Tag Archive | "Nonprofit"

Frugal Idealists Unite!

Tags: ,


Contrary to popular belief, nonprofit organizations are not exclusively charitable organizations. Nonprofits fit into a broad category of groups for which the primary motivation for operating is not the turning of a profit, but rather coming to the aid of one of any number of causes they are passionate about.

In addition to the obvious, such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, PETA, the American Cancer Society and the ACLU, there are smaller nonprofits geared toward anything from supporting the arts, to professional organizations, political action committees and research/academic institutions.

Many nonprofits are funded by donations and grants from the government and other organizations, and therefore subsist to a great extent on the good will and faith of their supporters. Due to the limited funding, pay at nonprofits tends to be lower than comparable positions in for-profit companies.

Though most nonprofit devotees agree that for what they lack in compensation and benefits, they more than make up for in satisfaction. However, the lack of greater financial incentive is a key factor in nonprofits’ struggle to find good help. The rate of applications took a hit when the economy went through the roof, but is expected to rise again now that the economy has gone through the floor.

If you’re passionate about a cause, an organization, even an idea, then a job or career in the nonprofit sphere may well be the way to go.

Help Wanted

Nonprofits need to fill many of the same slots that capitalist organizations need to fill. There is a need for managers, HR people, editors, grant writers, irrigation trench diggers, doctors, accountants, publicists, researchers, lobbyists, information technology folk and so forth. Odds are, if you can do something well, you can do it for a nonprofit.

Financial compensation, as it is well known, is lower than that of comparable positions in for-profit companies, but again, the job satisfaction and knowledge that you’re doing more for the world than making a rich man richer, is incalculable.

Plus, the jobs, while no less challenging, tend to me far less stressful. Positions at nonprofits tend to be refreshingly free of the backbiting, self-involvement and ruthless competitiveness that characterize many jobs in the hardnosed capitalist sphere.

Where to look? The Internet is your best bet. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of sites dedicated to nonprofits. Take a gander and find something you like. The jobs range from entry-level paper pushing, to CEO slots.

Three of the better sites are:

On the Job

What can you expect from a job with a nonprofit? For one: ingenuity. Nonprofits, because their funding is limited, cannot afford to slip up and overspend. Efficiency is crucial — as is a spirit of cooperation and camaraderie.

Nonprofits offer more than just office positions. There is also a tremendous amount of fieldwork to be done, from community outreach programs, to lobbying, to research. Remember, if you can do it, odds are, you can do it for a nonprofit.

And the atmosphere is often more relaxed than the current trend of high stress and impossible demands faced by a large chunk of the US white-collar workforce. Then factor in the pleasure of doing something you enjoy, for a living. How many people can claim that?

You’ll receive useful training that will aid you in the pursuit of a career within or outside of the nonprofit sphere, which is of course priceless — especially if you’ve majored in sociology, psychology or social work. Many join nonprofits as a break from corporate or political life, others join to test the waters in the hope of finding a calling — as an entry-level job that may lead to a career. Ultimately though, people enter into the nonprofit world because they want to help.

If you’re one of those people, take a look at what’s out there. But if you’re one of those people fond of saying, “If I hit the lottery, I would, like, totally work for a nonprofit,” it’s probably not your bag.