Finding Career Success With a Nonprofit

Nonprofit Job Do’s and Don’ts

Having a nonprofit job can be just like having any other kind of job – each office has its own rule and atmosphere, hours and other characteristics. However, there are some tips that every nonprofit employee can benefit from knowing.

The following is a list of DOs and DONT’s for working in the non profit world.

– DO ask questions

When you’re in a job that deals with an issue or focus, like children’s rights, animal cruelty or global warming, there is constantly new information being released and studied that can affect the way that you and your nonprofit organization does the job. Staying on top of this information, and asking questions about the issue to your higher-ups will show not only your commitment to the issue, but a desire to stay up-to-date. You should subscribe to any publications (or see if you office already get them) and do research in your down time. You might find out something that will be valuable to some of your nonprofit programs, or will help you to gain additional funding.

– DON’T “burn out”

Many people who work in nonprofits (or education) may talk about “burn out”, where young people jump head first into their jobs with passion and determination, but the become frustrated with the challenges they face when they are trying to make change. An environmental non profit group, for example, may face political challenges that can prevent laws from getting passed that protect natural habitats. Those holding social work jobs might find it difficult to hear stories of tragedy from their clients. But there are ways to deal with the potential “burn out” without leaving your job, or the nonprofit world altogether. Managing expectations from the beginning, seeking advice from superiors and making sure that you have a lot to do outside of the workplace is essential to working in the nonprofit sector in the long term.

– DO be a team player

Nonprofit organizations, more than for profit organization for the most part, value input from staff members at all levels. They hold team meetings and organization-wide meetings, and often make decisions by consensus. Of course, this is not true for all decisions (like what kind of phone system to install), but in the non profit world, the word “team” holds a lot of weight.
If you are working at a non profit agency, it is important that this environment will work for you, and that you will seek out and accept advice and criticism from others as you perform your duties.

– DO stay flexible

Nonprofit work days can be wildly varied. Since there is often a “team” mentality to the office environment, there are often times when working at a nonprofit organization when every staff member (no matter what the position) will be asked to chip in on a project, stay for late nights, and work outside of the scope of your job description. The main difference between this and for profit world is that there is no overtime in nonprofit organizations. Upper management relies heavily on the commitment of staff members to get things done, not their desire to get paid!

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