Skip to content

Call us at 855-704-0315 or

Apply Now

Online Degree Programs

What Is the Role of Nonprofits in Contemporary Society?

If you are committed to causes such as the arts, health and wellness, poverty eradication and others, you can help strengthen the role of nonprofits in society. With a Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration, you can learn how to manage charitable organizations and help them run efficiently to benefit the greater good.

The Role of Nonprofits in Society: the Economy

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), more than 1.5 million nonprofits are registered in the U.S. Although these organizations do not turn a profit, they do have a significant place in the national economy.

Nonprofits Provide Millions of Jobs

Nonprofits operate similarly to for-profit businesses. They employ directors, volunteer managers, accountants and other vital personnel to run their organizations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11.4 million people worked in the nonprofit sector from 2007-2012, with hospitals and universities numbering among the largest nonprofit employers.

Nonprofits Indirectly Stimulate the U.S. Economy

When people have a source of income, they indirectly boost the economy when they spend it, says Matt Berg with the The Borgen Project. They pay mortgages, utility companies and make car payments, and their discretionary income goes to restaurants, theaters and other forms of entertainment. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, nonprofits contributed $878 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012.

Nonprofits Generate Revenue for Other Companies

Nonprofit organizations need goods and services in order to run. When they purchase items such as computers, office equipment, utilities and building supplies, it creates income for those manufacturers and distributors.

The Role of Nonprofits in Society: the Community

Nonprofits have been serving the community-at-large for several decades — and some for more than a century. Organizations such as Greenpeace, established in 1971, fight peacefully to protect the planet from environmental harm. The United Way, founded in 1887, collects funds for local charities,¬†assists health and human services agencies nationwide, and coordinates relief services around the globe. Many more nonprofits serve their communities by way of religious congregations, animal shelters, food banks, art museums, zoos, youth recreation associations, civil rights groups, labor unions, political parties and more.

Nonprofits use everyday advocacy to advance missions, improve lives and strengthen communities, says the National Council of Nonprofits. For example, Anna McCartney, a Seattle-area mom, successfully lobbied for changes to the Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. The bill, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2006, required food ingredient labels to list the top eight food allergens in layman’s terms, rather than just their chemical names. She also partnered with the Lung Association and helped pass a state law allowing children with allergies to carry their inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors with them at school. Lois Gibbs organized her neighbors to form the Love Canal homeowner’s association in 1978. They successfully fought for two years to get their entire Niagara Falls, New York community relocated to a safer town — away from a 20,000-ton toxic chemical dump. The Love Canal victory led to an increase in public attention to similar issues elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad. Gibbs eventually established the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, which helps other communities impacted by hazardous waste sites, chemical plants and other polluting industries.

Your Online Degree

Earning a master’s in nonprofit administration online can be an asset for those who want to manage a nonprofit. The LSUS program includes lessons in nonprofit development and management, research methods, nonprofit governance, financial management and human resource management. The degree program takes about 12 months to complete and is open to students with any bachelor’s degree. Classes are 100 percent online, and they offer flexible scheduling and the opportunity to study anytime and from anywhere. If you are looking to make your mark on the nonprofit sector, start by looking for the right degree program to bring you the experience and expertise you need to improve the world.

Learn more about the LSUS online MS in Nonprofit Administration program.


Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.

Request Information

*All fields required.
Or call us toll free at: 855-704-0315
By submitting this form, I am providing my digital signature agreeing that Louisiana State University Shreveport (LSUS) may email me or contact me regarding educational services by telephone and/or text message utilizing automated technology at the telephone number(s) provided above. I understand this consent is not a condition to attend LSUS or to purchase any other goods or services.