Earn the nonprofit management certificate that positions you to lead.
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Want to advance your career but don't have the time to complete a full master's program? Our nonprofit management certificate is a great option for you. The four-course Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership prepares mission-driven professionals to excel in management, strategy, finances, and fundraising. Our faculty has decades of real-world experience and will help you take the knowledge and skills that you learn in class on Monday and apply them to your job on Tuesday. This program is quick—you can complete it in a year—but challenging, and you can take classes either on-campus or from the comfort of your own home. The effort you put forth will make your professional goals reachable.
Nonprofit Management Certificate Program Highlights
- Gain Necessary Skills: To direct a successful program or lead a high-impact nonprofit organization, you need a robust skillset. This nonprofit leadership certificate empowers professionals to gain proficiency in strategy planning and implementation, program evaluation and performance management, effective fundraising, communications strategy, high-performance team building, budgeting and accounting, and governance and compliance.
- Join a Community: By joining the program, students join a cohort of nonprofit professionals who are changing the world for good. Students are encouraged to connect outside of class through organized open houses, coffee chats, and more. Many students give feedback that their favorite part of the fundraising certificate program is the support of their peers.
- Work with Renowned Faculty and Staff: Students are taught by subject matter experts in the field who are eager to empower them to make connections and achieve their professional goals.
- Land Your Dream Job: Whether taking on new challenges within their organization, jump-starting their own organization, or fulfilling a new position at their dream organization, our alums are excelling in impressive roles at a variety of social impact organizations. Our graduates are currently working across sectors and addressing issues including advocacy, corporate social responsibility, education, environment, healthcare, performing arts and museums, community building, think tanks, philanthropy, and more.
- Bolster Your Professional Development: Students have access to weekly professional development and networking events throughout the semester. These include, but are not limited to, invitations to exclusive Mastermind Groups for fundraising, financial management, and program evaluation, career coaching and resume support, and mentorship and networking opportunities with faculty, staff, alums, and nonprofit leaders.
- Flexible Learning Options: Each semester, nonprofit management courses are offered on-campus and online, allowing students to choose a class schedule that fits their availability.
- Competitive Financial Aid Scholarships: Qualified candidates may complete the Nonprofit Management and Leadership Certificate program for as little as $8,000 when they earn the maximum available tuition scholarship. All admitted candidates are automatically considered for scholarships, and no separate fellowship application is required. Learn more about financial aid and scholarships.
The School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland is a top ranked school for nonprofit management.
Graduate Certificate Curriculum
The 12-credit, four-course graduate certificate program is designed for working professionals. Most Nonprofit Management and Leadership courses are offered on weeknights online this fall.
Fall 2022 Course Offerings and Schedule
- PLCY689Y Nonprofit Fundraising Theory and Practice
- Mondays, 6:30-9pm [online]
- PLCY689Z Strategic Management for Nonprofit and Public Organizations
- Tuesdays, 6:30-9pm with Robert Sheehan [online]
- PLCY689D Social Entrepreneurship
- Tuesdays, 6:30-9pm with Bethany Henderson [online]
- PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership
- Wednesdays, 6:30-9pm with Jeff Franco [online]
- PLCY688F Nonprofit Financial Management
- Thursdays, 6:30-9pm with Nathan Dietz [online]
Additional classes may be offered during different semesters. Past classes have included
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Nonprofit Management Certificate Faculty
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 are expanding our list of elective offerings to include Social Entrepreneurship; with Strategic Philanthropy and Program Evaluation electives in the works.
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. For example, you may consult a local NGO on how to expand their fundraising effort.
What types of assignments are required in the nonprofit management courses?
In all five courses, students are expected to complete the assigned readings and participate in robust weekly discussions in-class. Each class also has special projects that align with the course content. For example, the Strategy and Fundraising courses require students to complete a capstone consulting project with a nonprofit in the region.
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. If you take one class per semester, you can finish the program in 4 semesters (two academic years).
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 books to be purchased. The strategy and fundraising courses 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 Nonprofit Certificate program? The Do Good Institute is housed in the School of Public Policy and co-manages the graduate certificate program with the school. Our staff provides graduate certificate students opportunities to get involved on campus and publishes a monthly newsletter that alerts 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. Learn more here.
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 anywhere between three to 30+ years, as well as master’s and Ph.D. students from UMD schools and colleges who are looking to complement their subject matter expertise with practical nonprofit management and leadership skills.
Some 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 Nonprofit Management and Leadership program? We select instructors for their work experience, subject matter expertise, and teaching excellence. Each of them brings at least a decade of nonprofit and social impact leadership experience as well as previous teaching history 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. Students in past classes have celebrated holidays, each other's birthdays, job placements, and even more. The Nonprofit Management and Leadership Graduate Certificate 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. These professional growth opportunities for our students contribute to this certificate's rank as one of the best nonprofit management programs in the U.S.
Is a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership worth it? No matter if you're looking to launch your own nonprofit or secure a long-term role in fundraising, a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership both expands your career opportunities and enhances your leadership skills.
How have students used the coursework in their careers? We let the students speak for themselves:
“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 Nonprofit Management and Leadership program? Yes, lots! Nonprofit Management and Leadership 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 and Do Good Bulletin.
One of the greatest assets of the Nonprofit Management and Leadership Certificate is the hands-on care and attention that each student receives from the Do Good Institute faculty and staff to determine their career goals, expand their networks, and land their dream job.
How does this certificate help a professional who wants to grow their nonprofit? As one of the best nonprofit certificate programs in the nation, the Nonprofit Management and Leadership program gives you a solid foundation in fundraising, financial management, and strategic planning. At the same time, you will learn about yourself and your own nonprofit management and leadership philosophy along the way, mastering effective management skills to achieve social impact.
What leadership skills are needed in nonprofit management? There are a variety of leadership skills that students will need to succeed in a nonprofit management role. Some of the most notable skills taught inside the classroom include strategic planning, budget allocation, and fundraising. Start your application today.
How much does the Nonprofit Management and Leadership program cost? Tuition for each course is $3,000, plus 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? Admitted students can receive up to $7,000 toward the Nonprofit Management and Leadership Certificate through the Nonprofit Leadership Fellows Program. Students who apply to the graduate certificate program and are admitted will automatically be considered for the fellowship. This program awards students partial tuition scholarships as well as personalized 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 here.
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 six credits (24 units) or more each semester. Please review the Gainful Employment Disclosure requirements.
The Do Good Institute staff and graduate assistants may be eligible for tuition remission as a benefit of their employment. Check with your HR coordinator for specific information.
For on-campus classes, 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.
Are there grade requirements to receive the certificate?
Students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average in order to be awarded the graduate certificate.