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Arkansas State University

Learn About Working For a Nonprofit Organization

Arkansas State’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) Non-Profit Management Track online program is designed to further the leadership aspirations of professionals in the non-profit sector. The curriculum provides extensive training for a diverse range of management-, director- and executive-level positions.

Students learn the techniques and practices employed by leaders, as well as ways to communicate with politicians, public officials, subordinates and citizens. Courses provide training in managing funds, public budgeting, grant fund administration, contracts and managing personnel. The skills students gain in this program are applicable for managing projects across a wide range of agencies, including those involved with construction, education and mentoring, health, community activism and environmental concerns. The program also provides the knowledge and skills necessary for starting and growing your own nonprofit organization.

The Nonprofit Sector Is Growing Rapidly

Many local and regional nonprofit employers have given input to develop A-State’s program. MPA non-profit management degree programs are necessary to support extraordinary growth in the sector, which now represents the third largest workforce in America. According to the 2019 Nonprofit Employment Report, nonprofits hold more than 12.3 million jobs and 10.2% of total U.S. private sector employment. As projects in public works, public health and the environment continue to be important to voters, the potential for growth in the nonprofit industry remains promising.

Job outlooks for the sector are solid even during recession periods. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that “over the decade following the 2008 economic meltdown, nonprofits added jobs at a rate that was nearly four times greater than for-profit businesses.” The BLS projects 17% growth between 2018 and 2028 for social and community service managers and 9% growth for public relations and fundraising managers.

Types of Organizations and Roles

The Internal Revenue Service has identified 27 distinct types of nonprofit organizations, which fall into nine basic categories:

  1. Religious, including churches, temples and mosques
  2. Educational, including schools, universities, museums and zoos
  3. Charitable, including the Red Cross, Salvation Army and the United Way
  4. Scientific, including the American Heart Association and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
  5. Literary, including public libraries, book festivals and nonprofit publishers
  6. Public Safety Testing, including organizations that test processes and products to ensure public safety, like the Consumers Union
  7. National or International Amateur Sports Competitions, including youth sports leagues and adult recreation leagues
  8. Prevention of Cruelty to Children, including organizations like American Society of the Positive Care of Children
  9. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, including organizations like American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Within these types of organizations, graduates of this program can apply their skills in a wide range of positions at the management, director and executive levels of leadership. In the nonprofit sector, there are leadership roles for professionals with many aptitudes, including communication, persuasion, cerebral analysis, process orientation, math and science. Graduates hold challenging and lucrative leadership positions in the following areas:

  1. Fundraising
  2. Budget Analysis
  3. Grant Writing
  4. Advocacy and Policy Implementation
  5. Emergency Management and Disaster Response
  6. Administration
  7. Volunteer Coordination and Development
  8. Community Development
  9. Consulting
  10. Diplomatic Work
  11. Human Capital Management
  12. Human Resource Management
  13. Program and Project Management
  14. Program Administration
  15. Strategic Analysis
  16. Marketing Management
  17. Compliance
  18. Operations Analysis
  19. Social Responsibility
  20. Public Affairs and Community Engagement

Advantages of Working in the Nonprofit Sector

The nonprofit sector is comprised of many ambitious, high-character, dedicated professionals who enjoy advantages unique to this sector, including the following:

  • A sense of purpose: Whether your passion is to improve living standards within a community, prevent the abuse of children and animals or raise money for a cause, you will have the opportunity to do meaningful work. Building your career alongside similar-minded, dedicated professionals is also rewarding and provides opportunities to develop meaningful professional and personal relationships.
  • Growth, advancement and versatility: If you are multi-talented, then nonprofit work often presents a diverse array of opportunities in various points of your career trajectory. Nonprofit leaders often wear many hats, especially in smaller organizations.
  • Benefits: Nonprofit leaders often enjoy generous paid time off packages, professional development opportunities and strong healthcare packages.

Few careers offer as wide a range of career options, employment stability and fulfillment of leadership as the nonprofit sector does.

Learn more about Arkansas State’s online MPA Nonprofit Management Track program.


Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Social and Community Service Managers
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

Forbes: The Nonprofit Sector Is Growing: Why Nonprofits Should Act Now to Leverage Their Position

MoneyCrashers: Working for a Nonprofit Organization – Types, Jobs, Pros & Cons

Nonprofit Hub: What the Growth in the Nonprofit Sector Means for You

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