Nonprofit management education or some form of advanced education is becoming a necessary tool for success in the future of charitable and for profit organizations, some experts even say that advanced education is key for nonprofit managers to be truly efficient. Ray Fisman, Columbia Business School Professor at Columbia University and director of their Social Enterprise Program in New York City says, “Good management is good management. One of the major changes over the past 10 years or so has been an increase in attention to effective management in all organizations, not just nonprofits.”
The Social Enterprise Program is an integrated program offering four core focus areas in business, including nonprofit management. Nonprofit management education is still in its youth, but growing at a steady pace. In 1996, there were 75 programs in the nonprofit management field, today there are close to 180. Now, more nonprofit management programs are being offered in integrated formats. Studying nonprofit management in an integrated program gives nonprofit leaders invaluable experience that is necessary for successful collaborations.
The integrated programs do have downfalls because not all students share the same focus. However, the benefits outweigh the downfalls. David Thornburgh, executive director of the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia comments on the value of integrated programs, “I really believe in the value of the integrated approach. When you work in the nonprofit setting, you shouldn’t feel like you are set apart from the larger political environment or business community. They all exist as a network.” Organizations vary greatly in the nonprofit sector so studying in an integrated format gives students an advantage. Because students in these programs work or will work both in the government and the private sectors, students develop a solid understating of the relationship between the government and non profit organizations.
Julia Sass Rubin, an assistant professor specializing in nonprofit management education at Rutgers University says that if students are set in working in nonprofit management they would be best served in a stand alone program as opposed to an integrated program. However, she states that most business schools don’t take nonprofit management programs very seriously and see them as more of a fad. However, interest in the field is growing and more programs are being established. Experts in the nonprofit education field say that now-during the economic recession, is the time for nonprofits to invest in training and education to secure a more successful future for their organization.