Charitable work is commonly viewed as something a person does out of the goodness of his or her heart. Volunteering time and/or donating money can foster good feelings and brighten the lives of both the person doing the giving and the individuals or organizations on the receiving end of that generosity.
Those who embrace the experience of charitable giving or volunteering may want to replicate it over and over, and a career in philanthropy may be the ideal way to do just that. Getting paid to do charitable work does not negate the spirit of the philanthropic effort. People who work in the nonprofit sector can bring about change that has a far-reaching impact.
According to a report by the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University, nonprofit employment represented 10.1 percent of total employment in the United States in 2010. Philanthropic careers continue to grow, and the nonprofit workforce is the third largest of all U.S. industries behind retail trade and manufacturing. In addition, the business skills gained working in the nonprofit sector are transferable for those who want to leave room for a potential career change later on.
Working in the nonprofit sector has several advantages. Some may be surprised to learn that nonprofit salaries can be on par with other industries, particularly in entry-level positions when career experience is limited. Working for a charitable organization does not mean working for nothing. And even when salaries are lower than corporate salaries, there are still benefits that can make the job well worth it.
Many people who work in the nonprofit sector find that the working environment is more intimate. Some also feel they gain more hands-on experience in the nonprofit sector than they might elsewhere.
According to Stanford Social Innovation Review, a social change journal, many nonprofit workers are given the opportunity to do work that falls outside of their job description. Nonprofit employment is multifaceted, and workers often wear many hats. This can provide considerable experience in a short period of time.
Finding a job in philanthropy is not much different than finding a job in the private sector. Begin by networking and expanding your list of contacts. Prospective employees can research nonprofit groups that have particular significance to them and scour their job listings or contact them about opportunities.
Online job databases can make it easier to find job postings in the nonprofit sector. DotOrgJobs.com is one such site that allows job seekers to search for full- or part-time jobs in the nonprofit sector.
There are many jobs in the nonprofit sector that may appeal to people of various skill sets. These include engineering, healthcare, administration, business, finance, and much more. Working in a nonprofit can be a rewarding experience in many different ways.