It is my belief that there are three compelling reasons to consider employment in the nonprofit sector and they are Passion, Purpose, and Paycheck. I would challenge you to use this article to think about your own situation and motivations for considering sector switching to a nonprofit position and see how they align with the Three P’s.
Your work should be in alignment with your personal values. There are currently +1.5 million nonprofits in the United States; 11,000 in Georgia (this number includes foundations) and 351 nonprofits with budgets +$5 million. Projections for the fastest growing nonprofit organizations over the next three to five years include health, human services, organizations with an emphasis on social entrepreneurship, and global reaching nonprofits. Which of those causes, if any, are you passionate about? What kind of mission would tap into your heart and mind? In the nonprofit sector, like no other, finding your passion will allow you to feel and experience every range of emotion. To then channel those emotions and take action to create positive change or make a difference in your community will be tremendously rewarding and will only serve to fuel your passion.
Your work should have purpose and significance for your community. Nonprofits are asked to respond and more importantly, to address society’s most challenging and complex problems. World hunger, exploitation of children, homelessness, AIDS, you name it, these are problems that will exist far beyond our life span. The ability to clearly articulate why a nonprofit exists and what makes it relevant in today’s society as well as the skills to recognize and leverage strategic opportunities are the cornerstones of an effective and sustainable nonprofit. Likewise, what kind of purpose and significance are you looking to make in your nonprofit career? Can you clearly communicate the purpose you believe your skill sets and enthusiasm can make in the right nonprofit setting?
Your work is a way to give back while still earning a paycheck. The bottom line, no matter what cause you’re passionate about, those monthly bills will still show up in your mailbox! The good news is that as nonprofits continue to professionalize and awareness grows that the sector is a viable career path, so will the salaries and benefits that will be needed to attract and retain talented individuals. Compared to the for-profit sector, pay for entry positions is typically about 5% lower; midlevel pay is about 20 to 25% lower; and as much as 50% for Executive Directors and Chief Executive Officers. The larger the nonprofit, the greater the pay and benefits. Salaries also vary according to geographic location, organizational structure and budget, and the number of employees. Determining your salary range ahead of time is just smart and will prevent wasted time and effort on your part.
See you at the movies!!