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Want a Nonprofit Career?

Updated on May 12, 2013
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Are you interested in a new career path? Finding a job that is rewarding? Doing something you love? Consider a career in the nonprofit world. You won’t get rich working for a nonprofit. However, you might be able to discover your passion, support a cause you really believe in and find a place and a job that makes you love to go to work to everyday.

Types of Careers

There are many types of nonprofits and many types of jobs within nonprofits. There are community organizations, labor unions, associations, churches, animal shelters, and foundations and charities. There are causes of all kinds from health issues to animals to poverty and political issues. There are also many roles within these organizations from administration, fieldwork, management, fundraising, recruitment, social media and IT support work.

The Key ~ Finding Something You Believe In

The key to establishing a nonprofit career is to find an issue, organization or cause that you are passionate about and truly believe in and want to support and expand. Nonprofit work is hard work. Many hours go into establishing a nonprofit, raising money in lean economic times and building a name and brand for an organization and cause. You wouldn’t want to or like to spend long hours for a cause or organization that you did not support 100%. Working long hours with little pay for a cause you really believe is the only reason to work at a nonprofit. As a result, you need to spend time and do research to find the right path for you.


Go online to research different nonprofits in your area to see what positions are available. Sign up for list servers and follow organizations on Facebook and Twitter to get an idea of what organizations are involved in what issues and which are active, connect to available job opportunities and discover available volunteer opportunities. All nonprofits are not equal. Some are scams or fail to live up to their missions. So, you want to do research to find out the ones that are active and really live up to what they say they stand for and believe.

The best research is first hand research. Volunteering is a great way to get to know an organization to see if the environment and people are a fit for your life. This experience is definitely a must for those who haven’t had much interaction with nonprofits. Volunteering can expose you to many different types of experiences and organizations, so that you can get an idea of if you would even like working in the nonprofit world and also help you find the right environment in which to explore your new career. You can try out a lot of different tasks to see which ones you like and don’t like. As a volunteer, you can ask questions about organizational history, funding and the stability of the organization to gain more knowledge.

Breaking Barriers

As with any field, networking is an important component of establishing a nonprofit career. It is a good idea to join a nonprofit organization, participate in various events and become active in the community. The nonprofit world is a small world. Everyone usually knows of or has heard of one another, so you will have multiple opportunities to meet a lot of players in the nonprofit world in your community and to develop relationships. Most jobs are gained through networking so it is important to find and participate in networking opportunities so that you can get your name out there as someone who is interested in available jobs and volunteer opportunities.

Building Your New Resume

Experience is a plus to your resume. Volunteer experience, nonprofit membership, and even serving as a board member of a nonprofit or as the church secretary are all great things to add to your resume. List all your affiliations on your resume from alumni associations, fraternities and sororities and church associations. All of that experience counts. List the times you helped out at your church fundraiser or participated in the PTA. You might have a lot more experience in the nonprofit world than you think if you just take a moment to write down everything you have been involved in throughout your life. Add a few more volunteer experiences and pretty soon you will have a great resume for your new career.


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    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      It is hard work, but worth it.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      4 years ago from Iowa

      My family has a non-profit organization that puts on an annual music and arts festival. All proceeds then go to support music and arts education programs for local kids. Although I don't get paid for the work I do, I find it very gratifying. Also, I agree with your point about volunteer experience being a great addition to your resume, even when seeking employment with a for-profit company. If you want to pursue a certain line of work but don't necessarily have the experience, volunteer to do that kind of work for a non-profit organization to gain the experience. It's a win-win.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting read. I believe to maintain our sanity working for such a cause is a must.

    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      That is really cool and interesting aviannovice. Up close and personal with birds sounds like a great volunteer job.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I did volunteer work for a number of organizations, and I loved working with birds the most.

    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Maybe NGO type work? You can get paid for it. Thanks for stopping by Sue Bailey.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 

      5 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      It took me a few moments to work out what was meant by a non-profit career but I got there in the end. Language barrier I guess, even though we speak the same one; here I think we'd call it voluntary work. Great hub, voted up and interesting.

    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks for the comment sarifearnbd.

    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks for sharing about your work Mhatter99.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I worked for the Freemasons. The money people gave me to do funerals, I gave to the Masonic Homes.I did well for SF's public schools and Toys for Tots.


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