Want to Work for a Non-Profit? How to Plan for a Career in Charity

Many of us would like to devote our lives to helping others, but even those with a passion for charity may find it difficult to making a living out of philanthropy. There are countless non-profits throughout the world that actually have paid positions, but the competition for these jobs is fierce. If you are dedicated and determine to work for a non-profit, there are a few things you will need to consider as you make your way on this career path. The following tips will help you prepare and plan for a career in philanthropy:

Flickr Creative Commons via Eric

Flickr Creative Commons via Eric

Assess Yourself Honestly

For most upcoming employees, it will be one thing to have dreams about making a career in the non-profit sectors, but the reality is often much different. Those planning for this career path need to take a hard look inside themselves to see if they will be up for this lifelong challenge. From longer hours and lower pay to untrained coworkers and ungrateful patrons, these jobs are not a walk in the park and definitely not for everyone. Once you’ve assessed your skills and motivation, remember that these careers are extremely rewarding, and that you’ll have the chance to truly make a difference in people’s lives.

Treat it like a For-Profit Job

While the statistics do change every year, studies from Johns Hopkins University show that around 5 to 10 percent of all jobs are in the non-profit sector. This is actually a sizable portion of all jobs, and it means that competition is going to be high. Potential employees need to begin changing their mindset and treat this like a for-profit job at a high-level company. There will be absolutely no wiggle room when it comes to job requirements and qualifications for most non-profit organizations, even if the pay is lower.

Research Major Players and Companies in the Field

One of the most effective ways to create a great resume and become a world-class interviewee is to become acquainted with the non-profit field as well as the specifics of the company you are applying to. Just as with a public sector job, potential employees should be constantly refreshing themselves about the state of non-profits in general, and for that specific organization. You should have a very clear idea about the goals of the non-profit they are about to work for, its creators, other organizations in that field, and the ideologies that they are pushing for.

Prepare To Be Challenged

Those on the hunt for a non-profit job should fully expect to have their motivations and their past dissected and challenged multiple times. Employees of public sector companies may be viewed suspiciously and the manager or hiring staff of non-profits may want to get to the bottom of it. Remember to not be offended by this type of attitude and instead consider a positive aspect as the company is focused purely on results and passion, not profits.

Few careers paths will ever be as rewarding as working for an effective non-profit organization. Those wanting to enter this field need to prepare early on and stay motivated along a sometimes challenging path. If you are truly passionate about non-profit work, your determination will push you through, and you’ll have the opportunity to truly benefit the lives of hundreds of people.

Head Shot B&WAbout the Author: This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, careers, education, and environmental issues. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Dixie got advice for this article from the professionals at Norwich University, who offer a master of public administration degree.

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