How to Break Into Nonprofits?
Many people are looking to make the changeover from the for-profit world into nonprofit work.
Two of the primary ways to position yourself for nonprofit employment are:
- Volunteering for a nonprofit. Not only will it give you a sense of how nonprofits operate, but will show a commitment to mission. And if you've been a volunteer - whether it's as a Little League Coach, a scoutmaster, a fundraiser, etc. - make sure you highlight that to potential employers
- Join a Board. The big proviso is that you join for the right reason - to serve a mission you believe in - and not because it's fodder for your resume.
- Think about the arrogance factor. If you believe that your for-profit experience makes you superior to those in the nonprofit sector, that will come through. If you don't recognize that nonprofit organizations are staffed by highly qualified professionals who have made a conscious career choice, you do not belong there.
At the same time, we encourage those hiring at nonprofits to consider those for profit folks whose life experience indicates that they can bring the same passion to the work as you do; along with solid skills nonprofits can use.