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Are you thinking about a change in your career?
Maybe you feel like you’re ready for a shift and you want your work to have a purpose. Working at nonprofit organizations can do a lot of your sense of service and your career.
There’s plenty of opportunities to work in the nonprofit sector, with the industry providing 12.3 million jobs.
Read on to discover why working at a nonprofit can be a great boost to your career.
Your Work Has Meaning
Have you ever had a job where it felt like you were just a cog in a machine? That your work had no real meaning or purpose?
By their nature of serving the community, nonprofit organizations give your work a sense of purpose and meaning. In some cases, you get to make a real impact on the lives of others.
Depending on your job, you can raise funds that allow your organization to buy a larger building to serve more people. You could be on the front lines working with families in need, helping them get on their feet again.
Whatever it is that you do, you can see and feel the difference that you’re making in the world, not just improving a company’s value to shareholders. That can lead to along and fulfilling career.
Unique Organizational Culture
Working at a nonprofit is far from your typical 9-5 job. The culture is around serving the community, and that normally doesn’t happen during office hours.
You might have people stopping in to chat, or you will have to make an appearance at a community event later in the evening to show your organization’s support.
No one day is the same at a nonprofit. That’s a big reason why so many people love working for nonprofit organizations.
One of the things that you are sure to get out of working at a nonprofit is community contacts. You’re often out in the community representing your organization.
That means you interact with donors of all levels, community leaders, and local politicians. You’re making invaluable connections at every level of the community.
These relationships can lead to other opportunities in your career, whether you want to go into the public or private sector.
Learn How to Perform Great Work Under Pressure
Nonprofits are well known for trying t do everything with fewer resources. The reason is that they want to ensure that as much funding as possible furthers the mission of the organization.
What that means for you is that you have to do more with fewer resources, often under tight deadlines. You may need to get a grant application completed or work on a huge event that benefits the nonprofit.
You’ll need to learn how to stay centered and focused on your work and get the job done under stressful circumstances. This critical still will be sure to serve you throughout your career.
You Get to Do Everything
Since nonprofits ask employees to do more with less, you’re required to wear many different hats at your organization. One moment, you may be solving a big problem in the community, and the next you’re learning how to run a social media campaign.
You can leverage your time at a nonprofit to try out many different roles and find out what you like, and you don’t like. This can be useful as you continue to build your career.
Develop Your Soft Skills
There are hard skills, which are skills that you put on a resume. These are programs that you use, like Microsoft Excel and your experience in program management.
Soft skills are just as, if not more, important than hard skills. These are the intangible skills that can set you apart in the job market.
Nonprofit organizations are often a training ground for developing soft skills. You usually work with a wide range of people, from donors to volunteers, to people who use your services.
In each instance, you’re dealing with people and managing needs and sometimes egos to further the cause of your organization.
Doors Open to Other Opportunities
You never know where your next opportunities lie in your career. One thing that is certain is that nonprofit organizations can open many doors for you.
You’ll become a major asset in your community. That has the potential to lead to other opportunities.
Practicing Self Care as You Build Your Career
There are a lot of perks when you work at a nonprofit organization. Depending on your position, it can be highly demanding. As an Executive Director, for example, you are always on.
In other words, just because you’re off the clock, it doesn’t mean that you’re not working. You’re an integral member of the community. Going out for a meal with your partner can turn into work if you run into someone who’s involved in your organization.
Nonprofit organizations have seen a relatively high turnover rate of 19%. This is due to low wages and high stress.
Even high-paying jobs such as nursing frequently experience employee burnout. You can read more about nurse burnout here.
How can you avoid the same fate in your nonprofit career? By practicing self-care.
It is imperative that you set strong boundaries for yourself and take time out to recharge and relax. It can be hard to do in a nonprofit environment because you may always be on call for events that happen at night or during the week.
One thing you can do is set the tone early with your boss and let them know that you need to have that time.
Nonprofit Organizations Need You
Working at a nonprofit organization is challenging, yet incredibly rewarding. They pay may be less than what you’d get elsewhere in the private sector, but there are so many other reasons why a nonprofit would be a great fit.
Nonprofit organizations give you the opportunity to try many different types of jobs. You also have work with a purpose and you’re building invaluable connections in the community. That can lead to other opportunities down the road.
Ready to get started building your career? Check out this article about careers that make a difference.
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