Starting out in nonprofits

Action Without Borders

Photo credit: Wikipedia

In a previous post, I discussed the importance of being passionate about your career. Nonprofits are especially known for containing people who are passionate and dedicated to the causes they serve.

But even in the nonprofit world, passion isn’t likely to get you a job if you don’t have the skills and experience to accompany it. This post in Idealist Careers lists ways to build those skills and experience:

Beyond passion: How to gain experience that will make you irresistible to nonprofits (

The author advises nonprofit career-seekers to not restrict themselves to a specific cause when searching for a job. Even if a job isn’t related to their cause, they’ll still gain pertinent skills:

The director of development at the non-profit I worked for in Guatemala built her skill set while working in fundraising for a museum. She brought experience in event management, individual giving, and corporate sponsorships, as well as her passion for social change.

And the author even recommends searching for jobs in the for-profit industry, stating that causes in nonprofits could also be relevant to a for-profit business:

Keep in mind that working outside of the sector doesn’t mean abandoning social change. Not only are new kinds of businesses popping up that combine purpose and profit, but also you can integrate your cause into your career, no matter where you are and do projects on your own that stand out.

Other recommendations include volunteering or interning, as well as being willing to take on more menial tasks (making phone calls, writing e-mails, crunching numbers, etc.).

For more inspiration, check out these profiles of people who are working for nonprofits:

20something profile: Caroline

20something profile: Ellen

20something profile: Megan

About David

I'm an aspiring writer and filmmaker in my twenties. I also run a blog where twenty-somethings share their stories and advice on beginning a career in this economy. Check it out at

Posted on July 14, 2013, in News & views and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Can you include my 20Something Profile on here? – Megan (The Artistic Brunette)

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