Nurse’s Guide to Nonprofit Management

by Maura Deering
Nurse’s Guide to Nonprofit Management

Nurses bring experience and transferable skills to the field of nonprofit management, particularly in healthcare. These career opportunities often appeal to nurses who want to transition into administrative positions.

Nonprofit organizations often focus on population and community health or specific conditions, with professionals working in hospitals and long-term care centers. According to a 2019 Urban Institute report, just over 12% of public charities are health organizations, which accounted for almost three-fifths of public charity revenues and expenses in 2016.

This guide explores the nonprofit management role, the educational path to nonprofit management, and information on potential careers and projected salaries.

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What is Nonprofit Management?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies nonprofit managers as fundraising managers because much of the job focuses on securing operating funds. Typical duties include developing and implementing fundraising strategies, cultivating potential donors, planning events, applying for grants, and supervising staff.

Many nursing skills compliment those needed for nonprofit management, such as leadership, organization, problem-solving, and communication abilities. Nonprofit managers can find careers within hospitals, universities, charitable foundations, professional organizations, and research programs.

Well-known examples of nonprofit health organizations include the American Cancer Society, the American Nurses Association, the American Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders.

Nonprofit Management Degree Overview

Nurses who hold a bachelor of science in nursing can find employment, but other positions might require a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a nonprofit management master's degree. A certification in fundraising, such as one offered by CFRE International, can enhance qualifications.

Master's programs typically take two years to complete online or in-person, with most offering both full- and part-time learning options. Programs often offer internship opportunities and culminate with a capstone project.

Nonprofit management course topics include philanthropy, policy economics and development, public management, and strategic planning. Many MSN programs include administrative and leadership tracks, with coursework in finance and operations management, healthcare economics, and health policy and advocacy. Choosing which master's degree to pursue can depend on the hiring organization's needs and the applicant's career goals.

Admission into master's degree programs usually requires a bachelor's degree and a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. An MSN requires a registered nurse license and prerequisite coursework in topics like statistics, anatomy, physiology, and microbiology.

What Can You Do With a Degree in Nonprofit Management?

A master's degree in nonprofit management offers many career options, including those listed below.

Advocacy Director: This position works with boards, community groups, donors, government officials, and other stakeholders to advance the organization's mission and attract funding. A master's degree and financial and technical knowledge, along with strong communication skills, are among the usual employment requirements. Education Coordinator: This role oversees projects that seek to raise the public's awareness and knowledge of the organization's mission. Applicants typically need a bachelor's degree or certification. Fundraiser: These specialists develop and implement fundraising strategies, such as events and campaigns, to garner donations. Fundraisers need at least a bachelor's degree and strong communication skills. Grant Writer: Job duties include researching potential funding sources, drafting proposals, and following submission guidelines. A bachelor's degree in any field typically suffices, but classes in marketing or English can strengthen an application. Nonprofit Manager: These professionals handle personnel management, resource allocation, and other organizational management tasks. Candidates should hold a bachelor's degree at a minimum, but usually need a master's degree. Program Director: Master's degree-holders with management and leadership skills can find positions developing and implementing programmatic strategies within their organizations. Their job descriptions can include both operational and fundraising responsibilities.

The BLS shows a median annual salary of $118,430 for fundraising managers, with a median range of $105,750 for those working in educational services to $134,750 for those in organizational management. Professionals in fundraising management can expect a 9% projected job growth rate between 2019 and 2029.

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