Career Overview: Nonprofit Management

What They Do

Nonprofit managers have many of the same responsibilities as managers who work in the private sector. They may supervise finances, personnel, fundraising efforts or volunteers. The responsibilities of a particular manager depend on the needs, size, mission and type of the nonprofit organization. A nonprofit may be a charity or service organization that is dedicated to a particular purpose. The revenue generated by the organization is used to further its mission, hence the name “nonprofit.” A nonprofit manager ensures that the organization is running smoothly and efficiently concerning its overall goal.


Administrative duties like coordinating communication with other organizations, agencies and businesses can be assigned to a nonprofit manager. Communication-related activities like grant writing and working with local officials can be part of the job description. Because the federal criteria for the status of nonprofit organizations is so specific, a manager must understand and adhere to those rules to ensure the future of the organization.

Career Growth

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are around 1.5 million nonprofit or tax-exempt organizations. Nonprofits accounted for more than 9 percent of the total wages and salaries paid in the United States in 2010, the center reports. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the job growth for social and community service managers to increase 21 percent by 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. The growth will be driven by increases in the number of older Americans and by increased demand for substance abuse treatment and mental health services.

Salary Potential

The annual salary of individuals who work in nonprofit management depends on the size and type of organization. But as an example, social and community service managers (who may work for nonprofit organizations) earn a median annual salary of almost $60,000. There are other specific types of nonprofit managers as well. A nonprofit program manager, for example, makes around $46,000 a year, according to PayScale. Other nonprofit managers can make up to $70,000. At the lower end of the scale, salaries for entry-level nonprofit managers can be around $33,000 a year.


Commonly, a manager of a nonprofit has at least a bachelor’s degree with a major such as business administration or organizational leadership. It is important that students who plan on pursuing this kind of career understand that a nonprofit’s goal is not to make money but to achieve a goal or to respond to a problem. Skills and knowledge relating to problem-solving, communication and the ability to think analytically and critically are all required of nonprofit managers.