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Thinking of Moving From a Profit Making Organization to a Non-Profit Making One? Here Are 6 Tips to Guide You



A female banker raised the question recently in an online forum asking how she could make the switch to working in the non-profit sector. She cited that while she liked her job her real passions lay with working in a reputable non-governmental organization (NGO) or Not for Profit organizations (NPO) making real, noticeable impact on the people and environment around her.

There are certainly many people who harbor deep desires and passion to work in order to change and improve humanity. For those people, while they may already be working in various firms, they silently yearn to make the dreaded switch to the non-profit sector.

For some of the above category of people there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to make the shift. If you intend pursuing a career in non profit work there are decisions to be made and realities to face. You do not just make the jump without asking questions and getting for yourself realistic answers.

Do Some Soul Searching
Working in the non-profit sector is a more passion related thing than what is obtainable in the profit industries. You have to be sure you are working in an area aligning with your passion. What areas of non-profit work are you interested in? Youth development, poverty eradication, women and gender issues, health, environment etc? You will have to decide this before you make the leap.

You also look at what aspect of non-profit work better suits your personality and skills. Remember most NPOs and NGOs function in some related way to normal business organizations. They have several units like accounting/finance, marketing/publicity, strategy/operations, legal and so on. You will decide if you love to work in any of these capacities as a way of helping the cause or whether you prefer getting out there on the field where you work with people and get proactive with the issues the organization is working on.

Consider the Pay
It is often agreed that working in non-profit means overlooking the pay. This may be partially true as there are some non-profit organizations, especially international agencies that pay handsomely for mid to top level work. However, depending on your current for-profit work if you make the switch to nonprofit you will do well to put money aside as the major determinant as you may find nonprofit work to pay less especially if you are starting lower down the ladder.

Be Realistic
Many who think of moving to non-profit work believe that there is less stress and workload there. Nothing can be further from the truth. If you join a very active non-profit organization you should expect to work almost as much as you do in the business world.

How to Search for Non-profit Jobs

When it comes to searching for the fitting opening in nonprofit there are several little differences from what is obtainable in the for profit sector. Here are some tips for effective job search in the not for profit sector.

Revamp that CV
Your current CV may be so tuned for the business world that you may need to take a look at it and make slight changes. This time, don’t emphasize on job titles; rather, look for skills you have and multidisciplinary tasks you have handled that will look good for the type of nonprofit work you intend to look for.

Don’t Just Submit CVs, Look for Meaningful Connections
The nonprofit world does not work based on CV submissions much of the time. It’s a hands-on sector where meaningful relationships, trust and reputation matter a lot. Start meeting friends and acquaintances who already work in any nonprofit organization. Research possible non-profits you will love to work with, find out their leaders and key officers and start making your connection.

If your current work gives you some spare time,  then one of the ways to make an impression is to volunteer some of that free time to the non-profits that you are interested in. Offer to put in some free, unpaid work as a way to show you care about what they do. If you can do this and establish rapport with the management or leaders you can be sure to be considered for any real opening especially if you let them know you are interested in working for them full time.

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  1. Tess

    June 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Very enlightening…thanks Paul.

  2. I.c.o

    June 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks Paul. Insightful.

  3. Saxon Chuks

    June 26, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Tremendous…thanks Paul

  4. Slyv

    June 26, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Spot on.Thanks Paul

  5. Aderonke

    June 26, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    This article was written just for me. Taking the bold step but trending with a specific vision. Thank you Paul.

  6. temi

    June 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Good one!

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