What You Really Need To Know About Working For Non-Profits

If serving your fellow-man or furry friend in some capacity appeals to your heart then working for a non-profit entity may be just what will help satisfy your longing to be a part of something that really makes a difference. Naturally, you could volunteer at a church, hospital, or even local humane society, but if finances count with you, then there are some things you need to know before you go apply for employment with a non-profit organization.

Some Advantages To Non-Profit Work

While non-profits do not generally pay highly competitive salaries, their benefits are many times worth the trade-off for some people. Shorter working hours, flexible schedules for employees with families, and even longer vacation time is found in some non-profits. Private health plans and more stable retirement/pension plans also make working for a non-profit more advantageous for many people. A sense of being part of a community environment even after retirement appeals to many employees, as does a more casual atmosphere and relaxed dress code. Likewise, there’s a sense that if a good is being done by the organization’s orientation, it can be carried out more quickly and effectively than by the government or large corporation.

The Salary Ranges

Unlike common misconceptions by many people, the term “non-profit” does not mean working for free. However, the salary range given to employees is typically less than for-profit corporations. The positions many times are staffed by professionals with degrees in various fields such as social work, education, and business administration. While some non-profits do indeed make a profit, the organization is not in itself working for a profit. However, this is not the general norm across the board. Some non-profits can overload their employees with responsibilities and longer hours, so choosing wisely is part of one’s job search strategy. That said, the salary range is determined by several key factors such as one’s overall experience, the job category and description, one’s educational background, the organization’s size, the geographic location of the organization, and the structure of the organization. It might be worth it to bump up your education with a Master of public administration online or similar work which can get you further in the field.

A publication by the NonProfit Times 2007 Salary Survey, reported that average salaries for an executive director in one non-profit in the central United States came in under $100,000 as opposed to more than $130,000 for a similar position in the mid-Atlantic region.

What Positions Are Offered

Just like any for-profit corporate entity, the same jobs are generally open for hiring. Bookkeeping, web development, research, administrative/secretarial, and even cafeteria work in some instances. They also hire fund-raisers, grant writers, content writers, lobbyists, coordinators and community public relations specialists. In short, whatever a for-profit corporate entity needs to operate successfully is the same thing a non-profit may need.

As said previously, not all non-profits are the same. However, careful research and making inquiries of past/present employees may help you determine if a non-profit job is for you.

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