An Introduction To Nonprofit Jobs and Foundation Job Seeking. Must Know Apply Tips.
Nonprofit jobs and organizations are sometimes misunderstood. At times new job seekers are afraid to consider nonprofit jobs due to the fact that they are, in fact, nonprofit.
However, there is much to know about nonprofit organizations, how they operate, and the salaries they offer. Looking for a nonprofit job has its nuances, but is attainable with the right approach and very rewarding for motivated professionals that are attracted to mission-driven work.
1. What actually are nonprofit jobs?
A nonprofit organization is an institution that works to attain a mission that provides a benefit to society or works to help solve a problem locally, nationally or globally. They are corporations, but hold nonprofit status and thus are exempt from state and federal taxes as long as held in good standing and filed correctly. Instead of keeping profits the organization makes it turns the money around to pay for the programs it provides (Source: U.S. News).
A nonprofit job is one that works for organizations to serve through charity, education, science, art, philanthropy, or religion (Source: U.S. News).
They are jobs that work to attain a mission and aim to create the most impact possible in their area of focus. In a nonprofit job you still get paid, have benefits, etc. just like a normal job, but are measured via the results you create instead of solely by the profits earned. All funds above the operating costs are held by the nonprofit to reinvest in its programmatic and operational work.
Nonprofit job sub-sectors include social service organizations, foundations, unions, associations, educational institutions, health, religious organizations, advocacy and political organizations, and government. These are the largest types of nonprofit and public benefit organizations and types of common nonprofits in the United States.
Nonprofit jobs do not necessarily pay less than for-profit corporations but compensation varies greatly depending on the sub-sector, population it serves and or philanthropic culture of the organization. For some organizations it is the culture to take a pay-cut to work for a mission they love, for other more fortunate or completive sub-sectors pay mirrors the local regional for-profit pay.
Out of all sub-sectors foundation jobs are the most competitive to obtain. Youth organizations, homeless social services, and art organizational are the most challenged financially and at times struggle to pay competitive wages unless they are renowned or prestigious organizations with a history of successful fundraising.
2. Where can I look for nonprofit jobs and more information about the types of organizations that exist?
Nonprofit jobs are everywhere and are a simple search away. There are nonprofit job boards that can be searched for on any major search engine. Job boards like foundationlist.org, foundationcenter.org, and philantrophy.com/jobs are just a taste of what boards are out there (Source: Foundation List).
There is also the Nonprofit Almanac and Guidestar.org that both contain amazing information about nonprofit organizations, their size, history and financials. The Almanac also lists nonprofit jobs, statistics, facts, and other information needed to successfully navigate the nonprofit world (Source: Urban Institute).
3. How do I get a foundation job or nonprofit job?
Nonprofit organizations hire like any other job. You need to submit a cover letter and resume, there are background checks, screenings to find out if you are a match for the job and mission, and an interview process (U.S. News). Making it known why exactly you are wanting to work for the specific nonprofit’s mission and in the exact job are important points to discuss in an interview.
Foundation jobs are a great option if you bring thought leadership and or related subject matter experience in their area of giving or specialization. For jobs at Family Foundations this is also the case. If you know the heads of foundations or the founder for that matter, it can certainly kick start your ability to be considered for a higher level position, but may not always help you. Showing respect and patience for the HR hiring process of the organization and following the application instructions is most important if you are passionate about an opening. It is best practice to never apply for a position with the hope to quickly shift into another role or department. All employers are seeking to hire candidates that want their open job long term.
Nonprofit organizations and foundations do a lot of good for communities. They provide services and expertise for people who need it the most. If you wanting to help people, a nonprofit organization is a great place to consider work. But before you apply first research the sector and learn about the nuances of applying for nonprofit jobs and working for nonprofits. For example, they are not companies, do not call them one.
4. How should I prepare to apply and interview for a nonprofit job?
Research and read! Understand the differences between nonprofits and foundations. Learn generally what grant writing is, how one is obtained. What state and federal filing requirements exist. Familiarize yourself with what nonprofit development (fundraising) entails, and the types of development/philanthropic approaches are most widely used (major gifts, partnerships, annual giving, events, grants, planned giving, fund development). Understand the importance of showing demonstrated passion for the mission of the organization you are applying for on your resume and or experience volunteering for similar or related cause in the past.
If you have been applying to nonprofits without fully understanding these areas in a general sense, and or how they relate to each other do further research prior to further applying.
5. Where are nonprofit jobs found? What region and are they in my local area?
Unless environmental or regionally focused most nonprofits are located in metropolitan areas. While this is true more and more nonprofit are open to telecommuting staff for their specialized and executive roles they are generally only offer this to candidates that bring a demonstrated background of the exact experience they seek. If you are not a regional match, you better be a proven nonprofit professional with prior experience in the role. Otherwise, relocation prior to application could bring better results.
Cities with the most nonprofit jobs include New York, Washington DC, Chicago, San Antonio, Boston, Houston, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle.
- There are over 11.4 Million Jobs In The US Nonprofit Sector
- There are over 1.4 Million Tax Exempt Organizations In The US
- 10% of the American Workforce = Nonprofit
- Mashable, reported recently that residents of Salt Lake City, Memphis, and Birmingham gave the highest portion of their income to charity in the US.
- There are. 1.5 million nonprofits and growing registered in the U.S., according to Grant Space
- New York has the most nonprofits in the US, Los Angeles names the second, and Chicago the third as seen in the National Center for Charitable Statistics and reported by the Urban Institute
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Other Work Cited:
Green, Alison. “Thinking About a Nonprofit Job? Here’s What You Should Know.” Money.usnews.com: money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2014/03/26/thinking-about-a-nonprofit-job-heres-what-you-should-know
“List of 24 Nonprofit Job Boards for Finding Employment!”: www.foundationlist.org/news/list-of-nonporift-job-boards-made-for-the-nonprofit-sector/
“The Nonprofit Almanac.” Urban Institute: www.urban.org/policy-centers/center-nonprofits-and-philanthropy/projects/nonprofit-almanac