Nonprofit Manager: Job Duties and Info About a Career in Nonprofit MGMT

Nonprofit managers are responsible for the various operational aspects of nonprofit organizations. Continue reading to learn more about degree requirements, professional skills, career outlook and salaries for nonprofit managers.

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Career Definition

Nonprofits are organizations that have met criteria set by Congress and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to qualify for tax-exempt status and are usually dedicated to a specific purpose. The professional duties of managers who are employed by nonprofits are similar to those who work in the private sector. Activities can vary based on the size, needs and mission of the organization and can include business, financial and personnel management, interaction with a board of directors, fundraising and supervision of volunteers.

How to Become a Nonprofit Manager

Required Education

Nonprofit managers usually hold at a bachelor's degree in a relevant field of study, which can help them acquire the skills they need to accomplish critical and complex tasks. Although not ideal, experience working or volunteering within the nonprofit sector can be an asset to those without academic training in the field. According to a recent study by Seton Hall University, there are over 292 academic institutions nationwide that offer courses on or related to nonprofit management (www.shu.edu). Relevant coursework may include topics in business, program management, public administration or social work.

Skills Required

The federal criteria for nonprofit status eligibility is very specific and must be adhered to closely if an organization wishes to maintain its tax-exempt status. For this reason, nonprofit managers need to understand how to adhere to the criteria while still operating an effective organization. Analytical and critical thinking skills, as well as the ability to multitask and interact well with others are key. Routine activities also include the ability to oversee employees and volunteers, manage payroll and budgets, use computers and manage the day-to-day operation of an office.

Career and Salary Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social and community service managers (who can work in nonprofit organizations) earned median annual wages of $59,970 in May 2012. These workers have a projected employment growth of 21% nationwide from 2012 through 2022, which is faster than average in comparison to all other occupations (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Financial Managers

Financial managers who work for banks, the government, insurance companies or other professional entities oversee the fiscal health of a company or an organization. Professional activities can include developing long-term strategic objectives, organizing financial reports and guiding investment initiatives. In general, completion of a bachelor's degree program in a relevant field of study and approximately five or more years of experience in accounting, financial analysis, securities sales or another related industry are required to secure a position. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) or an advanced degree in economics or finance may be preferred.

The BLS reports that employment opportunities for financial managers are expected to increase by 9% nationwide from 2012-2022, or as fast as average when compared to all other occupations. In May 2012, financial managers were paid median yearly salaries of $109,740 (www.bls.gov).

Top Executives

Top executives typically include those who are employed as chief executive, financial, information or operating officers. They are primarily responsible for developing policies and strategic initiatives that can help a company or an organization achieve its objectives. Top executives may also oversee corporate operational activities. Educational requirements typically include an undergraduate or graduate degree in business or public administration, law or even liberal studies.

According to the BLS, an 11%, or fast-as-average, growth in jobs nationwide is projected for top executives in general through 2022. Those who were employed as top executives in May 2012 earned median annual wages of $101,650 (www.bls.gov).

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