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Make Sure Your Certificate Stacks Up

July 30, 2019 by Karen Grossman |

light bulb picked from assembly lineIf developing new skills or a new career in the nonprofit sector interests you, consider an academic certificate in nonprofit management. A graduate certificate gives you specialized learning, such as grant writing, marketing, strategic planning, and fundraising—and experience that leads to positions in management, human service agencies, professional associations, or foundations.

How to choose the right certificate

If you’re shopping around for a certificate in nonprofit management, make sure you know what to look for. There’s a difference between an academic certificate, such as UNC Greensboro’s Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nonprofit Management (NPM), and others. Some certificates may be structured as continuing education courses, presentations through workshops, or seminars led by practitioners instead of university faculty. 

Look for some key features

  • Make sure it’s an academic certificate or credential. You’ll want the credit if you decide later to pursue a degree. Students who successfully complete UNC Greensboro’s program may apply to and roll 12 credits into the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program.

  • UNC Greensboro’s NPM courses are challenging graduate courses and can be completed in one or two years with course assignments and projects. The program requires a bachelor’s degree for admission. 

  • Courses are taught online and on campus by teaching faculty, with core classes taught by doctorate-level faculty.

  • Enroll in a program from an accredited institution. It ensures quality standards, allows transfer of college credit, and is required for financial aid. 

Gain skills through hands-on experience

In UNC Greensboro’s NPM program, students get hands-on experience, produce a professional portfolio, and gain exposure to local agencies. 

“Since students in these classes often already work in nonprofits, they can work on projects for their own agencies,” said Dr. Hunter Bacot, professor and director of UNC Greensboro’s MPA program.

Students complete course assignments and team projects such as fundraising materials, documents for smaller nonprofits without a full-time staff, grant applications, and event planning materials. Through these, students become familiar with local agencies, such as Backpack Beginnings, Peacehaven Farm, Guilford Child Development, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Eastern Music Festival.

“Our students gain the skills rather than just theory and concepts,” Bacot said. 

Why a certificate is the right career move

Students who enroll in UNC Greensboro’s program are often already involved in nonprofits, according to Bacot. They may realize they don’t have the skills for a promotion at their agency or maybe they volunteer and want to do more. A graduate certificate helps them not only learn the skills, but also allows them to demonstrate they can do the work. Students learn leadership, management, and development—tools to understand a nonprofit’s needs, such as raising money, planning programs, and managing volunteers. 

Students also benefit from a variety of networking opportunities, including UNC Greensboro faculty, guest speakers, who typically are CEOs of area nonprofits, as well as their classmates.

Complete your certificate with UNC Greensboro

UNC Greensboro is a fully accredited state university founded in 1891. The university has been nationally recognized for offering high-quality online programs at an affordable price. For more information about the online Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nonprofit Management, download the brochure.


NPM PBC eBrochure Thumb

Download the Brochure