There are many advantages of working for a non-profit organization, and here are five of the most important.
1. Making a difference in other people’s lives
When you work for a for-profit corporation, your north star is bettering its bottom line by boosting its profits. This kind of work can be challenging, interesting, and helpful to your career, but it likely will not address social needs, impact the environment for the better, or improve the lives of others. On the other hand, nonprofit roles generally allow you to work towards a specific mission that directly, tangibly, and positively impacts people's lives. So, whether supporting underserved groups, advocating for better mental health, or promoting environmental causes, nonprofit work makes a real social impact.
2. Working more creatively
Regardless of your actual job title, working in a nonprofit lets you flex your creative muscles. Generally, nonprofits have smaller and less specialized teams than for-profit firms, which means that everyone can contribute to the work in their unique way. Sometimes, this may mean having to think outside of the box, coming up with different ways to solve challenges and introducing new ideas to incorporate into the workflow.
3. Gaining new skills
Since working for a nonprofit often means working creatively and wearing different hats every day, it allows you to gain and refine new skills. For example, if you’re a trained web designer but have experience with fundraising, you could spend some of your time supporting the fundraising department and thus gain fundraising skills. Leaner teams mean you’ll also likely learn how to manage various aspects of the company's work, such as accounting and public relations. And you’ll likely gain leadership skills, as you’ll often be tasked to lead various projects.
4. Getting better benefits
You might have heard that nonprofits typically don't pay huge salaries. While this is often the case, it's also true that nonprofits usually offer more flexibility than for-profit corporations and great benefits. Working remotely much of the time and strong healthcare and childcare benefits are common at nonprofits. More vacation days and tons of training opportunities are also common perks at nonprofits.
5. Working with like-minded people
When you work for a nonprofit, you’ll be in close contact with people who share many of your views and values. In addition, you might find yourself collaborating with part-time volunteers who also share your values. This can help you expand both your personal and professional networks. Creating lasting friendships in the workplace is not always easy, but it’s very common in nonprofit work environments.
David Hutchinson is the president of Cause Leadership, a firm specializing in executive search for nonprofits. Since 1997, he has successfully placed senior-level candidates with a broad spectrum of organizations in the charitable sector. He also has a great interest in helping charitable organizations diversify, become younger in their leadership, and better represent their own clients.