Majoring in Nonprofit Leadership
Junior Kelly Moates of Braselton thought he would major in biology and later work
for a nonprofit animal welfare organization. When he learned LaGrange College
had a new Nonprofit Leadership degree, though, he knew it would fit his calling
to serve even better.
“I came to LaGrange College to play football, but in my first year I realized
I wanted to change my focus,” he says. “I started making major changes trying to
figure out who I wanted to be and where I wanted the rest of my life to go. I realized
that I really wanted to serve others.”
He immersed himself with spiritual life and service activities on campus. He went
to New York to serve as a summer camp counselor for a month with Young Life, and
last year he became a summer missions intern at Summer Hill United Methodist Church
in Buford. Kelly also spent this past January serving children in an orphanage
as well as the homeless in the Philippines through a LaGrange College study-away
So when Kelly learned about the new Nonprofit Leadership program through a cultural
enrichment event at the college, he realized it fit him perfectly.
“I want to be involved in business, but I want it to be service-oriented,” he
says. “My roommates kind of good-naturedly make fun of me and say, ‘Oh, so your
major is Professional Volunteer?’ And when I tell people I’m interested in nonprofits,
they say, ‘Oh, so you don’t want to make any money?’
“Nonprofits make money; they just don’t do it the same way others do it. They
do it for a purpose.”
LaGrange College’s Bachelor of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership is an interdisciplinary
program housed in the Business Department. The degree prepares students for successful careers in leadership roles with nonprofit organizations.
Students achieve foundational and professional competencies through coursework, hands-on
learning through research and service work in the community, and an internship
with a nonprofit organization.
Kelly will be in Flint, Mich., this summer after being chosen by Diplomat, a pharmaceutical
sales company, for a community-development internship.
“The application process required sending in a project proposal, and my idea was
to bring an urban garden to Flint,” he says. “A lot of times organic farms are
out in the middle of nowhere and aren’t easily accessible. This proposal makes
it accessible for everyone, and for low-income families it creates opportunities
Kelly likes the mix of business classes in the major along with other courses
that interest him, such as religion and sociology.
“It teaches you how to manage the money aspect of a nonprofit,” he says. “You
can get into it and serve, serve, serve, but if you don’t have any financial backing,
you’re not going to be able to serve for very long. So it’s helping me understand
the financial aspects of how to sustain a nonprofit, not just how to start with
a good idea.”
With nearly 1.6 million federally registered nonprofits in the United States and
more than 38,000 in Georgia alone, employment and leadership opportunities abound.
In a recent Forbes.com article, 3,000 nonprofit organizations said they were planning
to hire more people, primarily in administrative personnel, communications, accounting
and finance and technology. Nonprofit positions include chief program officers,
directors of marketing and business development, CEOs, donor database managers,
senior staff accountants, grant proposal writers, directors of development and
managers of community programs and volunteer services.
At the graduate level, LaGrange College also offers a new Master of Arts in Philanthropy
and Development. The only degree of its kind in the Southeast, the program provides
practical knowledge and real-world skills in the fields of major gifts, campaigns,
planned giving, annual fund and utilization of new and social media in fundraising.
Additional coursework in contemporary and historical philanthropic issues, ethics,
research and leadership equips graduate students for advancement within the world
of nonprofit fundraising.
For more information about the Nonprofit Leadership bachelor’s program, contact
Dr. Lydia Rosencrants, chairman of the Business Department, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (706) 880-8302. For the master’s program in Philanthropy and Development, contact
William Jones, Vice President for External Relations, at email@example.com or