The Job Description of a Program Associate


Program associates fill a variety of different roles, including that of an office administrator, strategic planner and project manager. This role is often found in non-profits and professional associations, where fundraising and donor programs are key to ensuring the sustainability of the organization. Though program associates often report to a program director for guidance, they usually have a sufficient amount of responsibility and two to five years of previous work experience.


  • Program associates help plan, implement and manage different programs that are used to boost fundraising, increase partner membership and enlist support from government agencies and corporations. These professionals put together work plans and budgets, as well as develop quarterly and annual reports for tracking membership and partnership activities, program expenditures and donations. Other duties that program associates handle include developing program literature and publications, updating website content, drafting proposals and creating signage for conferences and events


  • Most program associate positions require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field that is close to the organization’s industry such as international studies, marketing, foreign language, social science or health care management. As a result, typical majors for this position vary greatly. However, as all program managers require the ability to plan and execute events, previous experience in event or convention planning is helpful.


  • Employers look for candidates with a proficiency in computer technologies such as word processing and spreadsheet software, as well as Internet research best practices. Program associates must be able to juggle different tasks simultaneously and prioritize their projects efficiently. Since these positions can be fast-paced and deadline-oriented, the ability to be flexible, well-organized and self-sufficient is important. Strong writing, interpersonal and oral communication skills are important, since program associates must interact with personnel at all levels within the organization.


  • Program associates working in the United States earned an average salary of $52,000 according to a July 2010 SimplyHired report. However, job earnings fluctuate based on factors such as industry, experience level and location. For example, program associates made $65,000 in New York City, $57,000 in Chicago and $50,000 in Miami during the same period.


  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs in the advocacy, grantmaking and civic organization sectors will increase by 14 percent during the 2008 to 2018 decade. In addition to an expanding economy, the BLS attributes job growth and demand to businesses and individuals who seek out these organizations to develop their careers, search for new customers, forge relationships within the community, improve their public image and help differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive environment.

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