by Mansi Gandhi

When you know you want your daily work to have meaning and make a positive impact on others; then a career in the nonprofit sector just might be for you.

Working at a nonprofit organization gives you the opportunity to use your skills and talents towards a good cause. It can also give you a real sense of accomplishment.

At The Job Forum’s recent event, we  heard from experts in the Nonprofit sector about their experience and some tips for landing a job in a nonprofit. 

How is a Nonprofit Organization doing in terms of hiring during covid?

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has profoundly impacted nonprofits and communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has cut into nonprofits resources while increasing demand for their services; they are asked to do more with less money and reduced staff.

At The Job Forum event expert panelists who they work within Nonprofit Organization shared their goals and missions  and what services they provide and described the hiring situation in their organizations:

St. Anthony’s Foundation

  • The mission of St. Anthony’s is to feed, heal, shelter, clothe, lift the spirits of those in need, and create a society in which all people flourish.
  •  Pre-Covid they provided 2000 meals/day and at present during Covid they are providing 5000meals/day. 
  • They have lost quite a lot of volunteers during Covid, but are still providing the services and are looking for more volunteers.
  • There are about 16 openings available for various roles, listed on their website http://www.stanthonysf.org

Boys Hope Girls Hope (BHGH)

  • Boys Hope Girls Hope helps academically capable and motivated children-in-need to meet their full potential and become men and women for others by providing value-centered, family-like environments, opportunities and education through college.
  • The education sector is in crisis, learning and development have been interrupted and disrupted for millions of students. However, nonprofit donors and staff are getting more creative in their efforts to raise funds towards achieving their goals.
  • Whether it is pre-covid, during covid or post covid children need tutoring and mentoring and so staff at BHGH is taking more responsibilities individually and trying to fulfill the demands
  • They are hiring and have a list of openings on the website http://www.boyshopegirlshope.org

Women’s Cancer Resource Center (WCRC)

  • The Women’s Cancer Resource Center (WCRC) improves equitable access to cancer information, support and care. WCRC offers services to any person with any type of cancer, with a focus on those who are low-income, people of color, and members of the queer/trans community.
  • WCRC provides many different services, to name a few are – Community Based Navigation Service, Translation Service, Emergency Financial Service, Therapy Services, Community Wellness Classes, etc. A List of openings are available on the website http://www.wcrc.org

Candid

  • Candid finds out where that non profit funding comes from, where it goes, and why it matters. Through research, collaboration, and training, Candid connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to do it. Candid’s data tools on nonprofits, foundations, and grants are the most comprehensive in the world. 
  • At Candid, hiring continues and since the training of candidates is possible virtually, it has facilitated an improvement in their overall hiring process. 

However, there are few things you need to know before you start to work at a Nonprofit organization

To begin with, working at a nonprofit is NOT the same as volunteering.

Sure, you CAN temporarily volunteer in a nonprofit organization, but you can also work there full-time (WITH a paycheck). 

After all, a nonprofit is the same as any normal business, but with one key difference. A nonprofit organization operates based on a goal or mission. All revenue generated by the organization is used to reach this goal. As such, the company never actually makes a profit.

How to start a career in a Nonprofit

As with any other position, to get a nonprofit job, you need to go through the standard application process. I.e. make a resume, schedule an interview, etc.

Most nonprofits organize volunteering programs. So, if you’re wondering how to get your foot in the door – you can start by volunteering and THEN apply for a job.

Because nonprofits work just like normal companies, they tend to hire all sorts of roles (HR, IT,  marketing, program management to name a few).

There are, however, some jobs that are exclusive to the nonprofit sector.( examples fundraising, donor outreach)

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement for many entry-level jobs in nonprofits, just as in a for-profit organization.

Though, depending on the organization or the job role, sometimes just the experience and wanting to help is all it takes to get started. All the expert speakers mentioned that having authentic enthusiasm for the core mission, really makes a difference in how you as a job hunting candidate will be positively perceived . 

 Especially in this time of uncertainty, The Job Forum recommends thoroughly researching the organization before an interview: review its website, search for recent news articles, and follow it on social media. This should give you a general feel for how the organization is handling the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on operations.

Non profit Job positions generally fall under the following categories:

  • Management: Chief Operating Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Resource Development Manager.
  • Administrative: Human Resources, Information Technology (IT), Administrative Assistant
  • Programming: Program Director, Volunteer Manager, Project Coordinator
  • Marketing and Communications: Social Media Manager, Content Writer, Public Relations
  • Development: Resource Development Manager, Fundraiser, Grant Writer, Annual Giving Manager

Each of these job titles may include multiple roles, and allow you to contribute to a wider variety of organizational tasks than you might see in the for-profit sector.

A unique  advantage of looking for working in the nonprofit sector is the ability to test the waters before working in it, by volunteering.

After volunteering, if you decide you don’t want to work at that particular nonprofit, you’ll have relevant experience to add to your resume for the next one.

Some of the best places to find nonprofit job opportunities are:

  • Online searches: Use popular job search websites like Indeed, CalNonprofits, WorkForGood,  FoundationList, and GlassDoor
  • Personal connections: Ask friends and family about upcoming opportunities. Finding a mentor in the nonprofit sector can also help you figure out the direction you want to go in.
  • Reach out yourself: If you already know a specific nonprofit where you want to work, there’s no harm in reaching out with your resume so that you’re on their radar. 
  • Online networks: If you don’t know anyone in your area, there are a lot of nonprofit Facebook and LinkedIn groups you can join to get advice and learn a little more about the industry before diving in headfirst.

Is a nonprofit career right for me?

The Job Forum experts shared that typically, nonprofits attract people who are willing to work hard to support a cause they believe in. Nonprofits are good for older job hunters with valuable transferable skills and for those who like to wear “many hats”

Though you’ll still have a salary within the organization – it might not be comparable to the for profit world. So if it’s the financial gain that motivates you, a nonprofit career might NOT be for you.

But for some people, working for the cause can be part of the reward.

For professionals who enjoy solving problems and looking for personal growth – this might be a good thing.

The organization can also help you discover what you’re truly passionate about.

Think about your priorities and what motivates you, and go from there.

The journey to a nonprofit career is an exciting one. The key is to put effort into finding the right sector and role to fit your skill set.

The Job Forum is also a Nonprofit run by volunteers who offer job hunters insights and advice from experts in various industries. Our volunteer experts are insiders in Bay Area companies who advise job seekers with practical ideas for how to be more successful in finding a job or career within these industries.

Virtual events, Meetings and Q&A sessions are organized to assist job hunters with customized assistance and ideas every Wednesday and Thursday evening  6–8 PM- virtually.

Sign up on eventbrite to register and take advantage of these FREE sessions.

Please support The Job Forum with your donations so we can continue to help the many job hunters who need guidance, insider tips, and ideas, contacts and encouragement.