Put Your Passion to Work in a Non-Profit
You found your dream job. It had the salary, prestige and benefits you wanted. So, why are you unhappy? Feeling unfulfilled? Why is there a nagging feeling in your gut at the end of the day? You’re making money for the company, but your values and theirs are out of sync. Don’t despair. You can find a great job, fulfill your career goals and stay true to your values by pursuing a job with a non-profit or charitable organization. If you are more excited about changing the world than the company’s bottom line, a job with a non-profit or charitable organization may be for you.
Non-profits are just that. Their focus is serving others and building a better community or world. There are large organizations, like Habitat for Humanity or the Children’s Miracle Network. Some are small, working out of borrowed space with a laptop with a handful of volunteers. Regardless of size, they raise money by a variety of methods to fund their charitable programs and serve a particular segment of humanity, improve conditions or save the world.
Cheating the Recession
There is good news for job seekers targeting non-profits. CNN Money reported that 67 percent of non-profit executives will be leaving their jobs by 2016, mainly due to attrition of aging Baby Boomers. What’s more, it’s possible for a manager to take a step up in position and title by moving from the corporate world to non-profit. Lots of opportunity, but don’t expect a fat paycheck to go along with it. The recession has hurt fundraising, which affects salaries. In order to boost their budgets, non-profits may be willing to pay more for someone with a proven track record to bring in the bucks.
Put your Passion to Work
Where are these jobs, and how do you get noticed?
- Go to the organization’s website or online jobsites for open positions, and follow the non-profits on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Add comments to Facebook posts and join the non-profit’s groups on LinkedIn and contribute to discussions.
- Search the Internet for press releases, campaigns or news stories about the organization to stay up on their latest activities.
- If you worked for one of your target non-profit’s corporate contributors, add that information to your resume and mention it in your cover letter.
- Clearly state how your values are in line with the mission of the organization in your resume summary statement and cover letter.
- Include a section on volunteer/charitable work, stressing any leadership or management responsibilities.
- Highlight any experience or demonstrated skill in fundraising, financial management, managing large numbers of employees and/or volunteers or working with the media.
- Express your passion for the non-profit’s cause and mission, including working long hours, flexibility and desire to make a difference.
Non-profits need people with a variety of skills. They are, after all, corporations that have need for accounting, human resources, maintenance, administrative, and technical expertise. Since their existence depends on fundraising and building awareness, they look for creative people who have expertise in public relations, media, networking, event planning and fundraising. If you have what they are looking for, a job with a non-profit can provide a living and give meaning to your life.
Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, spent over seven years as a human resources director and is a career coach, consultant and freelance writer focusing on how to land your dream job in a tough employment market.