Summary: Professionals who choose to go back to school in order to pursue nonprofit careers have been given a reward in the form of debt forgiveness after 10 years.
Students Seeking Nonprofit Careers Granted Debt Forgiveness After 10 Years
Nonprofit careers suffered perhaps the most as a result of the economic crisis in the United States. With budget cuts and layoffs, philanthropy took a backseat to businesses that were doing what they could just to keep their heads above water. Luckily, nonprofits have been given a reward in the form of debt forgiveness for professionals who choose to go back to school in order to pursue a career with nonprofit organizations. With more professionals returning to the nonprofit sector, the field should continue to grow, expanding both the missions of the organizations and the missions of the individuals who seek to develop nonprofit careers.
Types of Nonprofit Careers and Average Salaries
Nonprofits need business-minded people for the exact same reason corporations, individuals and governments do. Just because the organizations aren’t making a profit doesn’t mean there isn’t money to manage, and it also doesn’t mean the workers receive no pay. It’s often the opposite: many nonprofit careers offer competitive salaries that are on par with what professionals receive in other sectors.
Nonprofit organizations encompass any group that works to offer programs and services that accomplish the goals of the organization without generating extra money. Any surplus in funds is used to either further the organization or its cause and is not distributed to its owners or shareholders. Some examples of common nonprofit careers include work with charities, trade unions, and private organizations, in roles such as social workers, counselors, librarians, administrators, educators, healthcare providers and managers (http://www.bls.gov/oes/2008/may/oes_nat.htm#b11-0000).
Public Relations Manager: $57,701
Administrative Manager: $54,704
Training and Development Specialist: $54,372
School Counselor: $53,540
Health Educator: $48,590
Social Worker: $48,180
Social Service Specialist: $39,950
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/cm20081022ar01p1.htm), nonprofits employ almost 6 percent of the working population in the United States, which accounts for close to 9 million employees. It is a common misconception that all nonprofit positions pay lower wages than for-profits. Many organizations actually pay their employees higher wages because they don’t benefit from reducing their costs the way that private companies do. This means that it’s in their interest to hire qualified, talented employees who demand a higher salary rather than to report a lower budget and get their budget reduced in the following periods. In this situation, both the employee and the organization benefit from the employee earning higher wages, which is rarely the case in the for-profit world.
Benefits of an MBA for Nonprofit Careers
Those who pursue nonprofit careers can better position themselves for higher-level positions and increased pay by seeking an MBA. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nonprofit workers in management positions earn a median salary of $61,499 and could earn an average salary of $166,144 by moving up the chain of command within that industry.
Nonprofit Management MBA programs like the one offered by Marylhurst University establish the leadership qualities that nonprofits require by focusing on the delicate atmosphere that nonprofit careers are built in. Students consider business choices that lead an organization to reach its goals, and learn how to make controlled management decisions in a more charitable surrounding. Perhaps most importantly, an MBA in nonprofit management program graduates students with a firm understanding of the laws and rights that govern nonprofit organizations, so that they can make informed business decisions.
The Unique Business of Nonprofit Careers
Nonprofits are treated as entities entirely different from for-profit organizations, although the way they are run often mimics traditional business practices. An excellent management system is crucial for a nonprofit to survive. Managers must supervise each project the nonprofit undertakes in order to maximize the benefit for the organization and its cause. Accounting for these funds is vital to the livelihood of the nonprofit, because excesses or shortcomings both equal disaster for the organization. Because most nonprofits must publicize their financial dealings, those in management positions carry the extra weight of knowing their work will be scrutinized and validated.
But the reward of nonprofit careers is what makes this sector an enticing area for professionals who wish to use their talents for altruistic endeavors. By serving an organization with goals and purposes, professionals find themselves taking on the same goals and purposes, making nonprofit careers one of the most gratifying paths for any MBA degree holder.