Nonprofit-Specific Management Skills

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

To be effective in nonprofit management, a person requires the key areas of knowledge and skills listed in Skills and Practices in Organizational Management. In addition, the following categories of skills are required.

Nonprofit-Specific Skills Include

Burnout (Avoiding Burnout)
Fundraising and Grantwriting
Governance (Boards of Directors)
Nonprofit Budgeting and Accounting
Program Development and Evaluation
Public Policy
Volunteer Programs

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Fundraising and Grantwriting

Nonprofit management must engage in fundraising in order to meet the fiscal needs of their organization. Generally, fundraising is not one of an executive director's favorite tasks. It can be an all-consuming activity, tapping an executive director's creative and social energy. Executive directors are constantly challenged to strike a balance between the time they devote to fundraising and program management. Too little attention to one area can leave an organization bereft of cash or quality services. See
Fundraising and Grantwriting

Governance (Boards of Directors)

Generally, this term refers to the nature and operations of the board of directors. Some people use the term to also refer to the role of chief executive as well. Nonprofit management -- particularly chief executives -- must have strong skills in working with an often highly diverse collection of board members, each of whom is typically a volunteer to the nonprofit. These skills in working with a board are often not taught in management schools and, instead, must be developed over time "on the job". See
Boards of Directors

Nonprofit Budgeting and Accounting

Nonprofits are unique entities created to provide a public service, rather than generate profit. Therefore, nonprofits can enjoy special tax-exempt status with the IRS. Nonprofits also receive grants and other forms of donations to support their operation. These special features unique to nonprofits require highly customized forms of budgeting and accounting, not taught in general management schools. See
Finances and Accounting

Program Development and Evaluation

Nonprofits typically deliver ongoing services in the form of organizational programs. Therefore, it's important that nonprofit management understand the basic principles of program development and evaluation. See
Basic Overview of Nonprofit Program Development and Evaluation

Public Policy

Particularly with nonprofits engaged in human services, nonprofit management must have strong knowledge of the vast amount of rules and regulations governing public services. Nonprofits often are at the forefront of guiding public policy, including championing new legislation to serve the public. Although charitable nonprofits typically cannot lobby or advocate for legislation, they are usually directly effected by changes in federal programs for social welfare. Nonprofit board members and executives often must have strong working knowledge of the various agencies that influence legislation, and rules and regulations effecting federal funding.

Volunteer Programs

Many nonprofit organizations rely to a great extent on the use of volunteers. Volunteers should be managed much like any other human resource. There should be staffing planning, recruitment, job descriptions, suitable policies and risk management measures, some form of performance management, etc. Performance management includes setting suitable goals, evaluating performance, providing appropriate rewards or actions to terminate services. See
Volunteer Programs


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Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books - Management



General (For-Profit and Nonprofit)

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a convenient search window is included below the rows of boxes.



Nonprofit-Specific

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a convenient search window is included below the rows of boxes.



Also see, for Managing

For Managing Yourself
Personal Development -- Recommended Books

For Managing Other Individuals
Supervision -- Recommended Books

For Managing Teams
Facilitation and Teams -- Recommended Books

For Leading Leadership -- Recommended Books


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