Careers in Nonprofit Leadership

Use your philanthropy for the common good by exploring careers in nonprofit leadership.

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Careers in Nonprofit Leadership: Effective Leadership = Survival

In these tough economic times, effective leadership is essential for survival, and due to tightening resources, nonprofits will be hit harder than for-profit companies. Therefore, it's critical that new as well as established nonprofit organizations utilize leadership practices that will help them weather the storm as they prepare for a better future. If you feel the pull to this sort of work, you should consider one of the many careers in nonprofit leadership.

As all businesses face more scrutiny in regard to liability issues, it's imperative that nonprofits proactively implement best practices to protect their interests. The website nonprofit.pro suggests the following actions that nonprofit leaders should enact in order to so:

  • Practice Sound Management
  • Develop comprehensive by-laws
  • Make conflict-free business decisions
  • Consider legal standards and industry practices
  • Create a culture of integrity at every levels
  • Establish codes of business conduct
  • Institute compliance programs

If public administration and social issues are your passion, and you've thought about bringing your bachelor's degree education into the nonprofit management field, but are worried you're too young or inexperienced, think again. You'll definitely need a master's degree or MBA for an executive role in careers in nonprofit leadership, but more and more, nonprofit organizations are recognizing the contribution younger leaders can bring.

These include refreshed passion for the cause, untapped resources and networks, and new solutions to old or ongoing problems—and there are an abundance of graduate nonprofit management programs available to get you moving toward your goal.

Examples of Top-Rated Nonprofit Organizations

It would be incorrect to say that all nonprofits are struggling. Here are a few who have done it the right way, and continue to thrive in any economy:

Merge Your Degree with Your Philanthropy

There are several subfields you can consider under the umbrella of nonprofit management:

  • Nonprofit management and leadership
  • Philanthropy
  • Advocacy
  • Community development

Some of the types of courses you'll take in your master's degree or MBA program will focus upon these subjects:

  • How to start a successful nonprofit
  • Recruiting and managing volunteers
  • IRS considerations and nonprofit filings
  • Fundraising, grant, membership, sponsorship, and endowment writing
  • Leadership strategies
  • Investing finances for success
  • Facilitating strategic planning for nonprofit corporations
  • Managing and motivating employees

But most of all, you'll need to be the right kind of person to deal with the challenges of nonprofit leadership. Fundraising and financial savvy may be key skills, but you'll need the innate traits that can't be taught in a classroom: visionary leadership, the ability to connect with people and support and inspire them, and compassion. If you can channel these extraordinary gifts into the structure of effective business practices and compliances, chances are you're half way home. You've got the social conscience and integrity, and we've got the tools and programs that can help you make informed decisions about your education choices.

Sources: Nonprofit.pro; Councilofnonprofits.org; Mastersinnonprofitmanagement.com.

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