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Working for a Non Profit

Many people who enter the job market are faced with a number of choices in terms of type of job, industry and location. If you are looking for a new job, either because you have just graduated from college or because you have decided to change focus mid-career, a nonprofit career is a great way to combine your passion for social or human issues with your day-to-day life.

What is a nonprofit job?

A nonprofit job is a position of any type within and organization that is designated a not-for-profit.

This means that the organization was created for charitable or religious purposes like the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army or National Humane Society.

Not-for-profit organizations can either delivery programs, like the American Red Cross' disaster relief, make donations to other organizations, or create awareness about a particular topic or issue.

Because of the broad range of activities that nonprofit organizations carry out, the types of nonprofit job types that exist are equally varied. For that reason, there is not one reason to work for a nonprofit, but many reasons that are different and personal for each individual.

What are the benefits of a nonprofit job?

For most people in nonprofit careers, the biggest benefit of a nonprofit job is the ability to work with a cause for which you are extremely passionate. People find ways to apply their specialized skills - be it finance, technology, counseling or anything else - to nonprofit organizations in order to be a part of the work that they do. Work at not-for-profit organizations can be rewarding in ways that jobs in the corporate world may not be.

It is because of these benefits that many people switch into the nonprofit workforce mid-career, however it is becoming more common for idealistic young recent college grads to begin working for small nonprofit organizations so that they can do good work, and learn more about how an organization works in a very hands-on way.

With all of these rewards, why doesn't everyone work for a nonprofit organization? Quite simply, salaries and other compensation are on average much lower in not-for-profit organizations than they are for corporations and other for-profit companies. This does not mean that all non-profit organizations are struggling financially, and that all salaries are low (which is a common misconception) but that compensation is drastically lower in the nonprofit sector, and that most people are not "in it for the money." There are many large nonprofits that are able to pay higher salaries and provide the same robust benefits (comprehensive health care, tuition assistance, paid vacation) as for-profit companies.

So why work for a nonprofit? The truth is, it is a very personal choice. When you are considering taking a job with a nonprofit organization, you should ask the same questions that you would for any other job: Is this a good fit for my skills? Do I care about the work? Is this an acceptable salary? Is there upward mobility?

But most of all, ask yourself if the job will make you happy. If the answer is yes, then you can feel confident about accepting your nonprofit job.

 

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