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The nonprofit sector has grown substantially over recent years, and it doesn’t look like this will change. The 2013 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey (now called Employment Practices Survey) demonstrated that nearly half of all nonprofits were looking to increase their staff, up from 22% two years prior. This demonstrates a steady and consistent boom believed to be caused, in part, by the lack of succession planning for the retiring baby boom generation. Of particular concern is the huge gap in qualified managers and leaders, which is why there is now an urgent need for MPA degree holders.

An MPA degree is for someone who is more interested in making a difference than earning a six figure income. That said, salaries for people with MPA degrees are quite significant. Exact earnings will varying depending on where you work, what you do, and the exact content of your degree. Below are a number of positions that you may want to consider:

#1 Nonprofit Organization Program Manager

Nonprofit organization program managers are responsible for the various projects of the organization, ensuring that they meet overall goals. They are responsible for quality control, managing staff, budgets, and the various activities of the organization. They work with all staff, including managers and volunteers, and therefore have to have appropriate communication skills. Their main responsibility is to ensure that the aims and goals of the organization are met.

Typical daily tasks of a nonprofit organization program manager are:

  • To be responsible for the overall administration of the organization.
  • To support organizational goals by working with others in the organization and partners
  • To ensure all staff are properly trained and managed

According to Payscale.com, a nonprofit organization program manager has a median annual salary of $49,346.

#2 Executive Director

Executive directors are senior managers of a business or organization. They can have varying duties and responsibilities, depending on the organization they work for. Similarities in duties include the creation, development, and putting in place of strategies to ensure the organization functions efficiently and within budget. Furthermore, they develop future plans and oversee daily operations.

Common tasks for an executive director are:

  • To create, manage, and grow programs and services in their organization
  • To analyze existing processes to ensure they meet the strategic goals
  • To supervise and manage others, by conducting performance reviews
  • To hold responsibility for the budget to ensure strategic goals can be met, and to report on this to the Board of Directors
  • To develop professional relationships with other stakeholders

Executive directors have a median annual salary of $77,082, according to Payscale.com

#3 Operations Manager

Operations managers are responsible for overseeing the production of goods or services within an organization. They manage different departments as required, ensuring that the products and services meet or even exceed the expectations of the clients. Furthermore, they are responsible for the smooth running of the organization as a whole, overseeing budgets and setting strategic goals. They are also often responsible for health and safety, ensuring they are in full compliance with environmental and safety laws and regulations.

Common daily tasks are:

  • To oversee the costs and expenditures of a project
  • To make decisions in terms of personal, operational support, and more, in line with the policies of the company
  • To manage the operations of a department or the company as a whole

Payscale.com has reported that the median annual salary of an operations manager is $61,726.

#4 Human Resources Director

Human resources directors can be responsible for a variety of things depending on where they work. They are a strong strategic partner, being the advocate and voice of a company’s most precious asset: its people. Additionally, they deal with the daily management of staff, including employee behavior, complaints, benefits, salaries, training, paperwork, and so on. It is their responsibility to make sure that the workforce is utilized in such a way that operational goals can be met, managing, directing, and planning various initiatives within the organization. They also have to be inspirational leaders and team builders.

On a day to day basis, a human resource director:

  • Holds responsibility for the full workforce operations, focusing on budgets and strategic goals
  • Plans, implements, manages, and reviews HR initiatives, such as compensation, recruitment, retention, training, benefits, and overall employee relations
  • Makes sure that all policies and procedures are adhered to consistently and that they meet the overall strategic goals of the organization, while being compliant with relevant state and federal laws and regulations, as well as professional standards

According to a recent Payscale.com report, nonprofit organization directors of development have a median annual salary of $62,041.

#5 Nonprofit Organization Director of Development

Directors of development for a nonprofit organization ensure that the necessary funds are available to meet goals. Hence, they develop fundraising plans, attract financial support, identify new investors, charitable events, grants, corporate investors, and marketing opportunities. They are also responsible for developing a network of professional relationships with a donor base, to enhance the availability of funding. Furthermore, they hold responsibility for branding and the overall public relations strategy. Depending on the size of their organization, they may also be responsible for staffing issues.

Commonly, they will:

  • Create strategic plans to make sure funds are available as and when needed to meet strategic goals
  • Focus on the financial health of their organization, ensuring business development can continue
  • Write grants, oversee fundraising, research corporations and foundations, attract other investors, and more

According to a recent Payscale.com report, nonprofit organization directors of development have a median annual salary of $62,041.

#6 Nonprofit Program Coordinator

Program coordinators of a nonprofit organization are generally the face of an organization project, charity, or social service. Sometimes, they run the entire organization, or they hold responsibility for a certain branch or segment of the organization. Usually, they work directly with the service users, while also managing subordinates and volunteers and reporting to the board. They must work with other departments and external organizations to ensure they can serve the mission of the nonprofit and the population it targets.

Typical tasks of a nonprofit program coordinator are:

  • To manage the program’s administration
  • To promote the organization within the community
  • To manage staff and volunteers

A nonprofit program coordinator, according to a Payscale.com report, has a median annual salary of $40,965.

#7 Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers have similar roles to those of the human resource director, albeit with less responsibility. Indeed, the HR director generally delegates tasks to the HR manager, or they may be charged with holding the responsibility over a certain department within the organization. Like the director, they are advocates for employees, ensuring they are properly trained, compensated, and placed, while also handling disputes and disciplinary actions. They must always focus on relevant laws and regulations, as well as the relevant policies within the company itself.

Typical tasks of a human resources manager are:

  • To make sure all relevant policies and procedures are being adhered to, and that they are relevant to the goals of the company and in compliance with relevant rules, regulations, and professional standards
  • To deal with all HR activities, including recruitment, retention, training, and compensation
  • To coach others within the organization on the various HR policies and programs
  • To manage the daily operations of the department, including staffing and training budgets

The median annual salary for human resource managers is $64,255, according to a Payscale.com report.

Summary

By completing an MPA degree, you will open up a variety of interesting careers. Some of those are better paid than others, but most people with an MPA degree care more about making a difference in the lives of people than attracting a huge salary. That said, pay certainly isn’t bad for MPA degree holders.

Additional Resources

References

Sady Brown
Written by Sady Brown
Sady Brown is Editorial Strategist for Nogre.com