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Ways to Land a Successful Career in Nonprofit

Many people are making plans, setting goals, and considering changes. If a career switch is on your horizon, especially in the non-profit sector. It is essential to not only think about where you could find an open position but also backtrack to figure out what your motivations are for pursuing a new non-profit job role, where your experiences and skills might be of more benefit,
and which functions might be right for you.

You’re a community-driven activist, do-gooder, a full-hearted advocate. You are enthusiastic about improving your world and believe that a career in a non-profit is the best way to do it. Non-profit recruitment processes are rarely transparent to job applicants, partly because the folks who work in those not-for-profit organizations are overly occupied to communicate properly with everyone.

Let us explain how to enter the world of non-profit organizations and land a successful career.

First, learn about the structure of non-profit organizations and what non-profit jobs are for beginners:
Like for-profit organizations, non-profits have many departments ranging from business support functions to outreach, fundraising, and program management.

As you reflect on the possibility of moving into space, consider the kind of work you would be willing to do. Do you want to be at the forefront of community organizing? If yes, search for entry-level roles in the field. Do you like the concept of fundraising through an online donation or other means for a cause? If affirmative, try to find openings in development departments. Are you passionate about working smoothly with a non-profit organization? Human resources or operations can be the area for you. You want to use your social media skills and work forever? Marketing and communications can be your space.

Inquire a little about the organizations that interest you to know the varieties of roles that are available and then determine where you might fit in.

Skills and Attributes to highlight on Your Resume and Cover Letter

1. Agility

  • With the exception of the largest players in space, non-profit organizations usually have a shoestring budget and few employees, which means there is a high probability that you will be asked to support activities that do not fit your job description, whether it be events, fundraising, or community engagement.
  • Highlight your ability and enthusiasm to learn new things in your cover letter, and be prepared to answer questions about your agility in the interview.

2. Team player
This is important because you are likely to be called in to help with tasks outside of your role. Non-profit organizations will likely measure how well you can work together as a team. Any previous experience that proves you are a team player is definitely worth highlighting on your resume and be ready to show this quality as you advance through the recruiting process.

3. Commitment to the mission

  • You can speak to non-profit organizations about their passions for their work. Generally, you will first be told about their enthusiasm for the mission. Moreover, there's a good chance you're considering the field because there's a problem driving you.

  • Prepare to talk about that passion in an interview and spotlight it in your cover letter, or by drawing on volunteer jobs or works you’ve completed in the past: tutoring children could highlight your passion for education and literacy, volunteering at a soup kitchen could demonstrate your passion for fighting homelessness or defending mental health, and walking dogs could highlight passion for animal rights.

How you can Land the Job in Non-Profit Organization

There are actually to land a non-profit job, but here are some of the viable ways to help land a career in the non-profit world:

1. Network
A good way to broaden your knowledge of non-profit organizations is to solicit informational interviews with their staff. Work through your friends and family contacts, and connect with current employees working in a role in which you are interested in an organization that you are passionate about.

2. Volunteer
Are you determined to work with a particular non-profit organization? Volunteer at the organization. It gives you the opportunity to get to know the staff and the job, and it also gives you first-hand access to news about jobs. Since most non-profit organizations rely on a large amount of volunteer work to run their programs, it is likely that you will also gain valuable work experience for your resume.

3. Intern
Whether you are still in school or out of school, getting an internship with a non-profit organization is a terrific way to get some experience for your resume, and put your foot in the gateway to any organization you like. Don't be shy about networking for an internship, and even if an organization has not made a position public, especially if you can work for academic credit. Non-Profit organizations are often more than willing to help.

4. Search entry-level jobs
Be it looking for your first job or changing careers, applying for an entry-level role can be a great way to express your passion for a worthy cause.

5. Don’t resort to non-profit work for a stress-free lifestyle
Of course, some non-profits may be slower, just as some employers in any other sector may be.vHowever, some non-profits are quite swift and stringent, and in some organizations, the stress can be extreme. Like all jobs in any sector, you need to do enough research to know what you’re walking into. However, keep in mind that comments indicating that you expect non-profit work to be more relaxed can be fatal with organizations where that is not the case.

6. Use social media
Social media is a fascinating way to look for a non-profit position. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be excellent tools for finding valuable contacts, learning about charitable organizations and becoming more visible.

Most not-for-profit organizations now have a social networking presence on major social networking sites, and many individuals who work in non-profit organizations are active users of these sites.

7. Have a wide network
There are non-profit jobs in almost any field of expertise you can imagine. Consider a career in teaching, a healthcare career, a museum or a government job. Every year more non-profit causes are discovered, and organizations are created to serve them at a rapid pace.

About The Author


Ravi Raj

Raviraj is the director of growth at Donorbox. He is a digital strategist with over 5 years of experience. He is passionate about helping nonprofits with online fundraising. He enjoys playing badminton and travels the world when he’s not at work.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

hat skills and attributes should I highlight on my resume and cover letter when applying for non-profit positions?
Key skills and attributes to emphasize - agility, being a team player, and a strong commitment to the organization's mission. Showcase instances from your experience that demonstrate these qualities.

Is working in the non-profit sector less stressful than other industries?
It's important to research and understand the specific organization's culture and expectations before assuming that non-profit work is always stress-free.

Can I find non-profit positions related to my field of expertise?
Yes, from teaching and healthcare to government and more. Non-profit causes are continually emerging, creating opportunities for individuals with diverse expertise to make a meaningful impact.

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