Many qualified and talented employees shy away from seeking nonprofit jobs, even when they have a passion for the cause, because the stigma attached to it. A lot of professionals think that nonprofit jobs are not good steppingstones on a career path, nonprofit salaries are less than their corporate counterparts, and nonprofit jobs are taken less seriously than for-profit jobs. While some of these things are true for some nonprofit agencies, the same could be said for for-profit companies. The individual organization determines this more than the type of tax code that gives it nonprofit or for-profit status.
Here a few common myths associated with working in nonprofit jobs:
- You won’t be taken seriously as a professional in a nonprofit job.
The 501(c)(3) tax status that the IRS applies to nonprofit organizations comes with specific stipulations that require professional management of the organization. Working for nonprofit does not mean you can come and go as you please, where your pajamas to work, and that there are no standards to live up to you. Your work ethic, demeanor, and productivity will be just as important working for nonprofit organization as it is working in the for-profit sector.
- Nonprofit salaries pay less for the same jobs.
Nonprofit employees are still given competitive wages that are similar to any like position in the for-profit world. In fact, as the economy has had an upswing over the last several years, the nonprofit sector has seen an increase in wages. Some nonprofit demographics have had wage increases at a higher rate than their for-profit counterparts.
- Working for a nonprofit is a poor career step.
While there is a misconception that working for a nonprofit is a thing people should only do after they’ve had the glory of a career, it is actually in wonderful opportunity for new professionals. Working in a nonprofit organization gives employees the opportunity to take on new responsibilities, and add a greater range of experience to resume. Additionally, nonprofits are more likely to give inexperienced employees leadership responsibilities than they would find in the corporate world.
- Nonprofits work with antiquated technology.
Once again, this greatly depends on the nonprofit organization you work for. You probably know that least one grocery store that still uses check out systems that look like they are from the 1980s. Meanwhile, many large scale hospitals and multifaceted organizations that use cutting-edge technology are actually in the nonprofit sector.
How to Find a Great Nonprofit to Work for
Finding a great nonprofit job strongly depends on finding the right organization to work for. A few steps in doing that include:
- Consider what causes you feel strongly about. If you are passionate about the cause, you will have a sense of reward from the very beginning.
- Identify the key players. Having a connection with people who are heavily invested in the nonprofit industry you are interested in will help you identify which company to work for and will help you get in the position you want.
- Scope out websites that are specifically geared to finding nonprofit jobs. A few great ones are Encore.com and Idealist.org.