Imagine a job which is informal, rewarding, and fulfilling. Okay, your salary won’t even come close to the six-figure mark, but imagine being in an environment where the people working with you are passionate about what they do. Unlike most typical jobs where many unfortunately feel like their noses are on the daily grindstone and wish they were someplace else, those who work in a non-profit organization have the satisfaction in knowing that what they do is actually helping others and improving lives.
Aside from the lower wages, non-profit jobs can also be as stressful as any other job. The issues to face are often tremendous (and emotional), and having to deal with red-tape bureaucracy and legalities can be more than frustrating.
Non-profit organizations were created to provide a public service. This can be in a variety of fields – from economic development, arts, environment, culture, society, science, disasters, troubled areas, and so on. Businesses on the other hand, exist to make money for themselves through selling their goods or services.
There are a massive number of non-profit organizations around the world, in nearly every country as well as internationally (there are referred to as nongovernmental organizations or NGOs), and in the US alone, there are over 11 million people working within the sector.
People are varied and interesting in the non-profit sector, and always passionate. If you are seriously considering a job here, think about the type of non-profit work that would suit you best. Would you prefer administrative work or be out in the field? Are you interested in research? Advocacy? Or perhaps policy?
Being clear about the kind of work that interests you will help you be more selective when you see all the positions that are available in the nonprofit sector.