Nonprofit jobs usually pay less than for-profit positions. So why would anyone in their right mind want to work in the nonprofit sector?
Long hours. Low pay. Limited operating budgets. Sounds like a hellish way to make a living, right? But for most nonprofits, these types of working conditions are considered normal – and each year, thou
sands of highly talented job applicants race to fill available nonprofit positions.
So what makes nonprofit sector employment so appealing? Accord to Richard McPherson, adjunct instructor, NYU-SCPS Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising, there are at least five reasons why today’s job seekers might want to look for work in nonprofit organizations.
To help change things for the better
Not many jobs let you say you’re in the business of making the world a better place to live in. Working in the nonprofit sector is entirely about improving peoples’ lives, protecting the planet, supporting the arts, caring for seniors or educating young people. You know you’ve picked the right career when people you don’t even know thank you for your effort.
To pursue your personal passions
Why limit your deepest personal interests to your “spare time?” Why not make your personal passions the center of your career? If you love the arts, work for a museum or symphony. If you feel a strong connection to wildlife or the oceans, work in conservation. If you love helping people, pick healthcare, education or international relief. Whatever moves you the most, you can be sure there are nonprofits devoted to the same passion; the choices are truly unlimited.
To build a wide variety of personal and business skills
Don’t risk being pigeon-holed in a narrow job, far from “management.” Working for a nonprofit organization often gives you diverse responsibilities and more direct access to decision-makers. Work in the nonprofit sector provides a great deal of real world experience – presenting plans to a board, working with the media, evaluating important projects and supervising other bright, motivated people.
To meet dedicated people who share your interests
Working in the nonprofit sector brings you in daily contact with people who are there for the same reasons you are – to make a difference. Management isn’t focused on stock prices or corporate takeovers; they are focused on achieving a mission that is measured by people educated, lives saved, art created, habitats protected or diseases cured. From the “corner office” to staff in the field, nonprofit organizations are teams in the best sense of the word – people dedicated to a mission.
To experience other cultures and countries
International NGOs (non-governmental organizations) offer the chance to work outside the US and learn from colleagues around the world. Helping other countries develop programs for health, education, the arts and the environment is not only deeply rewarding; it is also a way to experience another culture free from the commercial pressures of business competition. International nonprofit work provides a rare opportunity to appreciate the richness of other cultures while being welcomed as a part of the community.