Why Non-Profit Management Degrees Matter

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New England College’s Master of Science in Management degree offers students the choice of nine concentrations, each exploring the challenges and opportunities of the business climate in New Hampshire and northern New England. The Non-Profit Leadership concentration “is designed to increase your awareness and acumen in areas of non-profit governance, fundraising, volunteer management, and human resources in a multi-disciplinary approach that develops foundational best business practices tailored for the not-for-profit environment.” But why should students choose to study towards a career in the non-profit sector in today’s economic climate?


Among the reasons that the Stanford Social Innovation Review listed for students to consider  career in the non-profit sector are:

  • Non-profit doesn’t mean “no money.” Particular high paying jobs in non-profits include: fundraising, marketing & communications, finance, and policy.
  • You join a large and growing sector.  According to the 2015 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, the sector employs nearly 11 million people. Around 10% of the private workforce, the non-profit arena shows no signs of slowing. In fact, 2014 saw nearly half of non-profits increasing their staff size.
  • Non-profits are hiring. There is an impending leadership gap, mainly due to the aging workforce and planned retirements. Growth in the sector is also contributing to newly created positions to help manage increasing complexity.
  • You gain experience outside of your job description. As businesses learn to run leaner, this is even more true in the non-profit sector where resources are thin. This requires more well-rounded professionals who get exposure to different areas of the operation.
  • You get access to higher-ups. Another result of running leaner is a flatter organizational hierarchy, which gives new employees more time with top leadership.
  • Your organization will have a positive reputation. Most non-profits are held in high regard by the public because of their altruistic missions, and this positive association from name recognition may be to your benefit in future job searches.
  • Your work will matter. As younger workers become more disillusioned with traditional organizational and power structures, the non-profit sector offers more opportunities to be truly disruptive. You can make a difference in someone’s day-to-day life and use the results to help fuel your passion.

Students of non-profit leadership learn the skills necessary to manage a diverse array of functions, including general operations, project management, non-profit governance, fundraising, and strategic planning. They also develop an understanding of other competencies in the context of non-profit management, such as legal issues, tax regulations, donor relations, fundraising, and program management. It provides the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary to lead a non-profit organization, and can lead to connections and relationships within the field.

In contrast with other management degrees or concentrations that assume students will be working in private for-profit businesses, non-profit leadership studies emphasize non-profit challenges and concerns as a default.

By enrolling in advanced degree studies in non-profit leadership, students gain the skills and knowledge necessary for such a growing and dynamic sector. The diversity of organizations and the issues they work to address means that students can apply their education to work that matters to them. And the degree’s focus on the non-profit sector brings together students with a shared interest – working for the benefit of the common good.