Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations

Career Options

Most nonprofits look to hire people with a broad range of transferable skills. Soft skills, including being entrepreneurial, having a positive attitude, working collaboratively, and being resourceful in a resource-constrained environment are all key to building a successful nonprofit career. Hard skills in writing and research are also critical to grantwriting and philanthropic work. As you explore a career in nonprofits, visit the MacArthur Foundation resource center.


Students who earn a certificate in the Nonprofit and Philanthropy program will be well-positioned to contribute their new and existing skill set across a number of professional roles.

Program-Related Roles

Nonprofit career options vary widely at the entry level, and many professionals new to the field take up roles that provide opportunities to work on the front lines of an organization’s cause, often directly with the organization’s constituents. Nonprofit professionals often work directly on programs in roles that require strong communication and organizational skills, in situations such as interacting with constituents and organizing volunteers and events. Meeting, convention, and event planners are projected to experience a 10% percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024 – 3% higher than average.

Development and Operational Roles

Another inroad to working at a nonprofit is to work in a functional role, such as development, marketing or external affairs.


Nonprofit professionals with skills in development are in high demand, especially as access to government funding becomes harder for organizations to rely upon. The job outlook for fundraisers between 2014 and 2024 is set to grow at 9%, faster than the average for other occupations.


Overseeing development campaigns are public relations and fundraising managers. The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024 for public relations managers is 7%. The median annual wage (May 2015) for public relations and fundraising managers is $107,320.