The six alumni featured here show that there are many paths to entering a career in nonprofits. One that’s growing in popularity is nonprofit management education. It’s an area where the University of Georgia is at the forefront.
The School of Social Work offers a master’s degree in nonprofit management and leadership, administered by the school’s Institute for Nonprofit Organizations, and a certificate program that is open to all UGA graduate students. In 2018, the availability of an online Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership opened up this learning opportunity to degree and non-degree seeking individuals.
Nearly 250 alumni have earned their masters’ in nonprofit management since the program began and the certificate program has been expanding quickly. When Tony Mallon started, there were about 25 certificate students a year. Currently, there are more than 100. Coursework covers various forms of organizational, financial, and volunteer management, social entrepreneurship, grant writing, and other details of the nonprofit experience.
“We don’t want to lose the grassroots person with their passion and innovation, but over the last 20 years, the nonprofit world has been professionalizing and there is a skill set that’s starting to become clearly defined,” says Mallon, director of the institute since 2016 and faculty member in the nonprofit management and leadership programs.
The professionalization of the nonprofit world over the last two decades—along with the curriculum changes responding to it—is something Kristina Jaskyte has experienced up close. The associate professor joined the Social Work faculty in 2002 and has taught nonprofit management and researched the subject ever since.
“We now have standards and different criteria that we expect nonprofit managers to have,” says Jaskyte. “Now that more and more people have gone through the program, word is spreading about how this kind of education is good to have.”