In today's market, more and more college grads are wanting a a career where they feel they can make a difference and are choosing to work for nonprofit organizations. Working for a nonprofit can be challenging, stressful, hectic, and usually pays considerably less than working in the corporate sector, but can also be extremely rewarding.
If you're looking to work for a nonprofit, make sure you've done your research. This is why I was thrilled last week when I stumbled upon the Idealist.org Guide to Nonprofit Careers last week, a handy resource packed with all kinds of information from experts about working for a nonprofit organization. From helping you explore why you want to work for a nonprofit, to tips for starting your own nonprofit ("Nonprofits can-in fact, have to be-"business-like" to survive"), to dispelling common myths, such as the false ideas that only rich kids and business rejects work in the nonprofit sector.
Many people do try to caution young people away from nonprofit careers, warning of the long hours and low pay, and blowing it off as an unrealistic and poor career choice. One thing is clear though, our generation wants to give back and make a difference, and working in the nonprofit sector is becoming one of the most popular ways to do so. And nowadays, it looks like the lines are blurring between the nonprofit and for-profit workplace; many businesses are becoming socially responsible and offering opportunities such as Ernst & Young's Social Responsibility Fellowship. This is a clear indicator to many that businesses recognize our generation's desire to give back and find work that is meaningful.
So no matter what you want to do, if you have a cause that you're passionate about, don't let anyone discourage you from a fulfilling career in the nonprofit sector. Like you would for any career, do your homework. It's certainly tougher with the nonprofit sector because there just aren't as many resources out there as there are for, say, business students or engineers. But the Idealist.org Guide to Nonprofit Careers has a wealth of information about working for a nonprofit and finding your first nonprofit job – so take advantage of it. It could be one of the best decisions you make!