Nonprofit organizations are geared toward advocacy programs that help a community, and are typically recognized as private, voluntary organizations that are not associated with the government. They generally find ways to create fundraising to tackle social problems within the community, like enhancing a local church or forming a labor union.

MSW Programs Focused on Working For Non Profit Organizations

Examples of nonprofit organizations, which are tax exempt, include churches, institutions, and hospitals. There are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States, with many more not registered with the Internal Revenue Service because of lower revenue.

When reviewing higher education programs within social work, students should consider degrees that have been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). They are a nonprofit association with over 2,500 individual members and are the only organization that has accreditation exclusively for undergraduate and graduate programs within social work.

Completing a Bachelor's degree with high academic marks and has been accredited by the CSWE will give students the ability to pursue a truncated Master's program due to obtaining advanced standing.

Online NGO MSW Programs

Many Master's degrees and graduate certifications within nonprofit management will be available to complete online. In some instances, students can combine both the Master of Social Work and their certification, giving them enhanced features when it comes to succeeding in the nonprofit sector. It is important for students to verify if specific universities will offer all nonprofit courses in the online program, and in some cases, they will only be available in certain semesters.

Many online requirements for students include the ability to meet in a live session with faculty and other students for synchronous formats, and/or completing assignments within a specific time frame. Asynchronous students will have more flexibility when it comes to accessing and viewing lectures, but they typically will need to complete assignments by a certain deadline.

Online Learning Environment and Typical Requirements

Clinical practicum is needed for most social work degrees, but this can be accomplished within a student's location even if they are distant from the campus. A handful of schools will designate if the program can only be completed within their proximity, but most institutions offer their programs across the nation.

Students should determine if they meet the technical requirements to work with the course management system the programs offer. This includes having a modern computer system with a Windows or Mac operating system. Optimal web browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari, and having access to high-speed internet is recommended.

Bachelor's Degrees in Nonprofit Social Work

Students will get a broad range of education within social work when they pursue a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). Most Bachelor's degrees within social work will require 120 credit hours to complete. Accredited programs by the CSWE will give students the eligibility to apply for a shorter Master's degree in the same field as they will receive advanced standing. Students should review the full requirements needed to achieve this status as the amount of credits eliminated and how long the program will be varies with each institution. Examples of courses that are taken at the undergraduate level include an introduction into social work, exploring organizational theory and practice, and completing practicum sessions for field experience.

Due to the common requirements and field work needed to complete a Bachelor's degree, there are limited options when it comes to completing the program online. One example of the curriculum students will pursue through a BSW is at Concordia University, which adds requirements in human behavior, policy, and diversity on top of the social work major. A handful of courses within the social work major include theory in human behavior and the social environment, analyzing social policy and services, and holding practice with individuals and families, groups, and communities and organizations.

Master's Degrees in Nonprofit Social Work

In some cases, students are able to combine their MSW with a Master's degree or graduation certificate in a nonprofit discipline. This will showcase the graduate's competence in social work and abilities when it comes to holding an executive or administrative role within a nonprofit organization. Students should review the MSW curriculum to see if they offer nonprofit education within the traditional program itself. There will typically be a field experience requirement in the program, which is completed at a facility at the institution or an approved health care clinic near the student when taking the program online.

Some examples of common nonprofit courses that students will take within a Master's degree include financial planning and management. These will give students the tools needed to analyze the organization's cash flow by reviewing the budget, managing endowments and grants, and the cost effectiveness of their spending. Another course example is leadership among various nonprofits collaborating together in order to create a partnership and expand potential opportunities. There is also program development courses specifically focused on nonprofit organizations that gives students the ability to maximize a program's potential by determining how much it can impact the community and what improvements can be made.

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

The School of Social Work provides a Master of Social Work that can be completed in a variety of different ways, including three years in a virtual setting. This program will prepare students for management and leadership positions within nonprofit and public organizations. They will demonstrate their leadership skills and emphasize the core values of the program, such as eliminating social injustice and oppression, along with implementing ethics and following all rules and regulations. One of the concentrations students can pursue is within Community, Management, and Policy Practice. Course examples include Theory and Practice in Administration and Management, Evaluation of Social Interventions, and Advanced Policy Practice.

While there are options to pursue the program on a full-time basis, the three-year plan that includes online learning is geared toward those that are unable to fully commit to educational studies and need to maintain a job. Any form of the degree will require field study in addition to the normal academics. This will give students the ability to deal with real-world experiences and prepare them for interaction in their career. Students will be pursuing this field experience either on-campus or at many agencies across over 50 counties in North Carolina.

Case Western Reserve University

There are a few options to consider when it comes to nonprofit management education at Jack, Jospeh, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. The online Master of Social Work is fully available in a virtual setting and uses Zoom Video Communications for its course management system. With this technology and the ability for students to have live interaction with peers and faculty members, there are no physical campus visits required. Course materials can also be accessed through the system’s mobile app, making it convenient to watch lectures or review reading material on a phone or tablet. Students will also have access to WeWork to connect with local students. Within the Master’s degree curriculum, topics related to nonprofit management include Nonprofit Revenue Planning and Development, Nonprofit Financial Management, and Collaboration and Strategic Partnership.

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Students also have the option to complete the Master of Nonprofit Organizations, which offers a curriculum that focuses exclusively on business strategies in this sector. Eventual graduates will also enjoy the benefit of networking with other individuals that have been successful in the nonprofit field. Example courses in the curriculum include Data-Based Decision Making, Nonprofit Law, and Nonprofit Leadership Dialogues. There are also electives within marketing, program design, and giving an overall introduction into the nonprofit sector. This program is not accredited by the CSWE, but it does include a similar curriculum and is ideal for those looking to become executives at a nonprofit organization.

Virginia Commonwealth University

The School of Social Work has an online Master of Social Work for both full-time and part-time students. There are 60 credit hours that need to fulfill the curriculum, and full-time students should be able to complete this process in four semesters. Those that need a little more time while pursuing the degree can enroll part-time and complete the program in ten semesters. In order to complete clinical work, students should anticipate that they will need to meet around 20 hours work of work during business hours. Students around the nation are able to complete the program as field experience will take place at an approved location.

Students have the ability to enroll in a dual-degree option by adding a graduate certification in Nonprofit Management to go with the MSW. Adding the certification will require 15 more credit hours to be completed and prepares eventual graduates for executives roles in the nonprofit sector. In order to be administered into the program, prospective students will need an undergraduate degree with a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher. If the curriculum is not based in social work, prerequisite course requirements include behavioral sciences and social sciences. These are courses exploring topics in psychology, math, biology, political science, and similar. Those that have a Bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited university may be eligible for the advanced standing, which requires less credit hours.

University of Arkansas-Little Rock

There is a Master of Social Work available online that requires 60 credit hours to complete and has an emphasis on clinical social work. There are electives that students can pick that can hold a focus within nonprofit social work, or they can choose to complete a graduate certification. Each course online will require students to meet live together five times in the duration of the class. While the program is available online, it is exclusive to Arkansas residents. Field work must be completed physically as well, but it does not have to be near or at the campus. Entry into the program takes place in the fall and spring semesters.

The school offers a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management, which is offers a more flexible schedule. All courses, which are worth 18 credit hours, are offered in an asynchronous format and students can complete the program at their own pace. The two required courses are in Nonprofit Management and the capstone project. The other four courses are reserved for electives, with options in Urban Management, Grant Writing and Fundraising, and Program Planning and Evaluation. To gain entry into the program, students must have at least a 2.7 cumulative GPA in their undergraduate degree.

Non Profit Organization Social Worker Careers

Child Protective Services

Roles in these organizations are to ensure the safety of children and helping families come together. Case workers will interview those making claims about a potential serious issue that is impacting a child’s life, be it abandonment, abuse, or not providing an optimal environment for them to grow up in. They will then investigate claims to determine if the child can still be raised by the original parents or if other options will need to be pursued. If a high quality of life cannot be achieved with the original parents and there is no cooperation, children are then taken and put in foster homes.

Community Advocate

Also known as community health workers or health educators, these advocates within nonprofits will create and help fund programs that will directly help the community. Their goal is to identify these problems and advocate for policy change, and frequently health workers will identify a particular issue in order to spread awareness and give others knowledge on the task at hand. They may also directly work with those that are in need of specific services. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, average salary in these professions are roughly $47,780 across the nation. There is also a projected 11 percent growth between 2018-28 in the field due to the demand for further education in health care on preventative measures. 

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Development Specialist

Helps train employees to improve their job abilities and skill-level at their position within the organization. These specialists will evaluate these workers and consult with them on changes that need to be made in order to improve their work. They determine the correct training method to use, such as providing hands-on learning or collectively collaborating with them in group sessions. In some cases, they may implement programs within the organization for a broad improvement on certain skills, or when something new is being utilized. Development specialty salaries will alter depending on the sector being pursued, but on average, they will make approximately $67,620 annually according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Community Health Workers and Training and Development Specialists reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed March 2023.