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Nonprofit Management and Leadership

Earn the nonprofit management certificate that positions you to lead.

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If you’re looking to advance your career but don't want to complete a full Master's program, our nonprofit management certificate may be a great option for you. The four-course Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership prepares mission-driven professionals to excel in leading people as well as strategy, finances, and fundraising. Our faculty have decades of real-world experience and will help you gain knowledge and skills that you can apply to your job the next day. This program is quick—you can complete it in a year—but challenging. The effort you put forth will make your professional goals reachable.

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Nonprofit Management Certificate Program Highlights

  • To direct a successful program or lead a high-impact nonprofit organization, one should be proficient in planning and implementing strategy, program evaluation and performance management, effective fundraising, communications strategy, fostering innovation, building a high-performing team, budgeting and accounting, and  governance and compliance.
  • With the University of Maryland’s Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, students gain these skills while joining a robust network of professionals who are changing the world for good.
  • Our alums are excelling in an impressive range of roles at organizations focused on a variety of issues and solutions including advocacy, corporate social responsibility, education, environment, healthcare, membership, performing arts and museums, social assistance, think tanks, and philanthropy. 
  • Students have access to weekly professional development and network events throughout the semester; invitations to exclusive Mastermind Groups for fundraising, financial management, and program evaluation; career coaching and resume support; and mentorship opportunities with faculty, staff, and alums.
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Graduate Certificate Curriculum

The 12-credit, four-course graduate certificate program is designed for working professionals.

Students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average in order to be awarded the graduate certificate.

Fall 2021 Courses

  • PLCY689Y Nonprofit Fundraising Theory and PracticeMondays, 6:30 - 9pm, Online
  • PLCY689Z Strategic Management for Nonprofit and Public Organizations Tuesdays, 6:30 - 9pm, Online
  • PLCY689D Social Entrepreneurship | Tuesdays, 6:30 - 9pm, Online
  • PLCY798Y Nonprofit and NGO Management and Leadership
    • Wednesdays, 6:30 - 9pm, Online
    • Wednesdays, 7 - 9:30pm, In person at the Do Good Accelerator 
  • PLCY688F Nonprofit Financial ManagementThursdays, 6:30 - 9 pm, Online

The fall 2021 semester begins on Monday, August 30.

Nonprofit Management Certificate Faculty

Tuition & Fees

We are committed to making higher education accessible and affordable. Learn more.

Aid & Scholarships

See the financial aid and scholarships that are available to help fund your education. 

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Leadership Exchange: Real Conversations with Leaders Making a Difference

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are these classes offered online or in person?
For the Fall 2021 semester, all five classes will be taught online. One course - 798Y Nonprofit and NGO Management and Leadership - will also be offered for in-person instruction.

Are there required and elective courses?
Students must complete four courses to earn the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Two of the four courses are required: Financial Management and Nonprofit Management and Leadership. The other courses are electives. To date, we have offered Fundraising and Strategic Planning and Implementation as electives. Starting in Fall 2021, we start to expand our list of elective offerings to include, for example, Strategic Philanthropy, Social Entrepreneurship, or Program Evaluation.

What is the typical class size, and how are classes scheduled and structured?
Classes are offered online on weeknights and typically have between 20 and 30 students. Each of the five classes is structured in a different way, according to the teaching style of the course instructor, but all classes balance readings with discussions and real-world projects that enable application of course concepts.

What types of assignments are required in the courses?
In all five courses, students are expected to complete the assigned readings and participate in robust weekly discussions in-class. The Strategy and Fundraising courses require students to complete a capstone consulting project with a nonprofit in the region. The Management and Leadership course capstone project is developing a personal leadership philosophy. The Finance class teaches students how to use Excel for nonprofit financial management and then requires use of the software for course assignments.

Can I complete this program while also working full-time? What is the weekly time commitment?
Yes, you can! The program is designed for working professionals, with classes beginning at 6:30pm on weeknights. Previous students have taken either one or two classes per semester while working full-time. Based on students’ past experiences, we advise starting with one class if you have a full-time job.

Will I need to purchase textbooks and other materials for the courses?
That depends on the class and the instructor. Generally, each class requires one or two reference books that detail the primary principles of the course. The strategy and fundraising courses, however, are grounded in case studies and professional reports. These materials will need to be purchased. The average cost of books and other materials per class is less than $100.

What is the Do Good Institute’s role in the program?
The Do Good Institute is housed in the School of Public Policy and co-manages the Graduate Certificate program with the School. DGI staff provide Graduate Certificate students opportunities to get involved in campus events and publish a monthly newsletter that alerts Graduate Certificate students about campus events, nonprofit sector news, and job opportunities.

From orientation to graduation, the Do Good Institute engages the entire student body in initiatives designed to ensure that every student who graduates from UMD will do so informed and motivated to Do Good in their communities and around the world.

What types of students enroll in this program?
All of our students are interested in learning how to effectively manage a nonprofit organization and join an elite network of nonprofit professionals.

The program includes professionals who have been in the workforce from between 3 and more than 30 years, as well as master’s and PhD students from UMD schools and colleges who are looking to complement their subject-matter-expertise with practical management and leadership skills.

Some of the students work for nonprofits and want to lead an organization in the future. Others have a leadership role at a nonprofit, and a few have created their own nonprofit organization.

What is the background of the instructors in the program?
We select instructors for their work experience, subject matter expertise, and teaching experience. Each of them brings at least a decade of experience in a leadership role at a nonprofit organization and has experience teaching at a university.

Is the community supportive and collaborative?
Absolutely! Most of the classes entail team-based consulting projects that will give you the opportunity to grow and learn with your fellow classmates of nonprofit professionals and graduate students. Students in past classes have celebrated holidays, each other's birthdays, job placements, and more. The program also provides opportunities to connect with program alums.

Are networking and other professional development opportunities offered?
Yes, many. Nonprofit professional guest speakers are a key component of the classes in the program. Students will be able to network with foundation executives, nonprofit program staff, board members, and senior fundraising professionals. Also, outside of class, Graduate Certificate students are invited to events and workshops that allow them to grow their networks and gain additional workplace skills.

How have students used the coursework in their careers?
“My experience as a student of the Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership was and will always be a valuable learning opportunity. I felt that this program gave me the opportunity to learn how to be an effective nonprofit leader, how to manage nonprofit finances and operations, and how to design and implement an effective fundraising event. In addition, the Certificate program has knowledgeable professors who provide guidance and insight based on their nonprofit experiences. I know that my Certificate degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the reputable School of Public Policy will boost my professional persona as I continue my career path within the nonprofit sector.” - Nicole Stephenson

“I’ve been operating a nonprofit for five years and I want to get things right as we start getting ready to scale our programs nationwide. After just a few weeks in this Certificate program, I feel much more confident in my ability to lead us in the right direction.” -Tenneh Kemah

“A hallmark of this certificate program has been your willingness to help me and other students get connected to career opportunities.” – Brianna Aldridge

Are there job or internship opportunities available to students in the program?
Yes, lots! Graduate Certificate students can apply to be an Impact Intern and earn a part-time paid position at a regional nonprofit or foundation during the summer. Students who are enrolled in the program will be notified of these opportunities when they become available during the Spring semester.

In addition, we regularly receive job postings from our alumni and various regional nonprofit partners. We share these in our student newsletter and in our exclusive LinkedIn group.

One of the greatest assets of the Certificate program is the hands-on care and attention that each student receives from Do Good Institute and School of Public Policy faculty and staff to determine their career goals, expand their networks, and land that dream job.

How does this degree help a professional who wants to grow their nonprofit?
The program gives you a solid foundation in fundraising, financial management, and strategic planning--key skills for an effective nonprofit leader. At the same time, you will also learn about yourself and your own management and leadership philosophy along the way, and how to effectively manage people to achieve social impact.

How much does the program cost?
Tuition for each course is $3,000, and there are additional university fees (around $400) that are charged per semester. Many of our students receive fellowship funding to help offset the cost of the program, significantly reducing the net tuition price they pay.

Is financial support available for current nonprofit professionals?
For the Fall 2020 semester, newly admitted students are eligible to receive Nonprofit Leadership Fellowship financial aid awards. This program awards students partial tuition scholarships as well as career and leadership development support. We also award Nonprofit Management Fellowship tuition scholarships. There is no work requirement to receive the fellowship financial aid.

There is also the zero-interest Terp Payment Plan which enables you to spread tuition payments over a semester or academic year so you don't have to pay a lump-sum at the start of the semester. Learn more.

Finally, Federal financial aid is available to students who are taking two courses per semester. Eligible students will need to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. Using the FAFSA, eligible students may be offered a Direct Federal Unsubsidized and Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. These students are required to enroll for at least 6 credits (24 units) or more each semester. Please review the Gainful Employment Disclosure requirements.

University of Maryland staff and graduate assistants may be eligible for tuition remission as a benefit of their employment. Check with your HR coordinator for specific information.

What is the parking and transportation situation?
Free parking is available near every class. The College Park campus is accessible via Metro and Metrobus as well. From the Metro Green Line College Park Station, you can take a free shuttle to campus and then walk a short distance to class.