College Students Guide to Volunteering and Nonprofit Careers
The nonprofit industry offers the same level of careers as the for-profit one does. Therefore, if you are not too sure about working in the industry, the information herein should definitely change your mind. There are all types of careers and job opportunities in the nonprofit industry; accounting, office administration, research, information technology, programming, you name it. Some of the well-known nonprofits are The Red Cross, Salvation Army, Mayo Foundation and United Way.
Nonprofit Careers and Jobs Statistics
Nonprofit jobs as a percentage of all private sector employment
Nonprofits account for 10.3 percent of all private sector employment
Number of Nonprofit Jobs
There were 11.4 million nonprofit Jobs in the nation in 2012
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to prepare for a career in nonprofits
- Create a Resume that meets the expectations of a nonprofit organization
You need to tailor your resume / CV to show that you have what it takes to make a difference in a nonprofit organization. You could state previous work experience, probably from businesses or for-profits, and explain clearly how you would use that to the advantage of the nonprofit you applying for.
- Get Training that is befitting
There are many institutions that offer training on philanthropy and social work among other programs that are associated with nonprofits. Enroll for training or even a degree that’ll prepare you for nonprofit careers and jobs.
- Visit websites dedicated to the nonprofit industry
You could make use of several websites / portals such as idealist.org and Encore.org, to prepare for the transition from for-profit to nonprofit. They are also useful to freshly graduated individuals who have no working experience. You can read about different organizations and find out job openings or volunteer opportunities which could result in employment.
- Show empathy and ability to lead
When working in a nonprofit company or organization, one will often have regular contact with volunteers and other employees with different backgrounds and points-of-view. If you are given a leadership position, you are required to show kindness as you delegate duties. You are also required to encourage and motivate your team to help the organization achieve its goals.
Why working for a nonprofit organization might be good for you
- A great way to use your passion
If you are the kind of person who likes to offer help and solve problems, then choosing a career in the nonprofit sector is not a bad choice at all. By putting effort and giving your time for the benefit of others, you actually find fulfillment every day you walk into that office.
- Good pay
Even though the pay by some nonprofits is not as much as that by for-profits, some really go the extra mile to pay as competitively as their for-profits counterparts. And just because the company or organization isn’t making profits doesn’t mean it’s the same case with its employees.
- Work in a different field, outside of what you are most familiar with
Let’s face it; most people who work in for-profit establishments only work in their specialty areas. It is a different case with nonprofits. Most times, you will be required to handle responsibilities outside of your area of expertise. You could be working in the IT department but also carry out administrative or management work.
- Impressive, respectable Titles
You could be a graduate, fresh from college and as young as 21, yet secure a powerful position such as project coordinator or director of marketing. Because most nonprofits don’t have that many employees, having a college education could see you take on leadership roles in the shortest time possible.
- Valuable experience
The experience you gain working in a nonprofit organization could take you far in your career. Most employers respect the dedication, commitment, training and learning process that one goes through as they work in nonprofits and for this reason, consider you a valuable asset to their company.
- Form new relationships
Working in a nonprofit establishment or organization gives you the opportunity to meet new people with whom you share interests. You develop close relations with these people and create a network of support.
What new College graduates should know about getting a nonprofit Job
- You have to Read about the Nonprofit
If you do your research on the nonprofit you are targeting, you will become more aware about its cause and how it really operates. Try to get in contact with some of its employees to find out what a typical day of their work is like, and ask yourself this: what more can I do for this agency that will contribute to their achievements? Also, learn a few other things such as the language used in nonprofits. When you have all the facts, you will without doubt impress your recruiter who may just decide to give you that job.
- Getting that job might not be easy, so volunteer
Most nonprofits will have a small number of employees to minimize their costs. They mostly depend on do-gooders to get most of their work done. You could choose to volunteer either in the evenings or on weekends. By joining their cause, you’ll get exposure in different fields in which you’ll be working. Volunteering sends the message that you can put others’ needs before yours. After a while, you can ask for a paid position which in most cases will be granted.
- It’s about your experiences and practical skills
Most recruiters for a nonprofit will want to know what you have achieved that made a difference in people’s lives or your achievements working for a particular cause. It’s not really about what you have accomplished in class but your experiences interning in demanding jobs, or being in charge of a good cause such as a fundraising.
- It is not always so easy
Working in the nonprofit sector requires someone who is dedicated and one that can look beyond the money aspect. The pay may be little compared to what others earn working in businesses and for-profit companies. You may also be required to work with whatever resources are available at the moment even when you feel that they are inadequate; it is up to you to make do with what you have.
- Be prepared to do it all
It will serve you better to know what an Operations and Technology manager does. At most nonprofits, people are required to work in different areas to help the organization achieve its target. You have to research the role you want to apply for to know how broad it is and exactly what is required of you.
Practical Actions to getting a Job in the Nonprofit
Tips to landing your first Job in a nonprofit or any other area
Best Job Interview Tips to help you land that Job
Cover Letter Tips. Things to do and things to avoid
Resume and CV writing Tips: What to include and mistakes to avoid
Do’s and Dont’s of Job Interview tips. A summary of things to do and what to avoid to improve your chances
Internship Resources for nonprofits
The Dream Careers Internship Program facilitates placement of nonprofit internships for college students. The student works with a coordinator who helps with their resume and scheduling of interviews. One has to be accepted into the program first, before they can commence with the placement procedure.
Looksharp is one of the most promising internship resources, listing all available paid and unpaid internship opportunities in every part of the country. It features lots of nonprofit and company internships which will give students exposure, academic credits and experience. The website will guide you to finding an internship that is satisfactory to you.
AmeriCorps is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the US and is a great place to seek internship. One of the programs that could benefit high school and college students is the Summer Opportunity AmeriCorps. Here, interns will learn teamwork and how to manage a project. In addition to their learning experience, they will get paid for their time.
Idealist is a very reliable internship resource. It features hundreds of available internships from different parts of the nation and abroad. These opportunities are available for everyone, from students to professionals, and range from development interns to English tutors to farm interns. They give you valuable experience and also an opportunity to earn extra money.
Global Service Corps is a non-profit volunteer organization that extends their services to other countries outside of the US. It offers students a wonderful opportunity to serve communities through development projects. They can choose to intern for a semester or during summer.
La Clínica de La Raza, Inc. is provides healthcare services in California and an excellent choice if you are looking for an internship opportunity in the health care sector. One of the programs available for students is the Community Health Education (Casa CHE). The students are engaged in community-based activities where they gain leadership skills.
Internship Programs is an internships resource that is worth exploiting. It posts internship opportunities in different cities across the nation. This makes it easier for you to find a placement within your locality or in a city that you’ve always wanted to live and work in.
Internjobs.com is one of the resources you can make use of to find an internship that you will enjoy. There are many postings of intern opportunities in almost every state. Most of these internships target college and university students and can be either paid or unpaid. In addition to the listings, you will also find tips that will help you be content with your internship even when you are not getting paid.
The San Francisco Aids Foundation gives graduate students the opportunity to intern with them. Through the Stonewall Project, students studying Social Work, Psychology and Counseling can find internship opportunities that require a year’s commitment. They are required to participate for at least 20 hours a week. These are paid internships.
The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) is one of the organizations you can look forward to working with. They have internship opportunities in editorial work, graphic design, models of practice and training, public policy and practice standards. These opportunities are available all year round.
Intern Hub is the most reliable internship resource designed specifically for students in the Greater Boston area. Through it, students can find internship opportunities in every part of the New England region. Most employers often offer students paid or unpaid internships.
Nonprofit Job Sites and Career Resources
The Bridgespan Group is a trusted nonprofit career and job site through which you can find and begin your dream job. It posts the most recent openings which range from part-time paid to full-time paid positions. These jobs range from executive directors to marketing officers, and grant writers. Others advertise positions for unpaid board members.
Idealist is a reliable resource for nonprofit careers and job opportunities. It features thousands of jobs in event planning, administrative work, human resources, education, marketing, counseling, social services, clerical work and finance. They have all types of employment from temporary, to part-time to full-time. The jobs are categorized under different professional levels; professional, managerial, entry-level and executive.
Relief Web is a well-recognized nonprofit job site where you can search for opportunities grow your career as you give back to the community. It posts the most recent development and humanitarian job openings in the global community. The following are the most featured categories: ICT, Media / Communication, Project / Program Management, Administration, Finance, Grants Management and Human Resources.
Encore.org is the go-to online resource for middle-aged people who wish to do more in developing their communities. These activities (encores) that they engage in can be done on part-time or full-time basis and can be paid or unpaid. For encore seekers or those just starting out, there are plenty of resources within the website that you can rely on to be efficient.
Common Good Careers is one of the best job boards that you can use to land your first nonprofit job or advance your career. It offers jobs as well as features job postings by other employers. The job functions that you will commonly come across include marketing and communications, development, fundraising, general management, program managements, financial services and strategy consulting.
The Nonprofit Times is one of the most read nonprofit online publications and therefore a great place to look for employment opportunities. As a job seeker, you can join in today to enjoy same benefits as other users. You get to apply for as many jobs as possible, post your resume and receive new job alerts straight into your inbox.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy has vast listings of jobs and career opportunities in the nonprofit industry. It publishes articles touching on the philanthropic enterprise and also gives advice on how to succeed at your job. It’s a resourceful website used by fundraisers, project managers, leaders, grant makers and everyone else involved with the industry.
NGO Job Board brings you all available jobs openings at NGOs. The jobs range from consulting, to full-time and part-time. The job titles are quite diverse and can be anything like partnership development managers, humanitarian policy directors, project development associates, program managers, consultants and senior managers among others.
Resources for Volunteering at Nonprofits
The Red Cross is a humanitarian organization whose mission is to extend a helping hand to victims of disasters, and to help communities with emergency prevention and / or preparedness. By volunteering here, you join a community of volunteers, donors and partners who go the extra mile to cater to the needs of the society when disaster strikes.
ChristianVolunteering.org is one of the places you can visit to find volunteer opportunities. There are over 10,000 opportunities available. By joining other users, you get a step closer to finding a service opportunity that satisfies you. One may volunteer on short-term missions or as long as they desire. There’s also room for virtual volunteers, which you can take advantage of from your home or office.
Global Volunteers is a movement that brings together volunteers from all walks of life. The organization prepares you to serve local communities in Africa, South Pacific, Asia, North America, South America, Europe and the Caribbean. This is an opportunity that will not only let you do well by other people, but learn from it also.
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit ministry that builds decent houses for people in need. It relies on the labor by volunteers and donations in order to achieve this goal. By joining, you will have the opportunity to travel the world, see what other people live like and change their living conditions for the better.
Peace Corps is an organization that seeks to bring change to a community, change that will remain to be felt even when its time and work in the community is done. Volunteers are given living and housing stipend and enjoy medical, travel and career benefits. The training and experience acquired during service makes you competent enough for work in corporate, government and nonprofit entities.
InterAction is at the forefront in the fight against extreme poverty and / or vulnerability. It also advocates for citizen participation, human rights, a sustainable planet, dignity for humankind and peace. It’s the number one representative of international NGOs that are based in the US. InterAction has resources such as publications, training materials and a document library that are all accessible to the general public.
Save the Children is an organization that is dedicated to the welfare of children. It has numerous programs such as:
- Emergency response whereby they come to children’s rescue in times of disasters
- Health and nutrition that promote healthier lives and growth
- Hunger and livelihoods which improves farming practices of families to enhance food supply
- HIV and AIDS prevention and care
- Protecting Children; a program that protects children from violence, abuse and neglect
- Education: this includes preschool programs, supplies, toys and books to ensure that the children receive quality education.
EarthWatch Institute is an organization whose mission is maintaining sustainable environments. They conduct and fund scientific field research to determine what measures are necessary for a sustainable planet. The institute works together with scientists, communities, volunteers, corporations, students and the public to transform their way of thinking and come up with practices that encourage environmental responsibility.
Dress for Success is an organization that was started in 1997 and aims at empowering women to achieve self-sufficiency. To achieve this, it provides development tools, professional attire and the opportunity to network for support. You can get involved as a volunteer to help other women achieve the best in life. You also get to build on your confidence, new relationships and improve your resume.
Youth for Understanding (YFU) is a leading force when it comes to intercultural exchange programs. Through cultural immersion, students get to experience what it’s like to live and flourish in a society that is connected by different cultures. They also learn about social responsibility. You could volunteer in administrative work, implementation of policy guidelines, orientation or even interviewing host families and students.