Preparing Nonprofit Professionals: An Educational Needs Assessment from a Worker Perspective


  • Jo'Ann L. Melville-Holder North Carolina State University
  • Kara Lawrence North Carolina State University
  • Matthew D. Leight North Carolina State University
  • Brad A. Johnson North Carolina State University
  • Amanda J. Stewart North Carolina State University



nonprofit professionals, nonprofit education, competencies, skills, curricular standards


Nonprofit management education is informed by curricular standards and feedback from students and alumni on the utility of its curriculum components. In a professionalizing and diverse nonprofit sector, we were curious to ask nonprofit workers about the skills and competencies they need for their work. Applying a survey design, we asked nonprofit workers about the skills and abilities they used in their work relative to general professional and nonprofit curricular standards. In our findings, we explore differences according to the professional profiles to make sense of the sector’s diverse workforce. Our assessment supplies fresh insight into the competencies nonprofit education promotes, describing how nonprofit professionals view the skills needed for their work, and how they think about professional development. The findings inform those who teach or administer nonprofit degree programs, as well as those who work or want to work in the nonprofit sector.


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