provides an opportunity for you to help individuals and communities in various contexts. To find the best nonprofit management degree to meet your specific needs and goals, check out the rankings below.

    The best online bachelor’s in nonprofit management degrees

    ZDNet’s ranking methodology uses data collected by federal agencies and information from industry exports to assess nonprofit management degrees. ZDNet offers objective insight into the programmatic aspects of nonprofit degrees alongside information about cost, reputation, and overall outcomes.

    Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.

    1. Central Michigan University

    Mount Pleasant, Michigan

    About the program: CMU’s online bachelor’s in public and nonprofit administration allows students to customize the degree with elective coursework in topics such as grant writing and public policy analysis.

    • Acceptance rate: 70%
    • Graduation rate: 59%
    • Avg. annual net price: $15,981
    • Years to completion: Four
    • SAT range: 990-1200
    • Minimum GPA: 2.0
    • Enrollment periods per year: Three
    • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

    Accreditation: Central Michigan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

    2. Toccoa Falls College

    Toccoa Falls College

    About the program: An affiliate college of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, TFC offers an online bachelor’s degree in nonprofit business administration that includes 126 credit hours of coursework.

    • Acceptance rate: 60%
    • Graduation rate: 53%
    • Avg. annual net price: $22,433
    • Years to completion: Four
    • SAT range: 920-1150
    • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
    • Enrollment periods per year: Three
    • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

    Accreditation: Toccoa Falls College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

    3. Bay Path University

    Longmeadow, Massachusetts

    About the program: A women’s college, Bay Path’s online bachelor’s degree with a major in nonprofit management emphasizes business essentials alongside coursework in philanthropy, development, fundraising, and financial reporting.

    • Acceptance rate: 72%
    • Graduation rate: 57%
    • Avg. annual net price: $22,211
    • Years to completion: Four
    • SAT range: 960-1170
    • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
    • Enrollment periods per year: Six
    • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

    Accreditation: Bay Path University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

    4. LeTourneau University

    Longview, Texas

    About the program: Grounded in Christian faith and ideals, LETU offers an online bachelor of business administration with a concentration in nonprofit management that focuses on ethics and socially responsible leadership.

    • Acceptance rate: 45%
    • Graduation rate: 56%
    • Avg. annual net price: $23,196
    • Years to completion: Four
    • SAT range: 1090-1310
    • Minimum GPA: 3.0
    • Enrollment periods per year: Three
    • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

    Accreditation: LeTourneau University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

    5. Huntington University

    Huntington, Indiana

    About the program: Established by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, HU offers an online bachelor’s degree in not-for-profit leadership that emphasizes strategic and practical training.

    • Acceptance rate: 75%
    • Graduation rate: 62%
    • Avg. annual net price: $22,869
    • Years to completion: Four
    • SAT range: 965-1150
    • Minimum GPA: 2.3
    • Enrollment periods per year: Three
    • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

    Accreditation: Huntington University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

    What to expect in an online bachelor’s in nonprofit management degree program

    An online bachelor’s in nonprofit management includes four years of general education and major coursework. Classes in financial management, organizational behavior, grant writing, and resource development accompany courses in project management, nonprofit law, and fundraising analytics.

    Within an online nonprofit management program, you take part in independent lectures, group projects, and a culminating capstone requirement. Many nonprofit management bachelor’s degrees integrate internships and comparable practical requirements to provide hands-on learning opportunities.

    Earning an online degree requires hard work, time management, and dedication. Self-motivated and ambitious individuals benefit from actively engaging and participating in every aspect of an online program.

    Bachelor’s in nonprofit management courses

    Coursework in a nonprofit management degree varies by program, but the general curriculum remains the same across institutions. Core classes emphasize management and leadership fundamentals in the nonprofit sector.

    Organizational leadership

    Organizational leadership coursework introduces students to theories and models of leading and following. Topics include environmental factors, company culture, organizational objectives, and ethical standards in the context of effective leadership.

    Fundraising for nonprofits

    Fundraising classes train students in the tools, methods, and technologies used to create effective data-driven fundraising campaigns. Topics include best practices in annual giving, donor relations, engaging volunteers, and identifying prospective donors. As part of the course, learners create a fundraising campaign from start to finish.

    Nonprofit law

    Law for nonprofit organizations emphasizes their unique legal status at local, state, and federal levels. Topics include types of governance for nonprofits, tax exemptions, charitable giving, and fundraising regulations. The class also teaches students the terminology and concepts of law, how to conduct legal research, and modern legal issues facing nonprofits.

    Fiscal management for nonprofits

    A class in financial management for nonprofits introduces students to financial practices and policies within nonprofit organizations. Topics include financial planning, investment strategies for nonprofit organizations, and financial reporting.

    Nonprofit management degree levels

    The level of nonprofit management degree that meets your needs and goals varies. Undergraduate nonprofit management degrees lead to entry-level positions in the field, while graduate programs provide advanced coursework to enable careers at managerial and executive levels. The following breakdown of nonprofit management degrees provides basic information about each degree type.

    Associate in nonprofit management

    • Length: Two years
    • Cost: $3,000-$18,000
    • Post-grad careers: Fundraising assistant, grant writer, nonprofit program coordinator

    An associate in nonprofit management includes two years of coursework in communications, business, and management fundamentals. Coursework emphasizes governance and leadership, resource development and marketing, and program development for nonprofits.

    A nonprofit management associate degree prepares students for entry-level roles in the nonprofit sector. Many associate degrees in nonprofit management serve as a pathway to a bachelor’s degree in the field.

    Bachelor’s in nonprofit management

    • Length: Four years
    • Cost: $12,000-$95,000
    • Post-grad careers: Fundraising coordinator, development associate, operations manager

    A bachelor’s in nonprofit management integrates general education, major, and elective coursework into a four-year program. Coursework in organizational management, business, and communication accompany classes in nonprofit management principles, volunteer management, and grant development and administration.

    As part of a bachelor’s degree in nonprofit management, students may take part in an internship. This allows for experiential learning in anticipation of entering the workforce. Bachelor’s degrees also generally include a capstone course that serves and a culminating requirement.

    Master’s in nonprofit management

    • Length: Two years
    • Cost: $9,000-$122,000
    • Post-grad careers: Fundraising manager, project manager, development director

    Nonprofit master’s degrees prepare students for leadership roles in the nonprofit sector. Learners explore current issues and strategies for effective nonprofit management, often with the option to specialize in a specific area such as international management, philanthropy, healthcare, and innovation and entrepreneurship.

    As part of a nonprofit masters, students may write a thesis or take part in a capstone project. The former involves research into an issue or topic within the discipline, while the latter provides opportunities to work alongside peers and professionals in the field of nonprofit management.

    Doctorate in nonprofit management

    • Length: Three to five years
    • Cost: $18,000-$90,000
    • Post-grad careers: Chief fundraising officer, director of communications, university professor

    Nonprofit management doctorates focus on leadership and change. Many doctorates in nonprofit management function as specializations within a business, education, or healthcare doctoral program, although stand-alone nonprofit management doctorates exist.

    Coursework in a nonprofit management doctorate provides comprehensive information about the expanse of the nonprofit sector. Learners also complete research coursework to learn methodologies and data sources applicable to the field.

    After one to two years of classes, students complete comprehensive exams before pursuing an in-depth research project in an aspect of nonprofit management. Specializations include fundraising and marketing, international nonprofit management, and nonprofit management in the digital age.

    In conclusion

    Nonprofit management is a field that allows you to help others as a career. Nonprofit management degrees offer insight into how to do so effectively across the nonprofit sector. Finding the right nonprofit management degree requires research into what they offer in program and outcome specifics. The information on this page can help you take the first step towards your career in nonprofit management.

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