A recent study revealed that one out of every 12 Americans works in a nonprofit organization. The nonprofit arena has been one of the fastest growing areas of business over the past ten years. Why are so many people spending so much of their time and energy on nonprofits? And why might you want to do the same?
To do good
Probably the most common reason people join a nonprofit is to leave a mark, in a good way, on the world. Nonprofits support all sorts of public services, from medical care and feeding the hungry to presenting free public concerts and funding artistic endeavors, and it brings joy to know that you helped create that goodness in the world.
For experience and training
As a member of a nonprofit (especially a small one), you will likely fill a number of roles. For example, if you're involved in publicity, you could have a hand not only in writing ad and newsletter copy, but also in the layout of flyers and mailers, the graphic design of print and online ads, and marketing research. Each new facet that you're involved in provides opportunities for you to learn new skills or hone the ones you already have.
To help land a job in the for-profit sector
Although you should never join a nonprofit just for this reason, belonging to a nonprofit can help you land your dream job. In addition to the experiences and extra training, you also get to add the experience to your resume, which gives potential employers an idea about the kind of caring person you are.
Consider also that, in a for-profit enterprise, you might rarely see the company's CEO. But that CEO might also hold a position on the board of your nonprofit, which gives you the opportunity to show that CEO your stuff and to establish some networking possibilities.
Simply to enjoy working
Nonprofit organizations normally enjoy a laid-back, low-pressure atmosphere. You'll also find a passion for the organization's goals that you might not find in the for-profit sector. Put these together and you have a great place to work and some great, passionate people to work with.
Many retiring baby boomers are discovering nonprofits as a way to keep busy and to do something they love, but without all the pressure. Nonprofits also allow retirees to leave a legacy for their families and their communities.
For the money — NOT!
It's true that a job in a nonprofit generally doesn't pay as much as a comparable position in a for-profit company, but working for a nonprofit doesn't mean sacrificing your economic health. Millions of volunteer positions are available in the nonprofit sector, but not all positions are filled by volunteers. Nonprofit organizations, especially larger ones with a national or international scope, have lots of positions that can pay $30,000 to over $90,000 a year. To many people, though, the lower income is nothing compared to the personal joy of working for a nonprofit organization.