21+ Nonprofit Management Certificate Programs: Best List


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Nonprofit Management Certificate Programs come in two flavors, standalone and advanced degree programs. Standalone nonprofit management certificate programs take 1-12 months to complete at costs ranging from $125 to $3597. Advanced degree nonprofit management certificate programs can be completed in 10-36 months with costs ranging from $2,437 to $27,180.

Nonprofit organizations are a critical part of society. They provide services to those who need them the most, and they do so without expecting anything in return. But running a nonprofit organization is hard work, and there’s no shortage of challenges that both board members and staff must confront on a daily basis.

That’s why many people choose to pursue a graduate degree or certificate program in nonprofit management. Not only does it teach you how to run your organization more efficiently, but it also provides you with practical skills for managing finances, human resources, marketing campaigns, fundraising efforts, advocacy campaigns—the list goes on.

In this article, we review the types of programs currently available and provide a resource of over 21 different programs across the United States that will help prepare you for a life of leading any nonprofit organization.

We’ve done the work, let’s get you to the details.

Advanced degree program or certificate program?

Before we can discuss the types of programs available, it’s important to understand some key differences between a certificate program and an advanced degree program.

The first difference is that a certificate program is usually shorter than an advanced degree program. Some only take 4-6 weeks to complete while others will take up to two years. With a master’s or doctorate degree program, you can expect to take 18 months or longer to complete.

The second difference is cost. While some certificate programs are expensive, others will only set you back a few hundred dollars. Graduate degree programs, on the other hand, may require you to accumulate tens of thousands of dollars in student loans before completing the program.

The third difference is that advanced degree programs take longer to complete, but certificate programs often require more work per week. This means that you’ll end up with valuable experience regardless of which option you choose.

Convinced? Let’s take a look at the types of programs available to start your nonprofit management career on the right track.

Why Would I Want A Certificate In Nonprofit Management?

There are many reasons why you might want to enroll in a certificate program.

If you’re currently working full-time in the nonprofit sector and simply need a quick refresher course, then this may be your best option. It will provide you with a basic overview of different topics so that you can continue to achieve results for your organization.

Many certificate programs are only offered online so that you can complete the courses at your own pace. On-campus attendance may not be an option for everyone in these types of situations. On the other hand, if you want to learn about nonprofit management but don’t have the resources to attend an in-person class, this could be a good solution.

If you’re planning on pursuing a master’s degree or doctorate degree program later down the line, then earning a certificate now will give you some great experience that can help land your dream job. This way, you’ll have a strong foundation to build upon during your advanced degree program.

If you’re currently working for or managing a nonprofit organization, then earning a certificate will prove that you have the skills needed to lead it into the future. It should give you more confidence in your professional abilities which can help elevate your career as well as your organization.

Even if you already have significant for-profit, corporate senior leadership experience, nonprofits deal with many things that are unique from the for-profit world. For instance, the nonprofit sector is more susceptible to changes in public policy. This means that you’ll need to develop skills and strategies to overcome these obstacles in order to see your organization succeed.

Ok, let’s get you the information you need.

The Big List Of Nonprofit Management Certificate Programs

Impact Foundry – Certificate In Nonprofit Management

Description: This online certificate program provides an introduction to key current management issues for nonprofit organizations. Topics such as fundraising, board development and volunteer leadership, budgeting, reading financial statements and understanding marketing are addressed in the program with video commentary from people who work in the position first hand.

Each self-paced course is 3 to 5 hours and offers interactive exercises, videos, selected readings, case studies, and self-assessments that will help you practice decision-making in a nonprofit context.

The certificate program can be completed in as little as 4-5 weeks.

United Way of Smith County, Texas – Nonprofit Management Certificate

Description: This certificate program is administered by the United Way of Smith County and will provide you with a strong foundation in nonprofit management. Courses are taught by field experts rather than professors, so your peers will also be working to become leaders in the sector. 

Completion of this certificate requires successful participation in 7 full-day sessions conducted over the course of the year.

Topics covered include:

  • Risk & Financial Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Program Planning & Evaluation
  • Board Governance
  • HR & Volunteer Management
  • Branding, Marketing, & Public Relations

Center For Nonprofit Resources – Nonprofit Management Certificate

Description: This certificate will provide you with the fundamentals you need to build your skills in nonprofit management.

Lourdes University offers a special incentive to continuing students in the Nonprofit Management fundraising course. Those who complete eighteen hours of this required prerequisite will be rewarded with transfer credit into their Master’s Degree program.

Center for Professional Education @ The University of Texas at Austin – Nonprofit Management Certificate Program

Description: This 12-month program will help you develop the skills needed to effectively lead a nonprofit organization. The certificate is offered through the Center for Professional Education of The University of Texas at Austin while opportunities for financial aid, career services assistance and more are provided by professional schools within the university.

Modules of the program include:

  • Introduction to Nonprofit Management: Gain a comprehensive understanding of the nonprofit sector and learn skills that will help with leadership.
  • Budgeting in a Nonprofit Organization: Find out the differences between strategic and tactical budgeting, as well as how organizations use various approaches to best manage their finances.
  • Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations: Fundraising is an important element of running a nonprofit organization. In this module, we will look at some of the basic elements involved in raising funds for your organization, as well as some of the key considerations you need to make.
  • How to Read a Nonprofit Financial Statement: Gain financial statement reading and management skills that are different from the skills needed for profit-making corporations.
  • Leadership in a Nonprofit Organization: This discussion will explore the foundations of leadership and discuss how to be successful as a leader. With an overview of principles including ethics, vision-casting, empowerment, and more.
  • Nonprofit Board and Volunteer Development: A volunteer base is important for any nonprofit organization. This module will focus on the roles of volunteers, various ways to organize board responsibilities, and opportunities for individuals looking to get involved as a volunteer.
  • Principles of Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations: Marketing is a necessary function for nonprofit organizations, just like it is in the private sector. There are similarities and differences between how marketing takes place in these two worlds.
  • Strategy for Nonprofit Organizations: This module will help you understand the basics of strategy in a nonprofit context. You’ll learn how budgets and strategic planning relate to one another, and also identify the need for contingency planning.
  • Capital Campaigns: In this module, we will discuss key terminology and practices surrounding running a successful capital campaign. We’ll also explore common pitfalls you can avoid when establishing your campaign so as to ensure its success.
  • Introduction to Grant Writing: A guide to the basics of grant writing, an increasingly important tool for finding funding.
  • Social Media for Nonprofits: This module explores the major social media platforms that nonprofits can use to reach their members, volunteers, and donors.
  • Leading the Courtney Museum Simulation: The pinnacle module in this course is a simulation exercise designed to synthesize course content and examine critical real-world leadership issues.

Molloy College – Non-Profit Management Certificate Program

Description: The Molloy College Nonprofit Management Certificate Program is an online learning program with classes that meet for 6 weeks with approximately 2-4 hours per week of coursework to be completed.

The curriculum introduces you to the world of nonprofit and foundations management and prepares you for leadership roles within the nonprofit sector.

UW Continuum College – Certificate In Nonprofit Management

  • Website: https://www.pce.uw.edu/certificates/nonprofit-management
  • Completion: 8 Months
  • Cost: $3597 USD
  • CFRE Credits:  None / 9 CEUs
  • Training Hours: ~150 Hours
  • Instruction Method: Online
  • State: Washington

Description: The UW-Continuum College Certificate in Nonprofit Management is an online learning program that requires 8 months and 150 hours of study to complete, with 3 courses, each 10 weeks in length. It is anticipated that there will be 5-7 hours of coursework per week throughout the program.

The core curriculum includes classes on fundraising, grant writing, financial management, marketing, nonprofit administration and more.

The three courses required are:

  • Management & Operations in the nonprofit sector
  • Leadership & Strategy in the nonprofit sector
  • Fundraising & Communications in the nonprofit sector

UIC Extended Campus – Certificate In Nonprofit Management

  • Website: https://ec.uic.edu/cnm/
  • Completion: 6 Months – 3 Years
  • Cost: $1750 USD
  • CFRE Credits:  None
  • Training Hours: ~160 Hours
  • Instruction Method: Online
  • State: Illinois

Description: The Certificate in Nonprofit Management is a transdisciplinary certificate that can be earned via distance education.

Faculty members with business, public health and law backgrounds are committed to providing you with the knowledge and skills needed for success in nonprofit management.

To earn the Certificate in Nonprofit Management (CNM) you will be required to complete a minimum of 3 courses in the program.

CNM – Nonprofit Management Certificate

Description: The Certificate in Nonprofit Management is an in-person course over four months with approximately 49 hours of instruction. The program meets 1 full day per week, approximately every other week for 14-16 weeks.

The program covers topics including financial management and reporting, budgeting and fundraising for nonprofits, nonprofit economics and strategy, creating a culture where people want to work, professional development strategies, nonprofit governance and legal issues.

The program has four program outcomes:

  1. Identify major theories of management and explain the relevance of these principles to nonprofit management
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the organizational factors that indicate excellence in a nonprofit organization, including the incorporation of ethics and values into the management of the organization
  3. Demonstrate the components of a nonprofit organization and the ways in which they should be managed in order to achieve internal consistency and integrity
  4. Demonstrate specific knowledge and points of view needed by nonprofit professionals

Advanced Degree Certificates in Nonprofit Management

Oakland University – Nonprofit Management Certificate

Description: The Certificate in Nonprofit Management is part of Oakland University’s Master of Public Administration program. It is offered in addition to the Master of Public Administration degree and can be taken independently as a stand-alone certificate, or as part of the MPA (Master of Public Administration) degree.

Courses are offered online through Oakland University’s Open Campus. The courses require students to complete approximately 21 hours worth of work.

The six courses covering this certificate are:

  1. Management Best Practices in Nonprofit Sector
  2. Performance Metrics in Nonprofit Management
  3. Entrepreneurship & Fund Development
  4. Communication, Marketing & Outreach for Nonprofit Managers
  5. Leadership & Human Resource Management in Nonprofit Organizations
  6. Financial Management & Accountability for Nonprofit Managers

Colorado State University – Nonprofit Administration Certificate

Description: The Nonprofit Management Certificate offered by the College of Business at Colorado State University is designed for individuals working or interested in working in nonprofit organizations.

This program was developed to create a blend between management education and a practical focus that allows students to develop skills relevant to their everyday work lives. The curriculum includes a combination of core courses, electives, practicum experiences, and field experiences. The program is designed to be completed in 3 semesters, with an option for a fourth semester.

This certificate can be earned at the same time as a Master of Social Work from Colorado State University.

Instructors will help you learn and gain knowledge in the following areas:

  • Capacity building
  • Design with intentionality
  • Donor cultivation
  • Nonprofit administration
  • Board development
  • Strengths-based coaching
  • Financial sustainability

Nonprofit Leadership Center / University of Tampa – Certificate In Nonprofit Management

Description: This certificate program is a 12-month, part-time course. It allows working professionals to earn a graduate-level certification through this nationally recognized program while continuing to work full-time in their existing field of study.

A mix of online and in-person courses are offered throughout the year. Students must be able to spend two weeks per calendar year away from their offices in order to attend seminars.

Video: https://youtu.be/WXafdZDZSvo

Harvard Extension School – Nonprofit Management Certificate

Description: The Harvard Extension School is a leading online university that offers students thorough, top-quality instruction via the web. The Nonprofit Management Certificate Program allows you to advance your career in an organization that promotes social change and positive impact.

Students gain valuable experience by working with professionals from various nonprofit organizations across the country, including evaluation research firms, advocacy groups, corporate foundations, and more.

To earn the Nonprofit Management Certificate, you must complete a total of 4 courses.

University of Oregon – Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management

Description: The Nonprofit Certificate is a 36-month, part-time program. It allows working professionals to earn a graduate-level certification through this nationally recognized program while continuing to work full-time in their existing field of study.

Core required courses include:

  • PPPM 681 Nonprofit Financial Management (4 credits)
  • PPPM 522 Grant Proposal Writing (1 credit)
  • PPPM 581 Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations (4 credits)
  • PPPM 680 Managing Nonprofit Organizations (4 credits)

The objective of our Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management is to teach you how to manage and lead financially stable, innovative and effective organizations.

The curriculum for the program focuses on technical skills specific to nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Students prepare themselves by focusing on business-related subjects such as organizational management, philanthropy, law, communication skills,

Villanova University – Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management

Description: Villanova University’s Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management is an online, five-course program that gives you the know-how to advance your cause and positions you for leadership roles in nonprofit organizations.

This certificate program will help you learn:

  • Financial management of government and nonprofit organizations
  • Nonprofit leadership ethics, board development and strategic planning
  • Ethical considerations of fundraising, development plans, mission and readiness factors and benchmarking
  • Effective management strategies and best practices in nonprofit organizations
  • Leadership ethics and value-based decision-making techniques

To find more information about costs or if there are other undergraduate offerings we missed, contact Villanova directly at 202.336.7400.

Northeastern University – Online Certificate in Nonprofit Management

Description: This graduate certificate program is the perfect way to take a deep dive into nonprofit management theory and practice, preparing students to excel in this field.

The program was designed for individuals who work in the nonprofit sector. The online format makes it easier to balance coursework with their other commitments and offers a level of interactive experience that is comparable to traditional classroom education.

Credits earned completing this certificate can be applied toward the MS in Nonprofit Management.

University of San Diego’s Division of Professional and Continuing Education – Nonprofit Management Certificate

Description: The Nonprofit Management Certificate program is designed to prepare students interested in pursuing a career with nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits are unique and complex enterprises that require careful management. You need to develop the leadership, organizational, project planning and financial management skills to work effectively in this environment. The coursework for this certificate program was developed by people who work for nonprofits or who have worked for nonprofits.

You will understand more clearly what it is like to work in the nonprofit sector and build your skills for planning, organizing and managing nonprofit organizations. You will learn how to plan an effective fundraising program, produce a strategic plan, implement development strategies and manage programs effectively.

This certificate program is appropriate for:

  • Experienced nonprofit sector employees
  • New or aspiring nonprofit sector employees
  • Professionals transitioning to the nonprofit sector
  • Current or prospective board members
  • Experienced volunteers
  • Those looking to engage in volunteer work

The program curriculum includes:

  • Overview of the Nonprofit Sector
  • Introduction to Fundraising
  • Managing Today’s Nonprofit Teams
  • Introduction to Nonprofit Financial Management
  • Attracting and Retaining Volunteers
  • Developing Effective Nonprofit Boards
  • Fundamentals of Program Evaluation
  • Marketing Fundamentals

An added bonus of this program is that enrolled students have the opportunity to obtain the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA)

Walden University – Graduate Certificate In Nonprofit Management

Description: Nonprofit organizations are in need of skilled management professionals for day-to-day operations, as well as strategic planning and implementation. Learn to meet the demands of an ever-changing world with a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from Walden University.

Courses in the program are:

  • Foundation for graduate study
  • Introduction to the Nonprofit sector
  • Board governance and volunteer management
  • Resource development

Arizona State University – Online Nonprofit Leadership and Management Graduate Certificate

Description: The ASU Nonprofit Leadership and Management Graduate Certificate program is designed to provide students with skills required for nonprofit boards, management teams, and executive leadership roles. The curriculum focuses on the complex environment of nonprofit organizations, using tools such as social enterprise theory to explore issues associated with running successful nonprofits.

Completion of these courses prepares students for a variety of career options in the nonprofit sector. These include working for a variety of types and sizes of nonprofits, research organizations, foundations, and consulting firms that specialize in addressing social issues.

WashU University College – Advanced Certificate In Nonprofit Management

Description: The curriculum covers all aspects of nonprofit administration and management:

  • Leading and managing non-profit organizations and interacting with boards of directors
  • Supervising volunteers and professionals
  • Fundraising and resource development
  • Marketing
  • Quantitative and qualitative program evaluation
  • Financial management
  • Planning and decision making
  • Social, economic and political trends affecting the nonprofit sector

American University – Graduate Certificate In Nonprofit Management

Description: Offered by the Department of Public Administration and Policy, this certificate program is an interdisciplinary study between the School of Public Affairs, Kogod School of Business, and College of Arts and Sciences. The full-time program offers academic training on nonprofit management as well as skillset training for those already working in that sector who want to improve.

Texas A&M University Bush School of Government & Public Service – Nonprofit Management Certificate

  • Website: https://bush.tamu.edu/certificate/cnpm/
  • Completion: 18-24 Months
  • Cost: $TBD USD
  • CFRE Credits:  None
  • Training Hours: 12 Credit Hours
  • Instruction Method: Online, In-Person, or Hybrid
  • State: Texas
  • Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

Description: As an online course, in-person, or a combination of both, the Certificate in Nonprofit Management is a finely crafted credential for anyone working in the nonprofit sector. Pursuing a certificate in nonprofit management will give students the skills necessary to become leaders in the sector. With full-time working professionals bringing unique experiences to the classroom, courses are taught by nationally and internationally acclaimed faculty members.

These areas of study are available for a choice of certificate emphasis:

  • Fundraising and Philanthropy
  • Fiscal & Performance Management
  • Leadership & Management
  • Health and Human Service Policy
  • International Nongovernmental Organizations

Related Questions

What is a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP)? While similar to a Certificate in Nonprofit Management, A CNP credential is issued by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. The people who earn this credential have completed rigorous leadership development programs that include assessed coursework in addition to applied experiences, such as internships or consulting projects

What degree is best for nonprofit work? A number of degrees can work well in profit work. These degrees include Nonprofit Management, Business, Education, Health or Social Services, Environmental science, and Arts degrees. MBA’s are excellent for leading nonprofit organizations.

Can you make money working for a nonprofit? Yes, of course! While a nonprofit organization needs to be wary about its income and expenses, employees of nonprofits can certainly earn a salary that allows for an excellent living wage and more.


In recent years there has been an increase in the number of online nonprofit management programs offered by organizations, universities, colleges, and graduate schools around the world.

These master’s degrees and certificates are usually designed to provide students with knowledge and skills essential to achieving success in nonprofit careers in professional settings outside of academia or in philosophical or ethical fields that are nonprofit-oriented like social justice.

In addition to the specific utility of knowledge gained from a master’s in nonprofit management, such a credential can give an applicant an edge over other candidates during the job application process. Because there are not that many nonprofit management programs offered online or at the graduate school level, getting one of these certificates is considered acquiring a unique skill set that employers have

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