Why This Matters

  • THE U.S. IS HOME TO 1.5 MILLION NONPROFITS

    According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the nonprofit sector contributed $985.4 billion to the economy in 2015, through public charities, civic leagues, chambers of commerce, and other organizations.

  • SOCIAL SERVICES MANAGEMENT JOBS RISING 13%

    Many social and community service organizations are nonprofits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 21,900 new leadership positions in these types of organizations within the next decade.

  • 6,300 NEW FUNDRAISING MANAGERS ARE NEEDED

    Fundraising is another key aspect of nonprofit management, as many organizations rely on donations to operate. Individuals who know how to use social media to build fundraising campaigns will be particularly in demand.

Our Research

This list focuses on Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees with a concentration in nonprofit management. MBA degrees are designed for working professionals who have foundational business knowledge, and want to learn more advanced skills tailored to a specific area of expertise.

We focused on finding flexible programs that can be completed fully or primarily online. Many programs offer students the option of taking online or in-person classes based on their schedule and preferences.

As a measure of quality, we only included schools that are regionally accredited. Many programs also have specialized accreditation through bodies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

We evaluated each program based on reputation, outcomes, flexibility, faculty, and cost, then calculated an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100 for each. Our top picks for the best online MBA in nonprofit management programs are a good value, well-respected, and customizable. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 54 hours to write this article
  • 171 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 447 education programs we compared

The Top 25 Online MBA in Nonprofit Management Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

To be a successful nonprofit manager, you must combine an understanding of the mission of nonprofits with the business savvy that helps for-profit companies thrive.

As the name implies, for-profit companies are concerned with generating a profit, which can be paid back to employees, investors, and shareholders.

The primary function of a non-profit is usually tied to a philanthropic motive, like providing public services, advancing social causes, or addressing needs within a community. A nonprofit’s success is measured by how well it fulfills its mission, but it also must remain financially solvent in order to do so. Therefore, nonprofit managers must be able to strike a balance between prioritizing the organization’s purpose over profit while ensuring the organization has enough funding to operate.

A nonprofit’s focus on mission over money can mean a difference in salary compared to those who work in the for-profit sector, even for high-level executives. Typically, individuals choose to work in nonprofits because they believe in the purpose of the organization or industry, which can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction. According to reports, there are some areas within the nonprofit sector where employees earn more than their for-profit counterparts. Generally speaking, however, employees in the nonprofit sector can expect to see a pay gap between that they would earn at a for-profit company.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online MBA in Nonprofit Management programs:

  • Are there any in-person requirements for this program? Although the programs on our list are delivered primarily online, some may have in-person requirements, either for on-campus residencies or off-site internships. As you research programs, find out if you will be required to complete any requirements in-person, so you can plan to accommodate them in your schedule and budget.
  • Are GMAT or GRE scores required? MBA programs commonly require standardized test scores, like the GMAT or GRE, as part of the application process. If you need to take these exams, you should make arrangements to do so as soon as possible, as it can take several weeks to process your scores.

Now is also the right time to start gathering your application materials, and tracking deadlines for submitting applications and completing other admission requirements, like interviews. This information is typically available on the school’s website, or you can contact their admissions department if you have questions.

Financing your MBA is another important consideration. Funding options include student loans, scholarships, assistantships, and tuition assistance benefits from your employer, if you are currently working.