Changing From A Private Sector Career To A Nonprofit Position

Nonprofit recruiter looking for candidates onlineAre you thinking about getting a nonprofit job? Or more specifically, have you been playing around with the idea of moving from a for-profit career to a nonprofit sector position?

If you have, there are a lot of elements and variables you need to consider. For starters, you have to realize you are looking at two very different worlds. The one you are used to places a heavy focus on turning a profit, while the work in a non-profit organization is more concerned about making a difference.

And while it might not seem challenging to make the switch and change your motivation regarding your career choices, it can end up being your biggest challenge yet.

Why You Should Consider The Switch To A Non-Profit Job

There comes the point in most people"s lives where they begin to contemplate their "worth." And this type of reflection is mainly based on their professional lives. In other words, they begin to wonder whether there is more to their career than just getting a salary.

The title of this article apparently caught your attention so, you are probably in that same place, contemplating whether your skills can do more than just sustain your lifestyle. And the answer is yes; your skills can make a significant difference.

With a nonprofit job, there is a bigger picture involved, and the aim isn"t always to fill up bank accounts - although fundraising is a significant part of the not-for-profit realm. Instead, you go to work every day with the knowledge that your efforts are changing the world. And, whether it is a small nonprofit organization in a city like Phoenix or a global foundation with an international reach, a change for the better is always the premise of going to work.

The emotional rewards you gain can"t be described in words, and it is not something you experience at a traditional for-profit enterprise.

What To Expect

Even though you are motivated to change your career path, don"t expect the challenges to be easy. In fact, you will discover that a nonprofit position can be more demanding than working for a fortune 500 company while the salary isn"t going to reflect this.

But to give you some perspective on these challenges and what you should expect when making the transition, consider the following:

- Long and irregular hours

Depending on the nonprofit company you get hired by, expect longer and irregular hours. Given that volunteers don"t have set times they"ll be helping out, your schedule needs to be incredibly flexible.

- A possibly lower salary

Seeing as money isn"t the core objective for the nonprofit sector, you can expect to earn less than with a for-profit company.

- A different work dynamic

The first things you"ll probably notice is the different dynamic with which a nonprofit organization operates. Everyone involved is driven by moral values, which is very different from being driven by profit and financial gain. In other words, it tends to be much easier to establish teams that function well together.

Tips To Ensure The Move To Nonprofit Is Successful

Given that there is such a big difference between for-profit and non-profit, it would be wrong to assume you can just bring your skills over and start working. Meaning you have to prepare yourself before approaching any opportunities.

- Get to know the company or organization first

It doesn"t just impress potential employers if you know all about their company, it also shows that you have a genuine interest in for what they stand. Do yourself a favor and get familiar with the organization first because they will be testing your knowledge in this regard.

employee having fun at a non-profit organization- Be passionate

The most important thing about filling a nonprofit sector position is to have passion. Seeing as money will only be used as a tool, and there won"t be much of it, the company needs to know you have the moral motivation. Don"t be scared to show your passionate side, especially during the interview, because it can determine if you get the job or not.

- Don"t get hung up on the salary

Nonprofit organizations naturally assume candidates are there to fulfill more than just their financial needs. They are there to make a difference and offer their skills, and the issue of getting paid shouldn"t be a top priority. So, when you go for the interview, don"t get hung up on the salary. Because if you make it an issue, there probably won"t be a place for you.

- Stick to what you know

When looking for nonprofit sector positions, try to keep it close to home. In other words, apply for jobs with which you have experience. Because adapting your skills to fit the nonprofit dynamic is going to be tough enough without adding responsibilities you"ve never encountered before. Plus, you have a much better chance of getting the job if you have experience in that position.

A Final Thought

Moving to a nonprofit job is a significant change you need to prepare for, but it is also a liberating one. And if you are still motivated to make it, you have enough passion. Just make sure the nonprofit organization or company can see it too.

If you need help finding a career in the nonprofit sector, or are a nonprofit organization looking to hire, it is often a good idea to connect with a recruiter who specializes in the industry.


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