Friday, April 29, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/29/2011

Well, today was the Royal Wedding; did anybody actually wake up at 4 AM to see it?  I was kind of curious, but there isn't much that is going to get me up at that time.  In honor of the wedding, I am only going to post British nonprofit job links!....Just kidding.

  • 'How to Engage Your Community on Twitter'-Looking to work as a social media expert at a nonprofit organization?  Check out this article, it gives some great tips on how to get the most out of Twitter for your business.
  • There will be a nonprofit career fair at DePaul University on May 12.  If you are interested in attending, it runs from 11 AM-3 PM in the Lincoln Park Student Center.  Get networking, people!
  • 'How Mature Is Your Nonprofit's Social Media Practice?'-Beth's Blog is one of the premier blogs about nonprofits on the Internet, and this post shows why.  Once again, if you are interested in doing social media work for nonprofits, this is a must read.

More Job Searching Tips for College Graduates

About a month or so ago, I posted some job searching tips that recent college graduates could use to find a good non profit job.  Today, I wanted to go back to that subject, because there is no doubt that recent college graduates (especially those who have no previous work experience) have some of the hardest times finding work.  In my last post, my job search tips mostly focused on things you could do to make yourself more marketable (finding internships, etc).  This time, my advice will focus on how to make your job search more efficient.

First off, if you only follow one tip here this is the one you should: get in contact with your college's job placement services.  All colleges or universities, no matter how big or small, will have a employment service that will help you match up with companies (in this case, you will be wanting to look for nonprofits).  A lot of times, these will be jobs that have had alumni from your college work there in the past.  So chances are, they will be familiar with your school.  As a college graduate, you will need all the help you can, so you shouldn't think you are "too cool" to get assistance from your university.  You have a great resource at your disposal in your college's employment placement program: use it.

Next, you need to make sure you know what you want.  This sounds simple enough, but too many college grads go into their job search with only a vague idea of what they want to do.  Your major may be a guide in figuring this out, but it's not the whole equation.  Yes, you may have studied English during your time at school, but that doesn't necessarily mean you want to write for a living; perhaps you enjoy editing more.  Or maybe you want to be a professor.  Before you start your job search, it is imperative that you sit down and decide exactly what it is you enjoy most about your area of study.  Once you figure that out, you will be ready to narrow your career path down to a number of different jobs.

Finally, remember to keep a running list of all the organizations you applied to.  You don't want to waste time and apply to the same place twice, even if it's a different job.  Believe it or not, it's easier than you think to forget which jobs you applied to.

So with these job search tips, your new life looking for jobs should become a lot easier.  It may still not be a walk in the park, but it will sure be a little less stressful. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/28/2011

I wanted to take this time to say that The NonProfit Times sends its condolences to everybody that has been affected by the terrible storms that have been ravaging the south.  Our thoughts are with you.  On that sad note, here are the links for today...

  • 'Career Change Guide'-Here's another article from  This is a particularly pertinent article for nonprofit job seekers, as many people who enter the nonprofit sector have come from a different field.  This article lists the variety of different industries you can choose from, and gives various statistics about those careers.
  • Public Measures Blog-This is a new blog set up by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.  If you are looking for some good reading on the role of government in nonprofits, this should be atop your reading list.
  • 'Changing Personas'-This is a good post on how both people and organizations need to constantly adapt to changing environments.  The main point here is that no nonprofit or individual can survive by constantly acting the same.  Very good advice, especially in these challenging times.

Workplace Conflicts: Tips From Experts

Let's face it, if you work at a company long enough, you are going to have problems with your co-workers.  These arguments could be something as little as a person having an annoying habit, or they could be as big as being offended by a comment at a board meeting.  Whatever the disagreement ends up being, workplace conflicts end up taking a huge amount of time from a manage.  In fact, according to The Exchange: A Bold and Proven Approach to Resolving Workplace Conflict, a book on workplace conflict resolution by Steven Dinkin (along with co-authors Barbara Filner and Lisa Maxwell), conflicts in the office take up 42% of a manager's time.  This can create a huge dent in the productivity of your organization.  So how exactly can a nonprofit manager handle these conflicts so that they are a resolved in a timely manner? According to Dinkin and his co-authors, the key to resolving workplace conflict involves four steps:
  1. Start with an icebreaker: While the authors of The Exchange say that being honest with the situation is an important part of the conflict resolution process, they also say that managers can't just start out the process with bringing up the issue.  The reason for this is simple: the individuals involved will only focus on defending themselves and attacking the other person.  Instead, a simple icebreaker is the best place to start.  The authors say that the best icebreaker will bring up something that is both work-related and positive.  For example, if the individuals involved in the workplace conflict are working on a project together, the manager can ask them how they came to work together.
  2. Listen: Seems obvious, right?  But too often, managers are too focused on handling the situation that they don't realize that what they don't say is sometimes the most important.  By listening carefully to what both parties are saying, the manager will send the message that they are genuinely concerned about the issue, and are determined to handle it fairly.  And really, it makes sense.  I remember having a conflict with one of my co-workers at a previous job, and the manager wouldn't let us get a word in.  Luckily, our conflict wasn't a big issue, but we both felt like the manager wasn't interested in what we were saying.  But the key here is for the manager to understand both sides of the story.
  3. Use and encourage positive language: This also seems obvious, but it can be easy to get negative when it comes to these kinds of situations.  The manager should explain how this issue is affecting the organization's productivity in a way that shows understanding and patience.  Here is the example that Dinkin uses: "This has increasingly affected the entire team, and we need to address it so we can get everyone focused back on the project goals and having a comfortable working environment. I am looking forward to establishing a good working relationship between the two of you and improving morale for everyone on the team."
  4. Work Towards SMART Solutions: Time for acronyms!  Dinkin and his co-authors created this handy one to help work out these conflicts:
"Specific: Be clear about who will do what, when, where, and how.

Measurable: Be clear about how you will all be able to tell that something has been done, achieved, or completed.

Achievable: Make sure that whatever solution you agree on fits the situation; that it complies with both the law and organizational policy; that everyone involved has the ability and opportunity to do what is required of them. Don’t set up anyone to fail.

Realistic: Check calendar dates for holidays and vacations; look at past performance to predict future actions; allow extra time for glitches and delays; don’t assume that the best-case scenarios will come true.

Timed: Create reasonable deadlines or target dates; include a few ideas about what to do if something unexpected occurs; be willing to set new dates if necessary."

I found that these tips from The Exchange were very helpful.  As the old saying goes, "time is money," and this especially true at a nonprofit organization.  So if you are a manager at a nonprofit, you should take this tips to heart.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Take the NonProfit Times' 2011 Salary Survey

Cross posted from The NonProfit Times Blog...

Does your nonprofit organization want to be involved in The NonProfit Times' 2011 Salary and Benefits Survey?  Well here's some good news: you can start participating today!  All you have to do is visit the 2011 Salary Survey site and finish the survey before June 1, 2011.  And here's an added bonus for you quick workers: if you complete your survey by May 23, 2011, you will be entered to win a $500 donation to your organization or any other organization of your choice!  Here are the features of this year's survey:

* Convenient and flexible survey completion – Complete the online survey questionnaire at your own pace and schedule.

* Comprehensive job coverage – The survey collects base salary and bonus pay information on more than 300 nonprofit specific positions.

* Easy and accurate position matching – Match the positions within your organization to the survey using the intuitive job family groupings and position job descriptions.

* Ongoing assistance whenever you need it- Contact us by phone or email if you need help completing the survey, or use the handy online resources for instant results.

* Complete information about benefits practices – The survey gathers information about benefit offerings, costs, eligibility and employee participation for 94 employee benefits from health insurance to retirement plans.

* Organizational profile information – The questionnaire collects data on budget size, employee turnover, salary increases, employee tenure, staffing levels, geographic location, field of work, and number of employees.

Results of the survey will be delievered to participants by August 2011.  So what are you waiting for?  Have your nonprofit be a part of this year's salary survey today!

Nonprofit Hiring Tips: Employee Screening

Here's another hiring tip I wrote for The Nonprofit Jobseeker:

We have written extensively in the past about hiring tips for employers at nonprofits, and hopefully those have been helpful. There are some more tips, however, that we did not touch on that are important for employers to know. Specifically, we want to talk about employee screening. Whenever you receive a resume from a potential employee, they will often provide references in addition. These are often job references; contact information from people he/she worked with at their previous jobs. Even if everything on the resume and cover letter you get seems legit, it is always a good idea to double check with previous employers (with whatever information you can get, more on that in a bit). There are also specific cases that crop up during the selection process that call for immediate screening. Let's go over some of those:
  • When going over an employee resume, pay close attention to the amount of time he/she spent at their previous jobs. In this tough economic climate, it is common for companies to lay off employees, but if you see a pattern of the employee not staying at their jobs long, you should try and do some background checking to find out why. Unfortunately, previous employers are not obligated to give you certain information; as a matter of fact, there are laws against it. In this case, you need to really pay attention to details. You may be able to ask about the individual's work habits at the company, for example. Or you can call the candidate in for an interview, and see what kind of impression you get from him/her.
  • By the way, you should definitely make sure to request references in your job description. This will help to weed out applicants who may be "dead weight," because they will not want to give job references if they have a spotty employment record.
  • Use employee screening services to check the background of the prospective employee. Long gaps in employment can be a potential red flag, though this can often be explained by the individual updating their education or a result of the recent recession. But once again, it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Be on the look out for overlaps in the employee's job history. While this could be the result of a simple typing error, it could also mean the candidate is not being honest about his/her history. Again, this is a good opportunity to contact the employers the candidate claimed to work at and confirm their employment history.
  • Employee screening doesn't always involve contacting references and doing background checks. You can also screen your candidates by comparing their resume to the job description you posted; do their skills match with what was asked for? If you get to the point where you interview a candidate, pay close attention to their personality. They may have all the right skills for the job, but will they mesh with the other employees? Group cohesion is part of what makes a nonprofit function at the highest level.
If you take this simple steps to screen your job candidates, you will find that your organization will have a better pool of individuals to choose from. And when the time comes to hire one of them, you will be as sure as you can that that you are hiring an employee that will add a lot to your not for profit.

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/27/2011

Slowly but surely, we are heading towards May.  Will all the "April Showers" we have gotten lead to "May Flowers?"  I guess we'll have to wait and see.  It's sort of hard to believe that we will only be a month away from potential summer weather in a week, but it's the truth.  Anyway, here are today's links...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/26/2011

Here are the interesting links I have found for today...

  • 'Career Fair Success Plan'-This is a good article about how to best prepare for a career fair.  It is helpful for those who are planning one as well as those who are attending them.
  • '5 Time Management Tips For Busy Nonprofit Executives'-This is for any nonprofit executives that may be, by chance, reading this blog.  I always believed time management was the most underrated skill for any employee to have.
  • 'When Positive Thinking Is Not Enough'-I am a big believer in positive thinking when it comes to the job search.  But it is true that it can only get you so far.  This is a good post on concrete actions you can take to make your search more successful.

Fundraising Jobs: Some More Details

In fundraising, it's all about the Benjamin's

Yesterday, I talked about the kind of nonprofit careers that are most popular among job seekers.  One of those that I mentioned were fundraising jobs.  I realized that there are some misconceptions about this kind of non profit work that I wanted to clear up.  And in doing that, I can also give you a better idea of what fundraising entails. 

First off, let's get one thing straight: working in fundraising doesn't mean you are going to be on a phone all day begging random people for money; it's much more than that.  In this article from, Gabrielle Mellett, of Earth Justice, says that it has more to do with forming "partnerships with people who then have an incredible opportunity to make a real difference."  In lamen's terms, a good fundraiser is going to be forming strong relationships with potential donors.  In other words, these are not one time contacts; these are individuals you will get to know very well, and it ends up being very satisfying if you accomplish your goals.

In my previous post, I mentioned that one of the jobs in fundraising is a Director of Development.  Another example of a fundraising career you can pursue is a Major Gifts Officer.  In this job, it is your responsibility to identify major donors (i.e. corporations or other big name donors) that are willing to donate large sums of cash to your organization.  You would also be in charge of planning fundraising activities that these donors would be able to participate in.  Although the Forbes article I referenced before is from 2009, it lists Major Gifts Officers as one of the more sought after fundraising careers. But if the listings on non profit job boards are any indication, it is still a position in high demand.  It's also a position that pays a good amount of money, with salaries up to $70,000 (according to The NonProfit Times' 2010 Salary and Benefits Report).

So are you interested in a career in fundraising?  If you haven't studied it before, many post-graduate programs at Universities offer courses in finance and fundraising.  And before you pursue this kind of career, you should make sure you are comfortable dealing with people, and have excellent verbal, writing, and listening skills.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/25/2011

So Easter has come and gone once again, and so too have all the chocolate bunnies that come with it.  Quite a shame, I know.  Once you get over that fact, check out the non profit job links I have collected for today.

What are the Most Popular Nonprofit Jobs?

If you are reading this blog, then you are obviously interested in finding nonprofit jobs.  Of course, there are many types of jobs in the nonprofit sector, all of which provide a diverse range of work.  I can't tell you exactly which non profit work will be the best for you, obviously; but I can tell you some of the most popular jobs in the nonprofit world.  For your information, this information was taken from The NonProfit Times' 2010 Salary and Benefits Report.

  • Fundraising jobs are particularly prominent with nonprofits.  This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as fundraising is a huge part of the success of any nonprofit organization.  If you have good people skills, are well versed in mathematics, or have had any success in raising money in the past, this is the type of non profit job you should consider applying for.  The kind of jobs in this field include Development Director positions.  The Development Director is in charge of developing fundraising strategies, among other duties. 
  • Philanthropy jobs are also very popular among nonprofit job seekers.  Giving is another big part of any nonprofit, and it is also one of the things that attracts people to work for them in the first place; the opportunity to do work that helps improve the lives of others is a big draw.  While browsing non profit jobs, you may notice many job titles related to philanthropy, including Annual Giving Director.  These positions are responsible for the giving programs that the nonprofit runs, like telemarketing and direct mail programs.
  • Like any company, marketing is very important for nonprofits.  As such, you will find tons of marketing jobs while browsing a non profit job board.  Marketing Coordinator is one job that you will often run into.  Under the supervision of supervisors, you would help run the nonprofit's various marketing campaigns.  You would also be responsible with coming up with marketing proposals.
  • Finally, you should expect to see a decent amount of grant-making positions.  Creating grant proposals is a huge part of the funding for the various projects a not for profit organization will undertake, so if you are a skilled writer with a good sense for numbers, this is a position you should consider.
Hopefully, this gave you a good sense of the kind of nonprofit jobs you will encounter during your job search.  There are plenty other types of jobs, of course, but these are some of the more prominent types of positions you will encounter at a non profit.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: Earth Day Edition

Happy Earth Day everybody!  Hope everybody is treating the planet right on it's special day.  Hope everyone has a good Easter weekend as well.

  • 'Green Careers in Honor of Your Mother...Earth'-In honor of Earth Day 2011, why not look at some "green" nonprofit jobs.  This article from Bucknell University's career blog gives advise on how to break into the ever evolving green industry.
  • 'Geen Jobs Steadily Growing'-Want more proof that green jobs are becoming more and more popular?  Check out this artice from Rhodes College.  If you actually studed environmental sciences in college, congratulations: you might actually have a leg up on the competition!
  • 'Making Your Nonprofit Fundraising Event Eco-Friendly'-Good suggestions on making nonprofit fundraisers more friendly to the environment.  Good suggestions to keep in mind for the nonprofit employees that might be reading this blog.  Plus, it's good information to suggest to your superiors when you job seekers are eventually hired by a non profit.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/21/2011

I hope everybody enjoyed the latest webcast of The NonProfit Times TV yesterday; remember that a new one comes out every two weeks!  Now, to get back on topic, here are the links I gathered up for this nice Spring day...

  • Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog-Occasionally, some of the links I will provide here are not a specific article, but an entire blog; this is the case right here.  This is a great resource for how to best apply social media to nonprofits.  Check it out if you are hoping to work with social media in your profession.
  • Marketing for Nonprofits-Here's another great nonprofit blog, but this is one is focused on marketing.  Marketing is a big part of any industry, but the nonprofit sector relies on it a lot.  If you have even some interest in marketing, it's a career that offers a lot of opportunities in the nonprofit sector.
  • '3 Ways to Be Prepared For When a Golden Career Opportunity Slaps You in the Face'-Yeah, a long title, but this is a fantastic article.  It's written by Rosetta Thurman (who I mentioned before), and it starts out with a great little story that gives you the perfect example of what you should not do when a nonprofit career opportunity presents itself.  I couldn't have written this any better. 

Interview Dress Code: What's Too Much?

It's time to take another look at that job interview.  By now we've talked about how to prepare for it, nail it, and even things you shouldn't say.  Today, I want to take some time to talk about another important aspect of the interview: dress code.  By now, you should probably know the all important phrase "dress for success" but what exactly does that mean?  Obviously we know that you should not, under any circumstance, go to a job interview for a non profit job dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt, but is it possible to dress up too much?  That's a hard question to answer, really, so the best advice I can give when thinking about your interview dress code is to go very conservative.

While it sounds reasonable, it may also seem a bit strange.  After all, don't you want to stand out to the interviewer?  Well, yes, but you want to stand out with your job skills, not your fashion sense.  Remember (like it or not), a person's first impression of you is going to be the one that is most likely to last.  If you come into the interview dressed in flashy colors, it might seem like you are trying too hard to stand out which in turn could make you seem a bit desperate.  Besides, if you do get the job, chances are that is not the type of attire they will want you to wear.

So what, exactly, should you wear for your job interview?  Well, that depends on your gender.  Here's a typical dress code for men:

  • A dark colored suit
  • Long-sleeved button-down shirt
  • A belt (even if you don't think you need one)
  • Dark socks
  • Dress shoes
  • A tie is always a good bet.  You probably shouldn't wear that dinosaur tie you have, though...
  • Shave!  Even if you are planning on growing a beard, you don't want to look scruffy.
  • Stand clear of aftershave and cologne
And here's the interview dress code for women:

  • Dark colored dress-suit
  • Matching dress-skirt
  • A coordinated blouse
  • Conservative shoes (avoid crazy high-heels)
  • Avoid distracting jewelery
  • Light make-up
So there you have it, that is the typical dress code you should have for a job interview.  If you come in this attire for your interview, you will definitely be dressed for success.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/20/2011

Before I get on to the links, I want to let everyone know that the newest webcast of The NonProfit Times TV is out.  Check it out if you have the chance.  If you don't want to watch all of the videos, you should visit our TV blog, which has full summaries of each of the stories.  Anyway, on with the job links...

Job Keywords: Catching the Eyes of Hiring Managers

You might not know this, but a lot of times Hiring Managers at non profits won't even read your resume.  Now before you get all outraged, don't worry: your resume will eventually get read, but only if it makes its way through a keyword scanning application.  That's right, many organizations will scan resumes through this program for keywords the are looking for.  Don't believe me?  Check out this article from Reader's Digest that details some of the "secrets" of HR professionals.

If you are going to get your resume read by the non profit you applied to, you are going to have to load up your resume with job keywords.  What is a job keyword?  Well to put it simply, they are words that reflect the particular skills the organization is looking for.  If these key words don't show up in your resume, there is a good chance you won't even be considered for an interview.  So if you want to find the right key words for your resume, here are some things you need to do:

  • First of all, you should go directly to the job description of the position you applied to.  Scan through it, and pick out some of the words they use to describe the position and find ways to insert them into your resume; the more the better.
  • Obviously, you can't just put them in at random, you are going to have to make sure they fit in the context they are put in.
  • You can also search for other non profit jobs similar to the one you applied to, and see if there is common language used between them.  If there is, you should try and fit those keywords into your resume.
  • If possible, you should try and get help from recruitment experts to see if the key words used for your resume are appropriate.  It's always important to get input, so try and see if you can get some before you send out your resume.
It may seem slightly wrong that perfectly qualified candidates are turned down just because they don't include these job keywords, but it is a fact we have to deal with in today's society. And of course, not all nonprofit organizations use these keyword programs, but it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your job search.  So before you submit your resume, make sure to follow these tips.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Improve Your Interview Body Language

Did you know that even if you rehearse all the answers for questions at a job interview you might not still be completely prepared?  Making sure you say the right things is tremendously important, but you also need to make sure you are saying those same things with your body language.  This may sound simple enough, but having proper interview body language involves more than just not slouching in your chair.  Even the simplest of gestures can turn a successful job interview upside down.  With this in mind, here are some body language tips to help you nail that non profit interview:
  • Avoid fidgeting at all costs.  As someone who is prone to this, I can say that this is definitely one of the hardest body language faux pas to avoid, but I can also attest that it is possible, even when you are nervous.  The best way to do this is to keep your hands in a relaxed state, either by resting them on your lap or on the table.  You could also do something to keep your hands occupied, such as holding your resume, or using hand gestures.  However...
  • Don't over do the hand gestures.  Using gestures to emphasize your points is effective, but you don't want to overwhelm the interviewer, either.  In other words, don't flail around with your hands; keep your gestures relaxed and slow.
  • While you don't want to slouch in your chair, you don't want to look too rigid either.  If you look like you are sitting up too straight, it can actually send a signal that you are nervous.  The key here is to be relaxed.  Do some breathing exercises before the interview to help this.
  • Convey interest with your facial expressions.  Even if your interviewer is remarkably boring, you are going to have to at least pretend that he/she is engaging.  Smile at appropriate moments; it may even help to take notes on certain things they say.  Whatever you do, don't just stare out into space, or right through the interviewer.
  • Speaking of which, don't nod too much.  If something the interviewer says makes sense, you can do this but just do it in moderation.  You don't want to look like a bobble head, do you?
  • If you have an itch, do your best to avoid scratching.  It's distracting and it can sort of look like fidgeting; especially if it's on your face.  If the itch is getting so bad as to distract you, you should probably do something about it, but don't make it too obvious.
And that's all I have for you for today.  Of course, there are many other techniques to improve your interview body language, so feel free to share any tips you have.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/18/2011

Another week, another collection of links to help you find non profit work.  Let's see what I have in store for you this week...

  • 'Are You Organized During Your Job Search'-Here's a fantastic piece of writing From Nonprofit Coach blog.  You know, keeping organized is one of the most important things for a nonprofit job search, but it's often understated.  Follow these tips, and you will find your search will go much smoother.
  • 'New Roles In and Out of the Nonprofit Field'-This is an interesting article about how some nonprofit executives feel a lot of stress in their work; so much that there are many that leave their jobs.  So why would I post this?  Well according to this article, most nonprofit executives do not stray far from non profit work.

Think You Have Enough Career Skills? You Probably Don't

One of the things you will learn while progressing through today's job market is that the wider variety of career skills you have, the better chance you will have in getting work. This is particuarly true in the case of not for profit jobs, where you will often be required to wear multiple "hats."  So while you might think that what you studied in college gives you all the skills you need for the kind of work you want, it not always enough.

To help your career skills development in today's day and age, I would suggest one particular path: web development (and this is not just because this is the secondary path that I took).  There may be no skill that is more important to have today than some basic HTML knowledge.  Even if you aren't interested in getting into the nitty-gritty world of Javascript, you should at least consider taking some basic HTML courses.  Most local colleges offer these courses, so it shouldn't be hard for you to find one.  Like most of the business world, nonprofits are quickly taking advantage of all the things the Internet has to offer by expanding their websites, and jumping into the social media arena, so brushing up on your skills in web deveopment can do nothing but improve your chances of landing a non profit job.

If you have even just a basic knowledge of HTML, you will be even more attractive to not for profits.  Yes, it may not be what you studied in school for 4+ years, but you have to do everything you can these days to get a leg up in a compeitive job market.  Of course, this isn't the only career skill you can develop; I would recommend researching the kind of different skills that some of the top non profits are looking for, and consider taking continuing education courses in those subjects as well.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/15/2011

Here are today's non profit job links...


Non Profits Set to Hire More in 2011

Cross posted from the NPTimes Blog...

Yesterday, the 2011 National Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey was released and the results were clear: nonprofit organizations plan to hire more aggressively this year, after a 2010 that saw a quarter of non profits cut positions.  In even more good news, turnover rate for nonprofits is expected to be very low, with responding organizations calculated it at 13%; in 2010 it was 21%.

Here are some more highlights from the report, which does contain some cautionary notes despite the optimistic news:

  • Although 84% of not for profits thought HR is pivotal to the success of their organizations, only 52% don't have a dedicated HR professional.
  • Despite the popularity of technology like social media, most nonprofits are still using newspapers and networking to recruit job candidates
  • Lisa Brown Morton,CEO of Nonprofit HR Solutions (which co-sponsored the survey), cautioned for nonprofits to prepare for higher than normal turnover rates, despite the optimistic news on that front.  She said that because many nonprofit staff are being asked to "do more with less," there is a chance that could lead to a surge in turnover rates in late 2011.
  • She goes on to urge non profits to focus on retention strategies.
More than 450 nonprofit executives and Human Resources people participated in the survey.  If you want to see the full results of this survey, download it for free at Nonprofit HR Solutions' website.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/14/2011

Guess like the weather decided to cooperate today: it's absolutely beautiful today in New Jersey; something that we couldn't say for most of this week (and the past few weeks, for that matter).  Of course, it's supposed to rain again this weekend, so I guess we have to enjoy this while it lasts.  Anyway, here are today's non profit job links...

  • 'My First Nonprofit Job'-A nice little story from The Nonprofit Consultant blog.  Also gives you a good idea how much volunteering can help you can get started in the non profit sector (yes, I'm harping on this a lot, but it's true).
  • There's going to be a Nonprofit Career Conference in San Francisco on June 16th.  It will be held at 5:00 PM, although the exact location has yet to be announced.  If you live in the bay area, you should check this out.  Keep an eye out on OpportunityKnocks for more information about the conference.

Non Profit Job Salary and Benefits

Believe it or not, non profits don't pay in
Monopoly money
One of the biggest myths about working in nonprofit organizations is that you are destined to live a life of poverty.  Many people think that just because they are not built for the sole purpose of making money, that there is no chance a non profit could offer a salary that could compete with a for-profit job.  While it's true that you may not get the kind of bonuses or stock options you could get at a big corporation, a typical non profit salary is actually very comparable to that of a typical job in the for-profit sector. 

For example, working as a Chief Development Officer at a successful non profit could earn you as much as $100,000 a year.  And according to Simply Hired, the average entry level salary for a non profit job is $42,000.  So while you may be leaving some hefty bonuses on the table by working at a non profit, you certainly will be earning more than a respectable living (and by the way, non profit jobs do provide opportunities for bonuses, they just might not be as outrageous as those at for-profit jobs).

In addition to earning a very good salary, nonprofit organizations often have some really good perks and benefits.  There are plenty of exciting non profit events and conferences that even just staffers will get to attend, as well as fundraising dinners.  What about retirement plans?  Well believe it or not, these are quite similar to the standard 401(k) plan you would get at a for-profit, with some small differences.  For instance, according to, the 401(b) plan involves less contributions from the employer, and is also simpler to manage.  Still, 401(b) plans still allow employees to elect to have some of their salaries set aside for pre-tax purposes, as well as the other standard 401(k) benefits. 

So as you can see, non profit benefits can not only be similar to for-profit jobs, but can also have some added perks as well.  So if salary and benefit concerns were holding you back from pursuing a non profit job, you can safely put those concerns aside and pursue the job of your dreams.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/13/2011

It's that time again: time to provide you lucky folks with links to help you find quality non profit work.  I hope you have all been gaining a lot of traction out of these articles I find.  Anyway, here's what I rounded up for today...

  • 'Nonprofit Work: 10 Myths'-This article from The Case Foundation (a fantastic organization, by the way), tackles some of the prevailing myths.  Among the most important to read, in my opinion, is myth #1; which takes down the idea that you will live a life of poverty by working at nonprofit organizations.  I also like that they shoot down the myth that making money in the nonprofit sector is frowned upon.  That's something that way too many people believe.
  • 'The Advantages of Working for a Non-Profit Over a For-Profit'-Too often we hear about why working at a for-profit company has many more advantages over working n the nonprofit sector.  This article by Fundraising Ideas gives us some reasons why the opposite is true.  A very good read, put this at the top of your list.
  • 'Student's Nonprofit Work Pays it Forward'-This article from The South End, Wayne State University's official campus paper, tells a charming story of a student from the school who worked with Blakstone LaunchPad to set up a nonprofit program to help combat unemployment in Detroit.  For you up-and-coming nonprofit entrepreneurs, this is a good article to read of a true success story.

Want a Non Profit Job? Consider Volunteering First

It's National Volunteer Week 2011, so I today I thought it would be appropriate to talk about just how important volunteering is to getting a non profit job.  Yes, it is true that you might be able to break into the nonprofit sector with no volunteer experience, but there is no doubt that it will greatly improve your chances.

It might be hard to consider doing volunteer work when what you really want is to get started on full time employment at a non profit organization.  But what you have to realize is that the things you will be doing while volunteering will be a huge boon to your efforts.  Nonprofit managers will scan every resume they receive for certain keywords, and volunteering is one that will really stand out for them, especially if it's for a highly thought of volunteer organization.  Any volunteering you have done in the past is relevant, so even if you haven't worked at this place in a few years, you should include it in your resume.

So where do you start?  First of all, you will want to have an idea of what kind of nonprofit organization you want to work for.  If you want to, say, work at Save the Children, you are going to want to do volunteer work that will involve helping children; as a matter of fact, you might be able to do volunteer work with the organization itself.  What you might not realize is that most non profits have ample opportunities for volunteering, so you should inquire with the organization you want to work for.  If they don't, then you are going to want to search for volunteer organizations that do work similar to the nonprofit you want to work at.

As I said before, it is certainly possible to get a non profit job without volunteer experience.  This is especially true if you worked in the for-profit sector before.  Kerry Hannon, a financial expert who writes for Forbes, says you should seek out nonprofits that are looking for help on the business end.  But if you have little work experience (i.e. you are just out college), then you really need to consider doing volunteer work to get a leg up on the competition.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Recruiting Tips for Employers

Although this blog is mainly for those looking for nonprofit jobs, I think it can be useful for employers as well.  With that in mind, I wanted to direct everybody to some recruiting tips (both original and from other resources) that I just recently put up at our nonprofit job board, The Nonprofit Jobseeker.

Hiring employees can be as trying a task as job seeking, so it is imperative that employers know techniques to pick out the best candidates for their positions.  And for you, the nonprofit job seeker, it can be helpful for you to look at some of these "insider" tips to get a better idea of how nonprofits might go about selecting new employees.  Now I'm not a hiring expert, obviously, so the majority of the information I write is gathered from professionals on that subject.  As such, you know you will be getting accurate information on the hiring process.

I'm going to try and put up new hiring tips everyday, so check there often to see what you can learn about how non profit jobs are filled.

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/12/2011

If you live in the New York-New Jersey area, you are probably as tired of the rain as I am.  Seriously, I know "April showers bring May flowers," but can't we just have one week off from wet weather?  Now that I have that out of the way, here are today's links...

  • 'The Top 5 Job Seeker Mistakes'-Are you having trouble with your nonprofit job search?  It's not always something you are doing wrong, but there are plenty of mistakes job seekers make when looking for non-profit jobs.  This article from Jobs for Change goes over five of these common errors, and how you can avoid them.  Pay particular attention to #5: it's definitely key to ask for help if you need it.  Too often people try to be macho and go it alone.

When to Walk Away From Your First Job Offer

Picture this: while you are waiting to hear back from your dream job, you get a call for an interview for another nonprofit job.  You go into the interview knowing that even if you really want that dream job, you have to take what you can get.  But still, you are not expecting to be given a job offer after the first interview.  And that's when it happens: after the interview is done, the manager tells you he wants to offer you the position.  You are in shock, and aren't sure how to respond.  What do you do?

This is a scenario that happens very often to job seekers, and it is indeed hard to come up with an answer on the fly.  Luckily for you, I have some tips to help you decide whether or not to accept that first job offer. 

First of all, in this situation I would always ask for a day to think over the situation.  In most cases (with a few extreme exceptions), it is best not to make decisions without weighing the pros and cons; this is especially true when it comes to job offers.  During this period, you should identify anything about this position that is a potential deal breaker.  Are the hours too restraining?  Does the salary leave something to be desired?  Next, you need to analyze the results from your job search thus far.  If you turn down this job, are you confident a new opportunity will present itself soon after?  No matter how bad the position seems, you might want to consider taking it if you haven't had too much luck so far searching for non profit jobs.

Of course, you can go through all the pros and cons of the job offer you have received and still find that you can't make a decision.  In this situation, you need to dig a little deeper.  Research the organization some more; do they seem like they are on the rise or on the way down?  If you have an opportunity to work at an up-and-coming not-for-profit, you should take it even if it's not the job you have always dreamed of.  At the end of the day, however, the most important advice you can listen to is your gut.  If there is something inside of you that says you should definitely work at this company (or vice-versa), then you should go with it.  All decisions have their downsides and, ultimately, you are going to have to take the good with the bad.  If the decision ends up being a bad one, at least you have gained some valuable nonprofit experience.  Plus, you will have an even better idea of what you can or cannot do.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nonproft Career Round-Up: National Volunteer Week 2011 Edition

Hope everybody had a nice weekend.  Did you know that it is National Volunteer Week starting today?  That's right, from April 11-16, we are honoring all the great volunteers in this country.  It's also a good time to start volunteering yourself.  With that in mind, are today's links...

  • 'Connecting With Your Roots in Volunteerism'-This is a wonderful post about the wonderful experiences you can gain through volunteerism.  This is a must read and, as a former volunteer myself, I can attest to what the author writes about.  I often reconnect with the organizations I volunteered with; you can really make connections that last a lifetime.
  • Volunteer Maryland-This is the official blog for Volunteer Maryland, and it contains great posts on the value of volunteering, specifically focusing on AmeriCorps.  A good read if you are looking to go down that path.
  • Trollwood Performing Arts School-If you are passionate about the performing arts, you should consider volunteering at Trollwood.  In the particular post I have linked to, you can read about one of the volunteers there, Julie Snortland.  It will give you a great idea of what it is like to volunteer there.  And when you are done reading, there is information at the end of how to sign up to be a volunteer at Trollwood School.

Do You Need a Master's Degree to Get a Nonprofit Job?

The short answer to this question is no: you don't need a Master's Degree to get a nonprofit job.  The long(er) answer is no, but it can certainly help your chances if you are wanting to stand out from the crowd.  Besides, Masters Degree jobs can be a lot more appealing in terms of your long term career goals.  If you are willing to put the time (and money) in, getting a Masters Degree will make you an even more attractive candidate for nonprofit organizations.  As an added bonus, the kind of jobs Masters Degrees can get you tend to be a bit more glamorous than those you would get with a Bachelor's Degree.  So if you are interested in taking this next step, here are some Master's Degrees you should consider:

  • MBA: Master’s of Business Administration: Students who complete this kind of Master's Program are being actively recruited by nonprofit organizations as they look to measure the impact their programs are having.  Generally, this particular program lasts about two years and you will most likely be required to take an MCAT or GRE with your application.  However, the work is well worth it, as nonprofit careers with this degree often lead to jobs as a marketing director, financial officer, or a business manager.

  • MPA: Master’s of Public Administration: If you are interested in managing employees or projects at a nonprofit, this is the Masters Degree for you, as this program is usually affiliated with courses in Nonprofit Management.  Like Business Administration, this program lasts about two years and requires you to take a GRE. 

  • MPP: Master’s of Public Policy: This kind of Masters Degree is ideal if you want to manage and lead in public service.  Again, this program lasts two years and you will need to take a GRE test.  At the end of the program, you will have developed strong administrative and leadership skills necessary for managing public affairs at a nonprofit.
As you can see, Masters Degree offer great opportunities to get the best nonprofit jobs out there.  Even if you are not able to earn these degrees, I would at least recommend taking Certificate Courses in Nonprofit Management.  Many schools are adding such programs, so inquire with your local universities.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/8/2011

Happy Friday everyone!  And no, I'm not referring to that horrible Rebecca Black song.  Anyway, here are the links for today...

  • '6 Ways to Rock Your Noprofit Career'-This blog post from theYoung Nonprofit Professionls Network of Detroit contains advice is essential for you recent college grads out there.  All of this information is from Rosetta Thurman, a well known nonprofit career coach, who spoke at the YNPN 2011 conference, so you should take this stuff to heart.
  • Non-Profit Organizations Job Fair at UCLA-Really not much to ad to this.  If you go to UCLA or live near there, attend this nonprofit career fair on April 11th from 10 AM til 2:00 PM. 

What Not to Say at a Nonprofit Job Interview

Today we're going to things a little differently.  Usually, the articles on this blog are focused on things you should do in order to get a non-profit job.  Today, I'm going to focus on things you could do that could potentially sabotage any chance to land that goal.  Specifically, I'm going to focus on a tragic disease that affects millions of job-seeking Americans everyday: foot-in-mouth disease. 

Picture this: you've finally landed that job interview at a fabulous nonprofit organization.  You've done all the preparation needed; you're pretty confident about this.  But then the first interview question comes: "So why did you leave your last job?"  Thinking you're just being honest, you say "My last boss was horrible, and he never listened to anything I said."  Congratulations, you've more than likely sank any chance of landing the job!

It may not seem like it, but employers listen very carefully to the interview answers you give.  In fact, one in artful answer is all it takes to hurt your chances of starting your nonprofit career.  I will now list a few job interview questions you might hear, and answers that you should not under any circumstances give:

Question: I see you have had a lot of different jobs in your career.  Why is this?

Answer: Most of the jobs I worked at bored me. 

Why this is a bad answer: You should always accentuate the positive in a job interview.  Maybe this answer is true, but it's not something that a nonprofit organization (or any company, for that matter) wants to hear.  Say something like your goals had been changing, but that you are now ready for a permanent career.

Question: What is your biggest weakness.

Answer: You proceed to rattle off  long list of all the things you are bad at.

Why this is a bad answer: All you need to do for this question is admit one, minor weakness and what you are doing to improve in that area.  We are all human, and we all have a lot of problems; there is no need to give a laundry list of your problems.

Question: What are your career goals?

Answer: I want to earn as much money as possible.

Why this is a bad answer: Simply put, no organization is going to hire someone who is just in it for the money.  This is a common question, because employers want to see whether the individual's goals match up with their company, so you want to give an answer that will satisfy them in this regard.

So those are the examples I have for you today.  I think the one pattern you can see with these bad job interview answers is that they are all brutally honest.  Obviously you don't want to lie to an interviewer, but you also shouldn't say anything that would hurt your chances for the job.  Yes, you might really need the money, but truthfully that shouldn't be the only reason you want to work at a nonprofit anyway, so there are much better answers to give that will be both truthful and helpful to your career chances.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/7/2011

It's almost the weekend are you excited?  Hopefully you have made some good progress with your non profit job search with the tips I have provided.  Anyway, here are today's links...

Start With the Man in the Mirror: Updating Your Job Search Methods

"I'm starting with the man in the mirror"
-Michael Jackson

Yes, nothing like a quote from an MJ song to get your attention.  But believe it or not, I actually have a point by using that song.

Whenever we get rejected from a potential job, it is natural to blame the company rather than questioning ourselves.  You put so much effort into your job hunt, there is no way it could be your fault, right?  When you continue to see no progress, however, it becomes a little less easy to put the blame on others.  It's at this point where you need to take a step back and evaluate your job search process.

I'll give you an example from my own experience.  I had just ended an internship at a start-up company I was working at.  I would have stayed there, but there was no room for advancement, so I was starting to look for new work.  Unfortunately, all the jobs I had applied to before the internship ended (if you know you are going to leave a job, start looking for work before you leave!) wouldn't get back to me.  After a while, I realized there must be something off-puting about the image I was projecting of myself during my job hunting.  So I went back to my previous boss and asked him to look at my resume and to give me general job advice.  This is when he was able to give me all of the resume tips I have shared with you.  Basically, I realize that the resume that I had was just not up to snuff: it was too generic, not customized enough, and full of useless information.  After he worked with me on an extensive resume update, I was able to see an immediate difference.  Jobs I applied to started to get back to me, and I got tons of interviews.  Eventually, I got the job I have currently at The NonProfit Times.

So the moral of the story here is that if you are starting to see a negative pattern in your job hunting methods, you really need to get some outside help to see if you are doing anything wrong.  You might be surprised to see how a few small corrections in your process can make a huge difference.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/6/2011

Another day, another batch of helpful nonprofit job links for you.  Here are today's recommendations...

  • 'Seven Tips for Techies in a Nonprofit Job Interview'-This article is from NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network), and as the title implies, it is geared towards those who are interested in the technology side of nonprofits.  So if you want to, say, get a job as a webmaster at a non-profit organization, this is a good article for you to read.
  • 'The Wild Woman's Guide to Fundrasing'-Before you ask, yes, this link is safe for work.  Maureen Anderson, a nonprofit career expert, has recently written a book on fundraising as a career.  Why is this interesting to you?  Well, you can submit her questions that will be asked on a radio show broadcast on the link I provided.  Here's your chance to ask any burning questions you might have about fundraising!
  • 'Nonprofit Offers International Teaching Jobs in Asia'-Many people I know have decided to take teaching jobs overseas after they graduated college, so I decided to pass along this link I found about that very subject.  Greenheart Travel, a division of the nonprofit organization Center for Cultural Interchange, has announced that it is looking for applicants for teaching jobs in Asian countries.  These countries include China, Taiwan, and South Korea.   I haven't ever done teaching abroad, but everyone I talk to tells me it is a life changing experience, so it's worth taking a look at.

Job Searching Without Overwhelming

Your desk should not look like this
It is really true that the job search is just like having a job.  If I had been paid for all the time I spent on online job boards when I was unemployed, I probably could have made a pretty decent living for myself.  Unfortunately, that is not yet a career so we are stuck doing a rather unfun activity in the hope that we actually find a well paying non-profit job.  But just because you are treating your nonprofit job search like a job does not mean you should over do it.

This may sound like a bit of a contradiction to what I have said in the past, but it really isn't.  While it is true that you need to put a lot of effort into looking for work, there is such a thing as putting too much effort in.  Let me explain this to you by giving an example from my own experiences.  When I first got out of college, I spent almost all of my free time looking for work.  I would apply to almost every job I saw that interested me, and by the end of the day I was mentally exhausted from writing resumes and cover letters.  You should also keep in mind that this was at the height of the Great Recession, so to see all the hard work I put in not even lead to a single interview was even more deflating. 

So what I am saying here, basically, is that when your mind tells you "that's enough" you should listen.  Job seeking is annoying enough, and if you do it too much as to make yourself despise it, then it will make it that much harder to find a job at a not-for-profit.  I'm not saying that you will wake up every morning totally excited to hit the job sites and networking events, but it will make it a little easier if you are not overwhelming yourself with the work involved.  And really, that's how your non-profit job search should be.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 4/5/2011

Since I talked about nonprofit internships today, I thought I would find links today that had to do with that subject.  So without further ado...

  • 'The Top 10 Nonprofit Internships'-This is a list from The Nonprofit Quarterly that, as the title suggests, ranks the top 10 nonprofit internships in the past year.  These are organizations that you should definitely be taking a look at during your search.
  • 'Nonprofit Internships'-This is a short postfrom Georgia Tech's blog that provides links to places to find great nonprofit internships.
  • The Far North Dallas Advocate-Do you live in Dallas, TX?  Then read this article, because it provides information on Texas nonprofits that are offering paid Summer internships.  The article provides a link of how to apply for these opportunities.

Create Your Own Nonprofit Internship

In these challenging times, it is especially hard for college students and recent graduates to find work in the nonprofit sector.  Even though the economy is recovering, the field is still very competitive to the point where it can be hard to make yourself stand out as a young professional trying to establish a nonprofit career.  I have talked in the past about the importance of looking for nonprofit internships as an alternative to a paid position.  A lot of times, you can find great internships or co-ops by searching through non-profit job boards, but sometimes these opportunities can be created by making a simple call.

It may not be a particularly comfortable experience, but you should seriously consider getting a list of popular nonprofit organizations in your area and just giving them a call to offer your services as an unpaid intern.  Even if these organizations might not have a position listed online, it doesn't mean they don't have use for some free labor.  The truth of the matter is that nonprofits (especially up-and-coming ones) are always in need of help.  This help may not always be glamorous, but it often will lead you to a nonprofit job if you do a good job and make a great impressio on your co-workers.  Even if you call up and find out the organization doesn't need any help, make it a point to give them your name and contact information, as you never know when the next opportunity will arise.  And I know I mention this a lot, but taking initiative is one of the most impressive things you can do.

Now, before you make the phone call, it's a good idea to create a little script of what you want to say (thogh try and memorize it before you call, so you don't sound stilted).  It should be no more than a 60 second blurb describing your interests and skills; just something to give the employer an idea of what you can do.  Also, make sure that you are directed to someone in Human Resources as they will know better than a secretary whether there are any internship opportunities available.  And remember, the most important thing is to sound confident.  It's a little nervewracking doing what really amounts to a cold-call, but confidence breeds success.  And with any luck, you will have landed yourself a chance at a nonprofit internship or co-op.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round Up-4/4/2011

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.  I also wanted to remind everyone to follow our twitter account @nptjobs.  It gives you the latest nonprofit jobs from our job board, The Nonprofit Jobseeker.  Now that that's out of the way, here are the links for today...

The NonProfit Times Announces New Subscription Pricing

Just a quick note about the company I work at, The NonProfit Times...

The Nonprofit Times, the leading publication for nonprofit organizations, has announced a new pricing options to subscribe to the print and digital editions of their publication. Depending on which option you choose, the annual price for a subscription will be $19.95 to $111.95. The breakdown in pricing is as follows:

-Subscribe to the print edition of The NonProfit Times for one year for $49.95. A two year subscription is $79.99, and a three year plan is $99.99
-Get the digital edition for one year for $19.95. A two year subscription is $29.95, and a three year plan is $39.95
-Get both a print and digital subscription for one year for $59.95. A two year subscription is $99.95, and a three year plan is $111.95

Whichever option you choose, you will be getting all the news and information The NonProfit Times provides for a very low price. Each issue touches subjects that affect every nonprofit organization, such as current nonprofit news, business tips, and the latest nonprofit jobs. Subscribe today at
About The NonProfit Times: Founded in 1989, The Nonprofit Times is one of the leading publications on the nonprofit sector in the United States. The latest nonprofit news can always be viewed online at

201 Littleton Road - 2nd Floor
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Tel: (973)-401-0202
Fax: (973)-401-0404

A Different Type of Job Interview

We've discussed the nonprofit job interview in great length already, but today I want to talk about a different kind of job interview: the informational interview.  What is it exactly?  Well, it's just like a normal job interview but with less pressure and here's the kicker: you are doing the questioning, for the most part.

A lot of times during the nonprofit job search process, we rely on learning about nonprofit jobs by browsing job boards and then submitting our resume and cover letter for consideration.  There's nothing wrong with this, of course, but there are ways to go the extra mile that will really impress the organization; and this is where the informational interview comes in.  Many nonprofits that are offering jobs are usually willing to grant these kinds of job interviews; all you have to do is ask.  Of course, this is where contacts you have gained from networking will help, because if they know someone at the organization, they can help you find the appropriate person to contact.

So what is going to happen at an informational interview?  Well, as the title implies, you are going to be getting more information about the available job.  You should prepare at least ten questions to ask the interviewer, and you should also bring your resume and cover letter (even if you have already submitted it) to hand in.  That way, they will have all the information about you in front of them.

Just because the informational interview is a little less stressful, it doesn't mean it is any less formal, however.  You should dress as you normally would at a regular nonprofit job interview, and conduct yourself the same way.  You should also be sure to attempt to build a strong rapport with the interviewer; the more he/she remembers you, the better chance you will have in being offered a position.  And of course, after the interview you should write a thank you note to express your gratitude.

Anyone have any experience with informational interviews?  I'd love to hear your stories!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up-April Fools Edition

No, none of these links are April Fools Day jokes.  You're just going to have to trust me on this one.  Anyway, here's the links for today...

  • Nonprofit Marketing Blog-This isn't a particular article I'm linking to, this is just a great nonprofit blog by Nancy Schwartz, President of Nancy Schwartz & Company and nonprofit marketing expert.  If that is a field you are interested, you must put this blog on the top of your reading list.
  • 'When is a Nonprofit Not a Nonprofit?'-This article from the Nonprofit University Blog contains a hilarious picture and a good definition of what makes a nonprofit a nonprofit; and not, as the author says, a "quasi-government agency" (i.e. does the organization get most of its funding from the government or donors?).  There is some great background information in this article, which will help you expand your nonprofit knowledge base.
  • 'Grant Writing Tips'-There is always a high demand for grant writers in nonprofits, so you should take a look at this article from Business Action.  This isn't a step-by-step guide or anything, but it gives you a good idea of what you need to do to prepare your grant proposal letter.  In other words, this is a good first site to look at to get an idea of what grant letters are all about.

Preparing For Networking

I just posted about the nonprofit career event at Notre Dame, so this is an ideal time to talk about some of the things you will need to do to make sure you shine brightly if you decide to go to it (or any event like it, for that matter).

For one thing, you should bring copies of your resume.  As for which resume you bring, that will be a tricky question, as you obviously aren't going to know the representatives from the various nonprofits that might be there (though if this is a career fair, you might have a better idea of that).  If I were to make a recommendation, however, I would bring the resume you base all your various revisions off of.  You should give these to any nonprofit employees you talk to.

When you start your networking, you should almost treat it like a less formal interview.  What I mean by this is that both networking and nonprofit job interviews have the following thing in common: they both give the employee the chance to get to know who you are and what your skills are.  Really, the only real difference between networking and job interviews is that you aren't necessarily going to be talking about a specific position, and it is a bit more conversational than a job interview. 

If anything, networking events can be a little more stressful than job interviews.  You are going to not only be surrounded by many nonprofit reps, but many other individuals just like you; people wanting to break into the non profit sector. It's going to be hard not to feel a little competitive.  I remember at my first networking event, I felt like I had to out-do everybody; this is the worst thing you can do.  You should definitely do your best to impress, but not at the expense of acting like someone you are not.  All this will do is add extra stress and make you come off poorly.  Trust me, if you want to get a nonprofit job, you are going to want to be genuine.

So what should you talk about at a nonprofit networking event?  Well, it's really up to you, but you should certainly mention (if applicable) any nonprofit work you have done.  You should also mention what your previous job was and what about it lead you to pursue a nonprofit career.  But perhaps the most important thing you can do is get as much information from the representative you are talking to.  Does he/she know anybody you know in the industry?  Are there any job openings at their organization?  Any type of connection you get from this person will be extremely helpful to your job search.

Finally, talk to as many people as you can.  It's natural to feel a little exhausted after a few conversations but remember, you are at this event for your nonprofit career.  And there is no such thing as having enough connections, especially in the nonprofit world.

Calling All College Students: Nonprofit Career Event Coming to Notre Dame

I talk a lot about how important nonprofit networking events are; well, now's your chance to attend one if you go to the University of Notre Dame.  Apparently, the college will be holding a nonprofit career event on April 5th from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  The program, called “Making a Living Making a Difference," will be held in Geddes Hall and will give students and locals the chance to learn what it takes to work in the not-for-profit-sector.

The event is free, so there really is no excuse not to attend this event if you live in the area and are interested in nonprofit jobs.  Even if the speakers end up not interesting you, it's still a great opportunity to start doing some nonprofit networking.  Read more about the event in this article if you are interested in attending.