For those interested in starting or running a non profit organization, it is essential to have management and communication experience to turn ambitions into a reality. With new non-profits and opportunities in churches and associations increasing, hopeful entrepreneurs face a highly competitive sector where nearly every cause has multiple groups vying for funds.
Prepare for Unique Challenges
Non-profit organizations face many distinct challenges that set them apart from for-profit organizations. An in-depth understanding of administrative law is essential to operate within the specific guidelines of one's locality, given that each state has unique rules and regulations for non-profits, such as filing certain annual reports and renewal of tax exemptions. After addressing these matters, individuals have to address federal filings as well. A Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership with a nonprofit management concentration*, such as the program from Lewis University, includes courses on organizational management tools and theories, as well as coursework tailored to specific challenges the nonprofit environment. The courses cover topics such as planning strategically, organizational cultures and systems, stewardship and external support and more.
Financing takes on a whole new meaning in the scope of a non-profit. Individuals in this industry face challenges in raising money, allocating funds and dealing with public opinion. The general public's perception of value, when seeking funding for non-profit efforts, is of immense importance. A master's degree offers individuals the ability to approach these challenges with skill, confidence and a greater understanding of community engagement, social justice and global peace.
Develop a Strategic Edge
The non-profit sector is immensely competitive. According to the Urban Institute, the number of non-profits increased 25 percent between 2001 and 2011, outpacing the growth of both business and government sectors. The Nonprofit Almanac estimated that 2.3 million non-profit organizations were operating in the United States in 2012. It is essential that in this environment newcomers enter the industry with as much of an edge as possible. The MAOL with a not-for-profit concentration covers organizational leadership and management principles such as understanding an organization's culture and strategic planning techniques.
Strengthen Research Skills
Discovering the right niche is the first step in starting a successful non-profit venture. In a market that's often saturated, it's paramount to find a unique approach or unanswered needs. The MAOL degree helps you analyze the market, gather relevant statistics and analyze them to make the right decision. Through the program, you build a strong foundation of knowledge and skills that are immediately applicable to your career.
Hone Essential People Skills
Starting a non-profit requires a vast range of interpersonal skills. Management and leadership skills are paramount for handling employees and co-workers. The Lewis MAOL courses address labor and management relations, training, development and recruiting, and will help with the internal needs of organizing a non-profit. The not-for-profit management concentration teaches you how to:
- Work with and manage volunteers
- Develop corporate and foundation support
- Design fundraising strategies, including annual events and appeals
- Write effective proposals
*Formerly known as the Not-for-Profit Management Concentration