Charitable work centers around helping people and building community. There are a variety of fields that you can work in:
- Social services
- International Aid
Just like with for-profit companies, there are hundreds of different positions you can work in within nonprofits:
Management: Chief Operating Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Resource Development Manager.
Administrative: Human Resources, Information Technology (IT), Administrative Assistant
Programming: Program Director, Volunteer Manager, Project Coordinator, Education Coordinator
Marketing and Communications: Social Media Manager, Content Writer, Public Relations
Development: Resource Development Manager, Fundraiser, Grant Writer, Annual Giving Manager
Keep in mind that each of these jobs might include multiple roles which allows you to contribute in a variety of tasks. This will then position you to move around in the organization.
Is nonprofit work right for me?
It takes more than good will to be a good nonprofit employee. Just like any career, there are pros and cons you should consider before jumping in.
- Bureaucracy: Nonprofits are notoriously slow to change. Decisions are made through board approvals or partner buy-in, which slows things down.
- Lower pay: Pay is typically lower than for-profit companies
- Limited resources: They operate on dollars from fundraising so resources are tight.
- Wearing many hats: Nonprofit employees are often responsible for a broader spectrum of tasks that for-profit employees. This can lead to burnout.
- An overwhelming sense of responsibility: When you are working for a cause you care about, it is easy to feel the weight of your role on your shoulders.
- Intrinsic benefits: It feels good to do good. Working at a nonprofit gives you a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
- Wearing many hats: Having many roles and responsibilities can expand an employees skill set and improve your chances of moving up the ladder.
- Non-financial incentives: Since pay is low, non-financial incentives are offered to draw in employees such as flexible work schedules and family-friendly practices.
Skills for nonprofit
The number one skill that is most important for nonprofit professionals is: the ability to find balance.
- Burnout is a serious concern for those early in their career. Due to long hours and high expectations.
Other important skills:
- Data analysis
- Event planning
- Desire to help people
- Amendable, getting along with different types of people
- Good written and verbal communication skills
- Able to multitask
Keep in mind nonprofits put greater weight on soft skills with an understanding that hard skills can be learned over time.
Paths to or tips to enter
- Most nonprofits require a minimum of a bachelor's degree, but a masters will help you stand out. If a masters is not financially feasible, you can consider some online classes and graduate certificates. The most important thing is that you show your commitment to social good. Some nonprofit-specific degrees include:
- Masters in Public Administration
- Masters in Social Work
- Masters in Public Policy
- Masters in Business Administration
- Before your are ready to apply, do your research on the organizations:
- What is their methodology?
- Where do they get funding?
- What resources do they provide staff?
- Do they have strong community support from volunteers, advocates and board members?
- What do other employees say about their experience?
- What does the specific role entail?
- Volunteer- Will help you decide if you enjoy the organization and get your name out there