What is an MBA in Nonprofit Management?

An online MBA in nonprofit management prepares students for leadership roles in the social sector, where they use business skills to transform social programs, services, and campaigns. With an MBA, you can bring order, strategy, and success to a nonprofit organization; NPOs are not much different than for-profit corporations in terms of how they organize their goals, budgets, staffing, and results. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for social and community service managers is expected to increase 10% by 2024. An MBA in nonprofit management online degree will distinguish you from other candidates as you pursue a career in social activism.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for social and community service managers is expected to increase 10% by 2024.

Most management positions in a nonprofit require at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration or in a relevant field for the NPO, such as a public health degree for an NPO that focuses on health care. If you already have a BA or BS in one of these disciplines, adding an MBA in nonprofit management online degree can round out your qualifications. Many employers prefer candidates who have an academic background in business.

Comparison of Nonprofit Management Master’s Degrees

All nonprofit management master’s degree online programs recognize that NPOs seek the strong leadership and skilled management that private-sector businesses want. Success of social programs, community services, and grassroots campaigns rely on clear direction and able vision. An online MBA in nonprofit management filters the business administration core through a nonprofit lens.

Degree Description Average Salary* Length
MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership This MS degree develops skills needed to inspire a team, manage day-to-day operations, and carry out strategic planning for a nonprofit. Upon graduation, students are prepared for leadership roles as program directors, program coordinators, and social managers. $41,562 2 Years
Master’s of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management and Leadership Graduates of a master’s degree in public administration are prepared to lead nonprofits using knowledge of the bureaucratic process, which is invaluable when working with government. With skills in fundraising, staffing, and outreach, these degree holders are equipped to deal with public policy. $37,161 Less than 2 Years (18 months)
Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Nonprofit Management Graduates of nonprofit management MBA online degrees bring business-savvy, creative to nonprofits. An online MBA with a nonprofit management concentration prepares graduates to make an impact by applying business and financial skills to solve problems, mitigate conflict, and attain goals. $65,006 2 years

While course selection varies by school, the core curriculum of a nonprofit management MBA online degree is grounded in the theories and best practices of business administration. Most online master’s nonprofit management programs employ experiential learning to provide firsthand knowledge in applying business skills, such as strategic thinking and accounting, to nonprofit organizations.

Course Competencies Developed Occupational Skill Level
Leadership Learn to lead responsibly with awareness of one’s own strengths and weaknesses. Apply personal insights to inspire others and positively impact an organization. TITLE: Chief Executive Officer
SALARY: growth of 5%
Strategic Planning Learn to strategize for business objectives, accounting for budget, resources, and time; use internal analysis to plan, implement, and evaluate strategy. TITLE: Program Director
SALARY: growth of 12%
Financial Management Learn how to apply external and internal financial reports to nonprofit budgeting and strategy; recognize trends, revise plans, and maximize resources. TITLE: Program Manager
SALARY: growth of 2%

An online MBA in nonprofit management translates well to the social sector because running a nonprofit is similar to operating any business. The mission may be different, but the challenges, strategies, and objectives are not. It’s unsurprising that many of the positions in private-sector businesses are also in NPOs.

Executive Director, Nonprofit Organization Median Salary: $64,262
  • Environmental nonprofit
  • Social welfare organization
The executive director at a nonprofit organization is equivalent to a CEO. This top-level executive guides the NPO’s vision, devizes overall strategy, oversees operations, and works with the board of directors.
Director of Development (Fundraising) Median Salary: $70,597
  • Charity
  • Animals organization
The director of development at a nonprofit organizes fundraising efforts, develops and implements strategic plans to reach donors, raises funds, and attains goals in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Program Coordinator, Nonprofit Organization Median Salary: $40,638
  • Civic league
  • Chamber of commerce
A program coordinator is in charge of a particular social service, campaign, or project, with duties including creating a plan of action, working with the community, and coordinating volunteers and staff.
Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

Concordia University - Wisconsin

Location Mequon, WI Tuition Tuition $27,261 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 8,268 School Type Private

Courses in the on-campus and online MBA programs offered at Concordia University-Wisconsin and Ann Arbor take eight weeks to complete, which allows students to finish the 39-credit program within two years. In addition to business courses, students must complete an internship consisting of at least 120 hours. A concentration in nonprofit management and leadership maximizes students' skills in board development, fundraising strategies, volunteer recruiting, and public relations. The admissions process does not require submission of GRE scores, but applicants must provide a one-page essay, a resume, and two letters of recommendation.

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Corban University

Location Salem, OR Tuition Tuition $18,720 % Receiving Financial Aid 72% Student Population 1,232 School Type Private

The leadership and management MBA concentration available at Corban University develops leadership and business skills for a variety of environments, including nonprofit organizations. Areas of study include best practices in human resource management, operations management, leadership fundamentals, and sales management. The scheduling design of Corban University's 30-credit online MBA, with each eight-week class conducted consecutively, one at a time, allows for full degree completion in one year. Admission requirements include a statement of faith, submission of a Christian character reference, a minimum GMAT score of 500, and a resume with demonstrated professional experience.

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Crown College

Location Saint Bonifacius, MN Tuition Tuition $22,260 % Receiving Financial Aid 70% Student Population 1,153 School Type Private

Situated in Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota, Crown College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with a faith-based biblical integration. Crown's online MBA in nonprofit management requires the completion of five concentration courses including marketing for nonprofits, fundraising and philanthropy, and financial management for the nonprofit. The remainder of the program's 42 credits consists of nine core courses on strategic management and planning, applied business practice, and spiritual foundations of leadership. Admission prerequisites to the MBA program include a regionally-accredited bachelor's degree, a 2.5 cumulative undergraduate GPA, and six undergraduate credits in financial accounting and finance.

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Endicott College

Location Beverly, MA Tuition Tuition $31,454 % Receiving Financial Aid 63% Student Population 4,695 School Type Private

With Endicott College, students can earn an MBA online in nonprofit management through the same curriculum as the on-campus program. This curriculum offers 14 areas of concentration, including nonprofit management, does not require submission of GMAT scores for admission, and allows for flexible scheduling. Students can graduate in as little as 18 months. The 42-credit curriculum consists of fundamental courses and four concentration courses including marketing and fundraising for nonprofits and providing direction for nonprofits. Endicott does not require internships for MBA students, but the Internship and Career Center can assist if students wish to complete one during their study.

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Greenville College

Location Greenville, IL Tuition Tuition $17,485 % Receiving Financial Aid 76% Student Population 1,321 School Type Private

Greenville College provides students with the opportunity to earn an MBA in nonprofit management online in under two years. The program curriculum emphasizes study of organizational theory and development, human resource development, group behavior, and leadership. A final capstone action research project develops applied business administration knowledge and skills in relevant, real-world scenarios. Other skills developed in the MBA program fall within the areas of management, accounting, economics, and finance. Holistic admissions criteria require a writing sample and resume, and consider a combination of work experience, undergraduate or graduate education, and/or GMAT scores.

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Johnson & Wales University

Location Providence, RI Tuition Tuition $25,974 % Receiving Financial Aid 86% Student Population 500 School Type Private

Providence, Rhode Island, is home to Johnson and Wales University, a private, nonprofit school with plenty of degree offerings for undergraduates, adult learners, and online students. With only two years of study required to complete an MBA in nonprofit management, students can quickly enhance their career. A faculty of industry leaders guide students through each career-focused course. Areas of study include research-based decision-making, advanced communication skills, and problem solving effective executive decisions. Applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.85 or better do not need to take the GMAT for admission to Johnson and Wales.

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Johnson University

Location Knoxville, TN Tuition Tuition $19,800 % Receiving Financial Aid 59% Student Population 1,171 School Type Private

Johnson University's MBA program prepares professionals for advanced leadership roles in business environments with a curriculum that incorporates the biblical wisdom you expect from a private, Christian education. Three concentrations, including nonprofit management, steer students toward their own career goals. The nonprofit concentration requires the completion of courses in nonprofit law, resource development, and project design management. All MBA students complete a capstone project, synthesizing business management skills in research, analysis, and communication. Admission requirements include three letters of recommendation from a pastor, an educator, and an employer.

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National Louis University

Location Chicago, IL Tuition Tuition $30,459 % Receiving Financial Aid 63% Student Population 4,384 School Type Private

Chicago's National Louis University offers an MBA in nonprofit management both online and on campus. The curriculum focuses heavily on authentic leadership, promoting students' ability to achieve results and make a positive impact on their organization through passion, integrity, and relationship building. Thirty-nine required semester hours include core courses like macroeconomics and strategic marketing, and concentration courses like fundraising and philanthropy. A capstone course provides an opportunity for students to practice forming and analyzing business strategy decisions in a dynamic environment. All applicants must submit a resume, a written statement of professional goals, and two letters of recommendation.

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New England College

Location Henniker, NH Tuition Tuition $23,800 % Receiving Financial Aid 77% Student Population 2,517 School Type Private

Designed with full- and part-time professionals in mind, New England College's MBA in nonprofit leadership boasts a flexible online format that allows for learners to complete all 10 courses within 20 months. Students develop innovative leadership skills by studying nonprofit governance, financial management, and fundraising. A rare MBA course in grant writing and project management prepares nonprofit managers to formulate and lead the creation process of project grant proposals. All students complete their degree with a capstone project. The admissions process at New England College operates on a rolling basis, allowing new students to start coursework every seven weeks, and does not require GRE/GMAT scores.

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North Park University

Location Chicago, IL Tuition Tuition $41,400 % Receiving Financial Aid 70% Student Population 3,159 School Type Private

North Park University does not offer a dedicated nonprofit MBA degree, but students of the MBA program can decide to use their elective course slots to complete one of 16 different certificate options, including nonprofit management. This certificate option requires no additional cost or time commitment and focuses on areas of management theory application, marketing analysis and consumer behavior, and financial management, all within the context of a nonprofit organization. Upon completing all requirements (10 certificate course credits and 26 core credits, including a capstone project), graduates are conferred with two different accolades: an MBA and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management.

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Oklahoma State University

Location Stillwater, OK Tuition Tuition $19,908 % Receiving Financial Aid 42% Student Population 25,930 School Type Public

Oklahoma State University began offering MBAs online in 1992. The tradition continues today with a variety of online MBA options available for part-time students. Nine available online concentrations include an option in nonprofit management. Nonprofit concentration courses range from ethical leadership to managing confrontations to grant writing. In addition to submitting three letters of recommendation, a purpose statement, and a resume, MBA applicants must possess an accredited bachelor's degree, a competitive GRE/GMAT score, and a cumulative minimum 3.0 GPA. The degree requires no formal prerequisite courses and no specific work experience, although a background in calculus and quantitative skills improves the likelihood of success.

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Olivet Nazarene University

Location Bourbonnais, IL Tuition Tuition $24,400 % Receiving Financial Aid 72% Student Population 4,892 School Type Private

Through Olivet Nazarene University, a private institution based in Bourbonnais, Illinois, students can earn their online MBA in just 18 months. Nine core courses hone leadership and business skills through the examination of legal issues, communication, and financial decision-making. A nonprofit concentration option customizes degree outcomes for nonprofit leaders. The nine-hour sequence of courses in corporate communication and media strategies, nonprofit finances, operations, and fundraising centers on public relations, volunteerism, hiring, and governance. Before graduation, each student completes a research-based project or a global travel experience.

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Salve Regina University

Location Newport, RI Tuition Tuition $20,340 % Receiving Financial Aid 76% Student Population 2,757 School Type Private

Salve Regina University, a private Catholic university located in Newport, Rhode Island, offers a rigorous MBA program to online students from around the world. The 36-credit MBA holds programmatic accreditation from the International Council for Business Education. An available concentration in nonprofit management prepares students for administrative leadership positions in nonprofit organizations in fields like healthcare, education, performing arts, and social welfare. To fulfill concentration requirements, students complete courses in marketing, fundraising, financial management, and human resources management, all within a nonprofit context. In addition to transcripts, the admissions process requires submission of two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a resume.

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Touro University Worldwide

Location Los Alamitos, CA Tuition Tuition $18,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 13% Student Population 880 School Type Private

Established with the Judaic philosophy of philanthropic duty in mind, nonprofit Touro University Worldwide provides online and on-campus higher education through a network of Jewish-sponsored institutions. Touro students can complete an array of professional degrees, including an MBA in nonprofit management online. Completion of all degree requirements can occur in as little as 12 months. The concentration curriculum includes nonprofit-focused courses on management, financial decision-making, marketing, and revenue generation. Prospective MBA students can apply without submitting GRE or GMAT scores and without paying an application fee. A 2.5 minimum baccalaureate GPA requirement allows for greater flexibility than many other graduate school admissions.

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Wilmington University

Location New Castle, DE Tuition Tuition $16,776 % Receiving Financial Aid 48% Student Population 15,002 School Type Private

Classes start every eight weeks for Wilmington University's online MBA, accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. The specialized nonprofit management concentration requires an extensive 11-course sequence to build competencies in advanced research and written/oral communication; decision-making, critical thinking, and problem solving in 503c agencies; and understanding issues faced by (and creating solutions for) today's nonprofit agency leaders. Admission does not require GMAT scores, but ultimate degree candidacy depends heavily on the completion of undergraduate prerequisite courses in mathematics, accounting, finance, and economics. Students may complete courses within the first 12 credits of the MBA to fulfill some of these requirements.

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University of Massachusetts - Boston

Location Boston, MA Tuition Tuition $23,892 % Receiving Financial Aid 55% Student Population 16,847 School Type Public

Ideal for the nonprofit leader in an urban environment or social work-focused organization, the nonprofit management MBA specialization at the University of Massachusetts-Boston requires the completion of four courses: nonprofit management, social enterprise and poverty alleviation, social and nonprofit marketing, and public policy changes for urban nonprofit organizations. The 36-credit program does not offer rolling admission, requiring students to begin classes in either the fall or spring semesters, but the flexible online format allows for part-time or full-time enrollment based upon individual scheduling needs. Applicants must submit a 1,500-word essay, GMAT or GRE scores, and two letters of recommendation from professional or academic references.

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If you’ve decided that an MBA in nonprofit management is right for you, it is time to start narrowing down the list of potential schools. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you through the process.

  • Search for schools in your area

    Even though you are looking for online programs, it’s always helpful to choose a school that is within a 100 mile radius of your home. Online students often report that they enjoy the ability to visit campus if the need arises. In addition, schools often partner with local businesses, meaning a school in your area will have a better chance of helping you find a job close to home.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Many schools will readily provide this information on their website; however, if you can’t find it, be sure to contact the school and ask for it. This data should include graduation rates, employment rates, and compensation levels of recent graduates. When compared side-by-side, this information can provide a snapshot of program quality.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Prospective students often underestimate the total cost of their program. Make sure you calculate the total number of credit hours you will need to graduate, and multiply that by cost per credit hour. Do not forget to include the cost of supplies, internet, and time you will spend not earning an income. Additionally, compare financial aid options, different schools may offer better financial aid packages and/or scholarships that can offset the cost of education.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    One of the central benefits of online education is flexibility. However, some programs require set meeting times, synchronous workshops, and mandatory campus visits. Be sure that you are aware of all time commitments and be sure that they will fit into your current schedule.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    The main objective of getting your nonprofit management MBA is to find a secure job with a healthy salary in a field you enjoy. Attending a well-connected school that has partnerships with local businesses can boost your employment opportunities after you graduate. Many of these partners offer internships that can lead to full-time employment. Regardless, these internships provide the network and experience you’ll need to get a job elsewhere.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation is the formal review process that ensures a school is offering a reputable program and adhering to minimum academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the national agency that accredits undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in business and accounting. By checking a program’s status with the AACSB, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality degree. Employers generally will not hire job candidates who possess degrees from unaccredited schools. Nor will schools accept academic credentials from unaccredited programs.

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    Actual students and graduates are amazing resources to help you choose an online nonprofit management MBA program. They can give unbiased, real-world perspectives on how the program has served them, what they liked, and what they disliked. Ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with a current student or recent alumnus. Alternatively, use LinkedIn or Facebook to find and reach out to people.

Search Programs by Concentration

Attending the best online schools for nonprofit management is an investment that leads to a lifetime of fulfilling work. Foundations, orgs, academic institutions, and corporations across the nation have set aside financial awards for those pursuing careers in social activism, public service, or the community. These scholarships, fellowships, and grants were established to support tomorrow’s leaders, who are determined to make a difference.