If you are passionate about contributing to your community while at the same time seeking a leadership career, nonprofit leadership is an avocation that delivers on both fronts. 

The nonprofit industry has a growing demand for skilled managers and executives to fill leadership roles. Aspiring professionals interested in serving as a manager or an executive in the nonprofit community should know that – like their private sector counterparts – nonprofits begin their search for potential leaders by considering both the education and work experience that each candidate offers. Candidates with the most relevant work and educational credentials will be the ones best positioned to advance in leadership careers in nonprofits.

Career Outlook for NonProfit Management Careers

The job outlook for the nonprofit sector is promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook projects a 10 percent growth for social and community service managers through 2024. The projected growth in the nonprofit sector is actually outpacing the national average. Employees within the social services sector make an average of $63,530 per year. In some cases, nonprofit managers that reach executive level can average more than $102,000 per year.

Rewarding career paths for leaders in nonprofit management include:

  1. Managing Relief Organizations and Aid Agencies
    Relief organizations and aid agencies facilitate the distribution of financial aid and other resources following emergencies or natural disasters. Nonprofit organizations that provide relief efforts include Oxfam, the Red and the World Food Programme. Leaders of nonprofits are tasked with determining the distribution of resources available, as well as managing fund drives and donations. Additionally, they may create and oversee a board of directors to ensure the nonprofit can achieve set while continuing to measure progress and make improvements in day-to-day operations.
  2. Steering Nonprofit Hospitals and Health Clinics
    A career-driven professional interested in both management and healthcare, pursuing nonprofit careers in a hospital or health clinic setting might be ideal. Health organizations tend to be more community-minded, with local board members playing a significant role in guiding the focus of the hospital or health clinic such as the mission statement, identifying a customer base and plans for future growth. Nonprofit hospitals and health clinics often concentrate on like the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and offer more affordable care to those in need. professionals in this setting must oversee fundraising strategies using their advanced healthcare knowledge and experience.
  3. Managing Environmental Organizations
    Environmental organizations such as Sierra Club and Greenpeace work on preserving land, protecting natural habitats for wildlife, and ensuring corporations adopt and observe sustainable business practices. Managing environmentally-focused nonprofits involves a wide range of responsibilities including supervising volunteers, creating marketing campaigns and leading educational and public awareness efforts.
  4. Running Cultural or Arts Organizations
    Museums, community organizations and ethnic events are all key components in celebrating culture and history. Leadership careers in cultural and arts organizations often involve recruiting board members from across the community to serve on boards of directors. Additionally, cultural and arts managers are expected to understand the of writing and submitting grant proposals while exploring new funding streams – both locally and nationally. Managing a cultural organization can be challenging, but such challenges will appeal to professionals that are resourceful and passionate about the organizations they serve.
  5. Overseeing Youth Organizations
    Established, youth-oriented nonprofits such as the Girl Scouts of America or the Boy & Girls Clubs of America are highly recognized for their efforts to improve the lives of young people. Many smaller organizations serve multiple functions, offering safe havens and educational opportunities to at-risk youth, providing creative outlets or simply giving children a place to get some exercise. Regardless of organization size, responsibilities that can lead to an enriched experience for youth include: creating an environment for learning and growth of self-knowledge, fostering physical and emotional health, and helping youth connect their strengths and desires to a path that leads to future goals.

Want to Know More?

Whether you are interested in working in a nationally recognized organization or a smaller community-focused one, you will find a variety of career opportunities to give back. If you have the drive and passion to pursue a path in the nonprofit world, discover Lewis University’s online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program—offered online or on-campus. Plus, download a free guide detailing how you can prepare for a rewarding career in organizational leadership. 

Plus, download a free guide detailing how you can prepare for a rewarding career in organizational leadership. 

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