There are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S., and these organizations employ 8 percent of the nation’s workforce. While many associate the term nonprofit with working for free, statistics show that countless careers in this sector come with high salaries and comprehensive benefits. Nonprofit occupations also offer a unique opportunity for using your college degree to work for the causes you care about the most. Here are just five of the many reasons to consider pursuing a job in the nonprofit sector.
A Chance to Use Your Degree
One of the biggest challenges facing recent college graduates is finding a job that will make their educational pursuits seem worthwhile. Many fear that the hard work they put into obtaining a college degree will not lead to a relevant career. When it comes to the nonprofit world, there are countless opportunities for using your degree in a practical and fulfilling way. For example, if you obtain a Master’s in Public Administration you would be prepared for a nonprofit career as a policy analyst, executive director or researcher. Degrees in political science, English and education are also highly conducive to a career in the nonprofit world. Hiring managers for nonprofits also report that college graduates are ideal candidates for nonprofit jobs because of their ability to multitask and their experience from internships and volunteer projects.
Opportunities for Career Advancement
When it comes to moving up the career ladder, nonprofit jobs are as promising if not more so than those in the for-profit world. A report by Bridgespan Group revealed that a leadership shortage has emerged in the nonprofit world due to a growing number of new organizations. These leadership opportunities are not just reserved for the most experienced workers either. Recent college graduates who land nonprofit jobs can expect to take on more responsibilities quickly, and those who show hard work and dedication may even go on to become executive directors or CEOs. Other college graduates have found success by starting their own nonprofit organizations. This is a great way for passionate individuals to pursue a specific vision while advancing their career goals.
Potential for High Earnings
While nonprofits strive to put as much money as possible toward a central cause, organizations are beginning to recognize the value of a qualified and well-paid staff. Working in this sector certainly requires a desire to serve others;however, nonprofit leaders also understand that workers must be fairly compensated in order to prevent burnout. As a result, nonprofit organizations are beginning to offer competitive salaries that are comparable to those in the corporate world. According to Forbes, even nonprofit workers on the lower end of the pay scale, such as database administrators and public relations specialists, can earn close to $60,000 a year. Additionally, the growing number of nonprofit organizations in the U.S. has led to more diverse job opportunities. This means that you can likely find a job with a salary that suits your financial needs.
A Positive Work Environment
Even when an organization can’t quite match the salary of a for-profit company, nonprofit workers report that the positive work environment more than makes up for it. Nonprofit organizations tend to offer more paid vacation time, flexible schedules and a casual dress code. Additionally, a career in the nonprofit world means working with some of the brightest and most passionate people in your field. You will get the opportunity to spend your work days with people who will support the causes you care about and challenge you to improve your knowledge and skills.
Nonprofit organizations are filled with individuals who previously held coveted positions in the for-profit world. Many leave their lucrative corporate jobs because they simply do not feel fulfilled. Others realize that working 90 or more hours a week is keeping them from spending valuable time with their families. Those who eventually find work in the nonprofit sector often report a feeling of relief. This comes from the satisfaction of knowing that their careers are making positive changes in the lives of others. From organizations that raise funds for cancer research to those that work to protect the environment, the opportunities for changing the world through nonprofit work are endless.
As you work to figure out what vocation is right for you, consider a career in the nonprofit sector. If you are looking for a job that will bring you financial, vocational and personal fulfillment, explore the exciting career opportunities the nonprofit world has offer.
Business people laughing Image by Richard Foster from stockpholio.com
Business meeting Image by Akamai Solar Hawaii from Flickr Creative Commons