Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Doing Your Homework: Researching Non Profit Organizations

So now that you have decided to work for a nonprofit organization, it is time to start looking for the right job for you.  There are hundreds of thousands of NPOs out there, so it is essential that you know exactly the kind of nonprofit career you are looking for (i.e. are you more interested in marketing or management?).  Once you have this out of the way, you can begin researching non profit organizations in your area.  Now, even though you have significantly narrowed your search engine results down, you will still likely find that the amount of nonprofits that are hiring are still pretty overwhelming.  How on Earth are you supposed to know which one is right for you?  Well luckily for you, I have some simple questions you can ask yourself that will help you find the right NPO for you:

  1. Does your world view align with the organization you want to join?
  2. Is the organization the right size for you?
  3. This might seem obvious, but it isn't always thought about: does it seem like there will be a chance to move up in the NPO?
  4. Research the nonprofit work environment: does it seem like a friendly environment that you would thrive in?
If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, then you will most likely find that this is a non profit company that you will be comfortable working at.  As much as pay is important, comfort is even more so.  You can get what you think is the best nonprofit salary you can get, but if you don't ultimately like the place and people you work with, then you will be missing out on the best parts of working at a nonprofit: enjoying the work environment.  This is not to say that salary should not be a part of your decision.  We do live in a world where making money is necessary to your survival, so you have to make sure you are being compensated fairly for the work you did.  Still, you should put enjoyment of your work ahead of salary; with salary being your number two concern.  There is really nothing worse than dreading going to the place you work everyday for the forseeble future. 

So when you are researching potential not-for-profit job opportunities, make sure you go over these questions in your head.

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