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Make a Difference With a Career in Nonprofit Organization Management

When choosing the right career, there are several key factors to keep in mind. Individuals might want to consider their natural abilities, their passions, their financial goals, the state of the economy and what industries are likely to be hiring in the years ahead.

However, there is also one vital element to consider: personal fulfillment. Many people report that working in a nonprofit organization, while at times stressful and challenging, is incredibly fulfilling. That's because nonprofit employees know that their actions are making a positive difference in the world. Learn more about leadership roles and careers in nonprofit organization management.

What is Nonprofit Organization Management?

Nonprofit organization management is the study of how to lead and manage a nonprofit group. In many ways, this is akin to business management. It is similar because both fields require professionals to manage employees, track budgets and analyze success. However, nonprofit organization management differs because the operating costs are often far lower. 

Rather than bringing in money from the sales of products or services, however, nonprofit groups seek donations and need to apply for grants to boost their donations and operating income. Nonprofit organization management, therefore, places a focus on things like fundraising, an aspect that would never make it to the curriculum of a standard business management degree. 

What Kind of Job Titles Are Available in Nonprofit Organization Management?

There are a number of different job titles out there that fall into the category of nonprofit organization management. At the top of the food chain in this particular industry are the managers who oversee entire nonprofit groups. These individuals may handle and organize a group of up to 100 people, or they might handle the regional group of a much larger organization. 

Other nonprofit organization management roles can be found in fundraising. This could include the title of grant writer or fundraising vice president, both of which will primarily be tasked with finding new ways to bring in money in order to keep the organization afloat and able to donate to their preferred causes. These jobs may involve a lot of networking, great communication skills and plenty of writing.

Additional management roles at nonprofit organizations may fall under the financial spectrum. Since some nonprofits deal with thousands and even millions of dollars at a time, some employees are tasked with spending it appropriately and determining how to best allocate the available resources. Financial nonprofit organization managers may also oversee accountants or payroll specialists to ensure that all numbers match up and there is no inefficient spending.

What Candidates are the Right Fit for These Careers?

Anyone with the desire to make a difference in the world can train and study to become a professional in nonprofit organization management. Ideally, candidates interested in positions would already have some experience with a similar organization as well as some background knowledge about what it does and why it matters. 

In addition, the best nonprofit organization managers will be comfortable working potentially long shifts, overseeing lots of staff and volunteers, staying organized and operating on a shoestring budget. Depending on the type of career you are hoping to secure, you might want to have strong math skills or great communication skills.

What are the Financial and Security Aspects Like?

The exact pay for a nonprofit organization management role can vary wildly depending on where you are employed. Overall, however, the pay will generally be less than a similar position in a business management role. Because of this discrepancy, however, demand is high for skilled candidates. Expect salaries ranging from $50,000 to $85,000 annually.

How Can Individuals Pursue Careers in This Field?

In order to become a manager at a nonprofit organization, a bachelor's degree is almost always a necessity. However, it may also be possible to start by volunteering at the organization, proving your worth and working your way up. Bachelor's degrees can be in a variety of subjects ranging from accounting to business, but master's tend to be specifically in nonprofit management.

Nonprofit organization management may not be the most lucrative field out there, but it offers a much bigger reward: fulfillment. Consider this career if you want what you do each day to make a positive difference on the world.