Monday, April 27, 2009

The Value of a Nonpofit Focused Graduate Degree

Recently, I got an e-mail from a student asking how much equity a nonprofit focused graduate degree would add to his career. I am always amazed when I get these types of questions because I already feel like I'm a broken record. However, when some attendees of the YNPN Leaders Conference wanted to know the benefits of pursing a nonprofit focused graduate degree, I decided to write this post.

Here are three ways a nonprofit graduate degree will ADD VALUE to your career.

1. A nonprofit focused graduate degree will help you get promoted and increase your income.

USD's nonprofit management and leadership degree program has a 95% satisfaction rate and 89.1% of the alumni experienced some type of career change since attending the program, with 58.7% receiving an increase in income since graduation.

2. A nonprofit focused graduate degree will give you well rounded nonprofit management expertise that will help you succeed in ANY type nonprofit job.

Whether you want to pursue a development, program, or advocacy job at some point you will need to be able to create and manage a budget, raise funds for a program and have strong connections within the community. A nonprofit focused degree will give you those skills!

The most common courses offered in nonprofit graduate degree programs are:
  • Nonprofit Management Fundamentals
  • Research Methods
  • Ethics
  • Financial Management in Nonprofit Organizations
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Fundraising for Nonprofits
  • Nonprofit Governance
  • Strategic Planning
  • Nonprofit Law
  • Marketing for Nonprofits
  • Advocacy and Public Policy
Here is a spreadsheet I created comparing courses in 11 different nonprofit management graduate degree programs. For a list of all nonprofit focused graduate programs check out Roseanne Mirabella's Web site.

In addition, the majority of programs are for FULL-TIME working professionals and offer an applied project or capstone component so you'll get hands on practical experience too. For example, for my nonprofit masters degree I created a marketing and volunteer recruitment plan for the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society at Great Lakes, Illinois which they could use and put into motion right away.

3. A nonprofit focused graduate degree will help increase your network and sphere of influence within the nonprofit community.

The connections I made during my nonprofit masters programs were invaluable to me. While I was in my program, I met senior leaders in hospitals, the Girl Scouts, local foundations, and development offices within Universities. I not only learned a lot from my fellow classmates but they also helped me make new connections in the nonprofit community.

Looking for more information about Nonprofit focused degree programs? Check out my previous blog posts on this subject:


Gene Takagi said...

It's been many years now, but I really credit my graduate degree in nonprofit administration at USF for changing my professional life. For the better, in case that wasn't implied. :)

Marilyn F said...

Last night I went to an open house at Spertus College in Chicago about their MSNM degree. I heard about the open house on twitter yesterday and went down. I was intrigued. My background is in law and health care. I have worked in non-profits and felt a need to better understand the whole picture. So I just might go for it.

Lindsey McDougle said...

Great post Heather! My only comment is that the word "will" is very absolute. I think "may" or "highly likely" is more appropriate. So, for instance:

1. A nonprofit focused graduate degree "may" help you get promoted and increase your income.

I know, a little picky... but, I couldn't help it! :)

SPRING 2009 CLASSES said...

I like this post, only the IU program you profiled is the one offered at the Indianapolis campus and not the one offered at the main campus in Bloomington, where it is a different degree, an MPA concentrating in Nonprofit Management. Obviously, I'm a student there in this program and only want to make the distinction between the two programs, since not all the courses are offered at both campuses.

Anyway, it's good to know in the midst of finals that my efforts won't be going to waste!

Nick said...

Great Post,

Now, I understand what is the value of Nonprofit Graduate Degree. My college is also offering such kind of degree programs, So I also think I should also convert in nonprofit education programs.

Thanks !