Charity has become big business. Nonprofits are increasingly providing more services and expanding more rapidly than companies in the private sector. Nonprofit organizations now employ more than 7 percent of the nation's workers. In some states, that number is returning to historic highs. These numbers only tell half the story, however. Job growth is driving this potential economic engine. After several years of stagnation, nonprofit jobs in grant writing, compliance, and professional development are picking up the pace and, in some places, outperforming the private sector. In the Washington, D.C. area, for instance, nonprofit job growth outpaced private sector job growth three to one in the last two years.
Career Options Can Be Uniquely Rewarding
The new wave of entrepreneurial nonprofit organizations requires a new generation of capable leaders. Nonprofit management students learn how to define organizational objectives and achieve goals without the generous budgets that characterize private enterprise. A degree in nonprofit management and leadership program differs from a traditional business degree in focusing on the unique elements of charity and social work. Where typical chief executive officers might focus on expanding profits, a nonprofit manager must maximize income and achieve the highest possible value from every expense. In addition, the workforce is completely different. Managers deal with large pools of volunteer workers. They also deal with paid employees, but recent studies show that these workers are more highly motivated than their private sector peers due to their commitment to the nonprofit's cause. This altruistic effect is a boon to both workplace morale and the effectiveness of managers, as they work together for the common good.
Nonprofit Salaries Approach For-Profit Numbers
Taking on a leadership role in a prominent, not-for-profit organization does not require taking a vow of poverty, either. When Abbot, Langer & Associates surveyed nonprofit leaders in 2002, they discovered that the median annual salary for a top executive in the sector was over $80,000. Leaders at prominent charities, relief agencies, and large organizations can earn much more. In some industries, such as healthcare, nonprofit salaries match or exceed those in the private sector. The aforementioned sense of mission and dedication to a cause is an unquantifiable bonus for nonprofit workers.
A Brief Overview of the Nonprofit Management Degree
Nonprofit management students learn to apply the skill and expertise of the business world to the important work of charitable agencies and foundations. In addition to accounting and finance courses, nonprofit management degree candidates learn about effective fundraising techniques, corporate accounting, and more. Coursework in the history and philosophy of philanthropy helps students prepare for work on the cutting edge of the industry. Specializations are available in public policy for students interested in shaping the entire field; in the management of environmental organizations, for those committed to green issues; and in many other fields, to suit every passion. Whatever direction you take, you will have the added satisfaction of working on behalf of a cause greater than yourself.