Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Future Of Volunteerism And National Service

Cross-Posted From The NonProfit Times Blog

As you are probably aware, the Dec. 1 issue of The NonProfit Times was just released the other day.  Included in that issue was a special report entitled "2012: The End Of The World Or Nonprofit Renaissance?"  This report features six columns by major nonprofit personalities like Adrian Sargeant of the Center on Philanthropy and Ben Duda of AmeriCorps Alums. 

Duda, who works as executive director at the organization, wrote a piece about national service and volunteerism.  And sticking with the end of the world theme, he discussed what place they have in America in the future.  He argues that they will endure as long as citizens demand that they do.

AmeriCorps was kind enough to blog about the piece he wrote for us, which we are very grateful for.  You can read the entire article in his blog post, but here's an excerpt from it to whet your appetite:

I’m not buying the “end-of-days” hype. I’m fully confident the Mayan Calendar will join the list of dubious doom predictions, alongside Harold Camping’s end of the world timing in 1994 or May 21, 2011, no, wait, Oct. 21, 2011, the hysteria of the Y2K computer failures, and those classic National Enquirer cover stories from the supermarket checkout line. But since we’re talking predictions, here’s where I think we’re going as a sector and as a country.

There’s a new wave of critics on the value of national service, as the (Mayan) calendar turns to 2012, with some in the House of Representatives advancing a zero budget going forward for AmeriCorps. That is not a very good idea. Its not very good for our country, especially for a generation of young Americans who want to serve their nation, and who will one day lead this country.

Is it the end of the world? No, although it certainly feels like a re-run of a bad sitcom. National service will endure and we’ll be thankful it does as a generation of nonprofit leaders, elected officials, and entrepreneurs ascend with a common career arc that is rooted in volunteerism and defined by national service.

More than 700,000 Americans have served in AmeriCorps since 1994. For 1,700 hours in service to the country this year, a member gets $5,550 toward loan repayment or future education. That’s a good investment in our future workforce and future leaders. Best of all, it represents a $2.01 return in essential services for every federal dollar, nearly unmatched when analyzing government spending.

Nonprofit Job Titles

It always helps to know what you want.  This is especially true when looking for a job.  Before you start your job search, you should have a good idea of the kind of work you want to do.  There are countless positions in the nonprofit sector.  Knowing the various nonprofit job titles, and the roles they play, is a good first step to landing a quality job.

Let's get one thing clear: It's going to be next to impossible to memorize the descriptions for every job title you are interested in.  That's why you need to narrow it down to the possibilities that make the most sense for you.  You may be interested in a fundraising job, but it's highly unlikely you will land a high level position in that line of work if you are just graduating college.  What title would you hunt for this kind of position?  Here are some examples:

  • Major Gifts Officer-Will identify and cultivate major gift opportunities.  Often times will be responsible for writing donor briefings, special correspondence, and proposals.
  • Planned Giving Officer: This position is responsible for designing and implementing fundraising programs for planned giving.  They will also be in charge of handling deferred and insurance gifts.
Typically, any fundraising title below "director" is considered entry level.  You can do a Google search for "nonprofit job titles" to discover even more positions.  If you want to know even more about these jobs, such as how much they pay, I would recommend taking a look at The NonProfit Times' Salary and Benefits Report.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Facts About Fundraising Staff

Cross-Posted From The Nonprofit Jobseeker

Staff turnover is a fact of life for any nonprofit manager. A very costly fact of life. This is even more of an issue when it comes to fundraising staff. Not only is the work they do very valuable, but finding a replacement can be very difficult and expensive. And to add insult to injury, the time spent finding a replacement can be a prime period for fundraising opportunities. That's why it's so important to improve the retention of your fundraisers.

The NonProfit Times attended this year's Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference on Fundraising where Penelope Burk, president of Cygnus Applied Research, Inc., spoke on the topic of staff turnover. She said the key to retaining great fundraisers lies in knowing more about them. She shared some facts gathered through a survey of fundraising employees of nonprofits:
  • Why they chose a fundraising career. Most fundraisers entered the profession “accidentally” (i.e., through other work they were hired to do), rather than intentionally. Some take an opportunistic view, coming into the field as leverage to other jobs in the sector.
  • The profile of a loyal fundraiser (one who intends to stay). Key characteristics include a belief in the mission, having personal/family needs accommodated, being included/respected as an active participant in planning, creative discussion, working with a team.
  • Why fundraisers left their last position. Salary or increase in salary is always the primary reason why fundraisers left their last jobs or intend to leave the current one. Flexibility on salary plus offering benefits that fit the times is a first practical step to lengthening their tenure.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 11/28/2011

Hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!  I certainly did (though I hate much less than I thought I would).  Now that the holiday is over, it's time to get back to the job search.  Hopefully you've already found some good nonprofit jobs to apply to.  If not, here are some, directly from our career center:
  • Placement Specialist: This position, at Cultural Vistas, is located in Columbia, MD.  It's a part-time/entry level position, making it ideal for individuals just graduating college.  Among the accepted candidate's responsibilities are generating new leads for internship placement services using internet market research, managing a database of employers, and providing weekly status reports.  You should be willing to seek out educational workshops or other activities to develop your knowledge of of cultural exchange and administration.
  • Sr. Manager, Development Operations: Are you an expert in development with a strong passion for animals?  Then this position is right for you.  This job is for Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, UT.  This is a full-time job and the ideal candidate will have an extensive background in development, including an advanced knowledge of fundraising and grant seeking processes, procedures, and requirements.  This is NOT a position for someone just starting out in fundraising.
  • Medical Education Project Manager: The American Pharmacists Association in Washington, DC has an immediate need for a senior project manager.  To qualify for this position, you must have 4-6 years of experience in healthcare education.  In addition, you must have significant experience with online education.  Any accreditation experience is a plus.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: Thanksgiving Edition

Happy pre-Thanksgiving!  Hope that everybody has a great dinner.  We will be back next week with new posts on nonprofit jobs.  Until then, here are a couple of jobs to apply to before the festivities begin:

  • Social Worker/Bereavement Coordinator: Under the supervision of the Clinical Supervisor, the Bereavement Services Coordinator provides counseling and support to individuals, couples, families affected by loss of a loved-one. Conducts a biopsychosocial evaluation of the client, formulates a treatment plan and enlists the client's participation in the planning of treatment goals consistent with the client's needs and capacity.
  • Grant Development Specialist: WestCare Foundation seeks full time Grant Writer and Development Specialist. Person in this position is responsible for developing, preparing and submitting local, county, state, federal and private grants related to WestCare, a national behavioral health care organization, and all related entities. Person in this position will also perform written special projects as needed. Essential job functions include; research, grant development, proposal writing and grant team coordination; submission and compilation of grant proposals.

Writing A Nonprofit Resume

Nonprofits and for-profits seem like they couldn't be more different.  In reality, they are more similar than you think.  The current trend in the sector is for organizations to be run more like a traditional business.  That's why you are seeing more colleges offer degrees in nonprofit management

Differences do still remain, especially when it comes to the hiring process.  This is clearly illustrated when it comes to resume writing.  Although the basic idea is the same, nonprofits will be looking for slightly different attributes than a for-profit company.  If you really want to catch the eye of your favorite organization, you are going to need to know how to write the ideal nonprofit resume.

  • If you have previously worked in the for-profit sector, make sure you identify how your skills in that field can be adapted to the nonprofit world.  A great example of this can be found in this sample resume posted by Bridgestar.  Notice how the applicant emphasizes skills like marketing, management, and leadership?  These are all things that are useful for nonprofits.
  • Also note that the above resume separates the applicants nonprofit experience from her for-profit work.
  • Volunteer work is usually considered irrelevant when writing a resume for a standard corporation.  This is hardly the case for nonprofits.  If you have any experience volunteering, make sure you list it in your employment history.
  • The above applies if you have ever served on a board or committee before.
  • Make sure you remove any jargon that might be unfamiliar to those outside of the corporate bubble.  Your language should be professional, but you shouldn't use language that is only relevant to those in your previous field.  You will be dealing with many different backgrounds if you work in the nonprofit sector, so there is no need to try and impress people with your vocabulary.
  • You should emphasize your ability to do many different jobs.  Though it's not always the case, most nonprofits will not fill their employees into specialized roles.  This is especially true the smaller the organization is.
  • As I mentioned in the opening, you shouldn't hesitate to emphasize any business management experience you have. 
This might seem a little overwhelming, but you will soon find it's not a big deal to re-work your resume for the nonprofit sector.  They might be very different from for-profits, but they aren't so different that none of your previous skills won't be transferrable.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 11/22/2011

Here are today's top nonprofit jobs, including a new featured position:

  • Director of Development (FEATURED JOB): Supervise and train all Development Department personnel. Plan and manage all fund-raising campaigns and activities. Develop calendar and action plans for individual/corporate giving, grants, membership, direct mail and special events. Be responsible for overseeing the organization’s website and social media campaigns. Be responsible for overseeing use of Raisers Edge fundraising database.
  • Client Relations and Stewardship Manager: Uses judgment and acquired knowledge to determine appropriate action to take in response to all customer service requests related to subscriptions, donations and magazine distribution.  Manages the donor acknowledgement program, ensuring that all donors are properly acknowledged in a timely manner.  Manages the magazine’s relationship with several vendors and works within budgetary constraints to ensure that “thank you” gifts are ordered, packaged properly and distributed in a timely manner to donors.
  • Managing Director: The Managing Director will lead the efforts and work for the west coast out of the San Francisco office. He/ She will drive presence in the Bay Area to increase the impact of this growing firm. In addition to managing client relationships, he/she will lead business development, marketing, and operations. The successful candidate will develop local office culture and oversee a group of talented advisers and staff committed to Arabella’s entrepreneurial management style.

Nonprofit Jobs By State

There are so many factors that go into finding great nonprofit jobs.  Aside from the starting salary and relevance to your career skills, one of the most important of those factors is proximity to your current residence.  Most job seekers would have a lot of hesitation working for an organization that requires them to travel long distances; even if it's the job of their dreams.  Using The Nonprofit Jobseeker's Jobs By State Page, users can see the latest jobs in their area with only a click of their mouse.

Let's say you want to find a New York nonprofit job.  All you have to do is go to our dedicated NY nonprofit job page and you will see all of the most recent positions posted in that state.  The page is automatically updated with the latest jobs, so you can be sure you will be seeing a new job the second it is posted.

If our jobs by state page doesn't offer enough customization for you, the Nonprofit Jobseeker also allows users to filter search results by state.  This will show you all jobs in that area, including ones that might not be as recent.  Job hunters can also enter their zip code to make their search more specific.

We hope that you will enjoy using these features.  Feel free to leave any feedback.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Improving Fundraiser Retention

Cross-Posted From The Nonprofit Jobseeker

It's increasingly rare these days to find people who are not only successful at fundraising, but also have enthusiasm for it. That's why, if you hired someone with those traits, it's so important to do everything in your power to keep them. How do you go about improving fundraiser retention? It's a difficult task, no doubt, but it can be done.

The NonProfit Times attended this year's AFP International Conference on Fundraising. Speaking at that conference was Penelope Burke, president of Cygnus Applied Research, Inc. She had some ideas on how you can best go about keeping your most valuable fundraisers:
  • Be flexible on your salary and benefits. If they are that good at what they do, they deserve to be rewarded. Doing this also means you can be even more insistent on bottom-line results.
  • Allow your fundraisers to work independently. You should check in on them from time to time get updates on their progress, but make sure you are not breathing down their necks.
  • Value their input. Taking a suggestion to heart is one of the best things a nonprofit manager can do to show your employees that they are being listened to. It's also a great way to make them want to continue to work for you.
  • On a related note, make sure to publicly credit staff when they come up with a good idea.
  • Looking for a new senior fundraiser? Consider promoting from within rather than hiring a brand new employee. This will improve employee morale and eliminates the need for extensive orientation periods.

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 11/21/2011

We're only a few days away from Thanksgiving, so I thought I would put this out there: What are you thankful for this year?  Hopefully you will be able to add "finding a job" to your list by the time the holiday is over but until then, feel free to share what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Oh, and don't forget to check out these great nonprofit jobs:

  • Vice President, Client Services at SCA Direct, Inc. (FEATURED JOB): SCA Direct is looking for an experienced Vice President, Client Services to join our team in Fairfax, Virginia. This position is responsible for developing and managing teams that deliver superior account management and service to the client for the development of strong partnerships. The position will also manage and build this service area to include creating and articulating functional roles and expectations, hiring, training and managing staff, management of account profitability, staff allocation by client and developing management tools and standards.
  • Fundraising and Sponsorship Account Manager at Odell Simms & Lynch: A mid-sized consulting firm in Tysons Corner is seeking a full-time Account Manager to join the Fundraising and Sponsorship (F&S) Team, which works with a wide spectrum of national and local clients to raise critical funding for capital campaigns, programs, and general operating expenses. The ideal candidate for this position is a self-starter with solid experience in fundraising and sales. The Account Manager will work closely with other members of the F&S team and company executives to manage clients. The firm offers tremendous growth potential for the right candidate.
  • Associate Director at Global Impact: Global Impact, the campaign management organization for the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area (CFCNCA) is seeking an exceptional leader to serve as the Associate Director, CFCNCA. The CFCNCA reaches out to over 300,000 federal employees in the Washington, DC area, raises more funds for local charities than any other fundraising drive, and is the nation's largest CFC campaign.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 11/18/2011

Here are today's top nonprofit jobs:

  • Chief Executive Officer at Monadnock Family Services: The scope of responsibility of this CEO position includes: •Promoting high performance expectations in order to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives; •Directing and overseeing financial stewardship with an emphasis on providing efficient utilization of resources.
  • Care Manager/Foster Care at JFCS: The Care Manager provides direct service to foster children, their biological family and supervises the foster home placement. The social work associate provides service to maintain and improve the quality of life of clients and their families by providing supportive casework services, therapy (if needed) and referral to appropriate community resources. This position is located at the Progress Plaza office.
  • Director of Development at Confidential (FEATURED JOB): •Supervise and train all Development Department personnel. •Plan and manage all fund-raising campaigns and activities. •Develop calendar and action plans for individual/corporate giving, grants, membership, direct mail and special events. •Be responsible for overseeing the organization’s website and social media campaigns. •Be responsible for overseeing use of Raisers Edge fundraising database. •Be responsible for developing all marketing materials. •Assist development staff in identifying and cultivating prospective donors.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Can You Really Find The Perfect Job?

I often hear people talk about finding their "dream job" or the "perfect job," but do they really exist?  There are some jobs that appeal to our skills more than others, but it's a mistake to believe there's one job out there that is absolutely perfect for you.  Job seekers often make the mistake of devoting all of their time and effort to one job.  There's nothing wrong with putting a little more effort into the jobs that make the most sense to you, but you shouldn't be turning off other potential options for the sake of one job that you might not get. 

In most other decision making processes you have a plan B, so why should your job search be any different?  I speak from experience when I say that it can be very hard convincing yourself of this.  During my first job search after college, I came across a job that looked "perfect" to me in every possible way: It was relevant to my major, I had worked there before, it paid well, and it was a very short commute.  I thought there was no way I would not get that job, so I put little to no effort into the rest of my job search.  That left me at a huge disadvantage when I eventually learned I didn't get the job.  I could have had a number of potential back-up plans, but instead I had to start from scratch.

So do perfect jobs exist?  It really depends on who you talk to, but I'd argue they don't.  Every job is going to have its flaws.  You shouldn't just apply to jobs that are 100% of what you want; you'll never get anywhere with that attitude.  Apply for the jobs that suit your job skills the best, while keeping in mind that it may involve job functions you don't like as much.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 11/16/2011

Here are today's top nonprofit jobs, including a new featured job, for your job searching pleasure:

  • Church and Community Relations Manager at San Diego Rescue Mission (FEATURED JOB): Under the supervision of the Vice President of Development, responsible for the creation, management, presentation, association, and overall relationship between the Mission, churches, colleges, youth groups, and other groups, including coordinating and planning special events. Develops, coordinates and monitors overall fundraising strategy for solicitation and cultivation of these donor sub-groups.
  • Donor Communications Coordinator at World Wildlife Fund: World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization, seeks a Donor Communications Coordinator to help steward the organization’s annual giving donors ($1,000-$25,000). The Donor Communications Coordinator coordinates the implementation of the donor benefits programs (including products such as conference calls, and annual report and calendar mailings), manages acknowledgements for annual giving donors, coordinates the Development Resource Center, leads project tracking for the donor communications team, and provides administrative and communications support to the donor communications team.
  • Senior Director, Major Gifts and Planning at Saint Luke's Episcopal Health System: The Senior Director, Major Gifts and Gift Planning position offers a unique opportunity to join a “startup” development program at a major hospital system. This position requires an outcomes-driven, motivated self-starter and collaborator with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to build a major-gift and planned-giving program from the ground up. A passion for and experience in healthcare philanthropy will provide the foundation to work in collaboration with the senior development team to create a unique and transformational grateful patient program, maximizing strategic partnerships with medical staff and developing engagement opportunities for donor prospects.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Job Board Tips

Online job boards are a job seeker's main destination for finding high quality positions.  While wanted ads in the local paper still have their place, most people find it much easier to browse for work on the Internet.  But ease of use can often lead to careless mistakes that will set you back in your job search.  In order to get the most out of job boards, you should follow these tips:
  • Don't apply for jobs that are more than a couple of weeks old.  Employers can sometimes forget to take down jobs that have already been filled.  Besides, you have a better chance of hearing back about a job that has just recently been posted.
  • Ignore nationwide listings.  It's hard enough to get a job when everyone in your city is scrambling for it.  Think about how hard it will be when the whole country wants it.
  • Don't forget to post your resume to the board.  Sometimes job seekers wonder why this is necessary. After all, aren't you already attaching it to every job application you fill out?  Posting your resume allows employers who are members of the site to see your qualifications.  There's nothing wrong with having more exposure.
  • Update your profile weekly.  More activity equals better results.  Even if you don't have any new information to add, you can update your resume with new job keywords that will attract employers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 11/14/2011

After a nice, long weekend, it's time to get back to the job search.  Here are today's top nonprofit jobs to help you get back into your routine:

  • Membership Associate at Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (FEATURED JOB): Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) is a nonprofit, 501c3 membership organization whose mission is to build safe, healthy, drug-free communities.  (CADCA) trains and supports local grassroots groups, known as community  coalitions, in effective community problem-solving strategies, teaching them how to assess their local substance abuse-related problems and develop a comprehensive plan to address them.
  • Grant Project Director at South Orange County CCD: Under direction from the Vice President for Instruction or other administrator assigned by the President, the responsibility of this position is to plan, develop, organize, coordinate and direct the programs, services, operations and activities of the federally-funded grant project, according to the terms of the SOCCCD Board-approved federal grant program operating at the assigned college; manage project budget; prepare and distribute invoices and periodic and annual reports as required; ensure compliance with District and College policies and procedures and applicable State and federal laws and regulations; train, assign, supervise and evaluate the work of assigned staff; coordinate federal grant activities with the Orange County business community and education partners.
  • National Walk Manager at National Kidney Foundation: Individuals should have a Bachelor’s Degree and a minimum of 5 years job related experience in Walk Fund Raising including at least a $300,000+ walk event. Proven fund raising ability and excellent knowledge of walk fund raising industry and practices. Strong customer service skills and organizational skills. Must be flexible for overnight business travel which may include weekends (estimate 5-8 trips annually).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 11/10/2011

Just so you know, our offices will be closed tomorrow for Veteran's Day.  As such, there will be no blog posts until next Monday.  Until then, enjoy today's top nonprofit jobs.  Have a safe holiday weekend everybody!

  • Director of Major Gifts at Action for Boston Community Development, Inc: Establish and lead a high-performing major gift and planned giving program in order to develop effective strategies for donor engagement and solicitation of top prospects with a goal of raising one million dollars. Work closely with other development team members including the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Event Coordinator. Research, identify, and cultivate individual, corporate and foundation donors.
  • Programs Manager at USO: The Programs Manager will manage the daily center operations and programs for the USO in the San Francisco/Bay Area, CA, which includes the locations at San Francisco Airport, San Jose Airport and Travis Air Force Base; act as Deputy during absence of the Director (Note: We have three other positions in the USO posted as well.  Make sure to check them out.)
  • National Walk Manager at National Kidney Foundation: Individuals should have a Bachelor’s Degree and a minimum of 5 years job related experience in Walk Fund Raising including at least a $300,000+ walk event. Proven fund raising ability and excellent knowledge of walk fund raising industry and practices. Strong customer service skills and organizational skills. Must be flexible for overnight business travel which may include weekends (estimate 5-8 trips annually).

Dealing With Salary Requirements

iIt's the sentence that most job seekers dread seeing on a job posting: "Please include salary requirements in your cover letter."  Generally speaking, people have a pretty good idea of what they think they should be paid.  But that doesn't mean they are comfortable asking for what they think is a fair salary.  They would much rather get into that at a later date.  Unfortunately, there's no way to avoid the topic when it's required you include it in your cover letter.  If you are one of those individuals who is having cold feet about listing their desired salary, you'll be glad to know that there are ways to comply with the employer's request without providing a specific answer.

The biggest reason that job seekers are hesitant to list the salary they want is the fear of pricing themselves out of the job.  That's why it's important to do research about the type of salary someone typically earns in the position for which you are applying.  You can do this by reading salary surveys or asking your networking contacts.  If you have this information, it should be a lot less nerve-wracking to say what you really want.

It's still important to remain flexible when it comes to your salary requirements.  For example, you could say the following: "I have earned anywhere from $30,000 and $50,000 throughout my career.  Any salary within this range would be an acceptable starting point, though I am more than willing to negotiate this further with you."  See?  You've answered the employee's question honestly while leaving room for negotiation.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 11/09/2011

Can you believe we are only a few weeks away from Thanksgiving?  Hopefully you will all be able to list getting a job as something to be thankful for.  These three recent job postings to our career center will be a good start to making that a reality:

  • Manager, Public Health Communications at Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (FEATURED JOB): Manager in Public Health Communications to be an integral member of CADCA’s communications team, working to develop, document, implement and improve processes and tools that further CADCA’s communications goals. A primary project will be to manage CADCA’s work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a National Networks Dissemination grant, part of the Community Transformation Grants program. This job will require strong public health communications skills, public relations acumen and the ability to deliver results in a highly visible project working with federal, state and local partners. This position reports to the Vice President, Communications, Membership and IT.
  • VC for Development at Montana Tech: The VC/President establishes strong linkages with Tech’s faculty, staff, alumni, and students; generates meaningful relationships between the Butte community and Tech; discovers new contributors willing to form long-term partnerships with Tech; nurtures existing relationships between current contributors and Tech; and promotes appropriate recognition and appreciation of Tech’s supporters.
  • Assistant Director of Accounts Receivable at Bay Cove Human Services, Inc: Bay Cove Human Services is a private, not-for-profit corporation that provides a wide variety of services to individuals and their families who face the life-long challenges of developmental disabilities, aging, mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction. We have a wide variety of programs available to our clients including residential services, employment support, and day habilitation programs. Bay Cove's 1,400 highly trained employees serve more than 12,000 individuals and their families each year at more than 100 different program sites throughout Greater Boston and southeastern Massachusetts.

Evaluating A Job Offer

Just because you get a job offer from an organization doesn't mean you have to take it.  I know what you're thinking: How can you possibly say no to a job in this economy?  Shouldn't you just take what you can get?  These are all good points, but you don't want to immediately say yes before carefully evaluating the pros and cons of the offer.  The last thing you want to do is make a hasty decision that you will later regret.  Here are some of the key issues you should consider before making your decision.

Money Talks

It would be foolish to accept a job solely on the amount you are paid, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be a factor.  Weighing the money you will be paid doesn't make you greedy, it makes you smart.  Does the salary you are being offered match up with what other individuals in your field are being paid?  Is this an offer that will be enough to help you pay your bills?  These are all things that you need to keep in mind when considering a salary offer.  If you feel you are being given a raw deal, make sure to read my post about salary negotiations to help you get what you deserve.

Comfort Matters

Consider the culture of the organization you will potentially join.  Does it seem like a place you would be happy working?  Nobody likes waking up in the morning, but you shouldn't dread going to work.  Nonprofit work is hard enough without the stress of a bad work environment.  Ask if you can be shown around the office, and talk to some of the employees.

Perks and Benefits

Money isn't the only thing that can entice you towards accepting a job.  Are you being offered and acceptable amount of sick/vacation days?  Is the health insurance being offered acceptable?  You're not necessarily going to be told all of the details by the hiring manager, so request to get information about the kind of benefits you would get.  Too many employees don't know about this information until they've actually made the decision to join the organization.  Remember, it pays to be prepared.


These are just three of the things you should evaluate before deciding to accept or decline a job offer.  There are other issues you might want to consider, such as work hours or the commute, but these are the topics that carry the most weight.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Turning A Nonprofit Internship Into A Job

Cross posted from The Nonprofit Jobseeker

Nonprofit internships are ideal for people looking to break into the sector. They provide a great chance for individuals to get a better idea of what it's like to work at a not-for-profit by providing them with hands on experiences. There's only one problem: Internships often don't provide much income besides a stipend. Luckily for job seekers, a lot of organizations use internship programs as a way to scout potential full time employees. Here are some tips to help you make that happen:

  • Talk to everybody you meet at the organization. Successful work environments require you to have a positive attitude with everybody. Being friendly to your co-workers as an intern is not only the right thing to do, it will create a great lasting impression. You never know who you are going to impress.

  • Nothing is more impressive to prospective employers than an intern who always finds more work to do. Make it a point to go to your supervisor for more work when you are finished with whatever they assigned you. If they don't have anything for you at that time, keep yourself busy by reading organization literature.

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. It may be cliche, but the only stupid question is the one that's not asked. Look at it this way: Would you rather feel awkward asking a question that might seem obvious, or make a mistake because you were too anxious to ask?

  • The fact of life for all interns is that they will eventually be asked to do grunt work. Even though this work is tedious, it's important to remain enthusiastic. Your chances of being hired full time will sink significantly if all you do is mope. Nobody likes a moper.

  • Find a mentor! This can be anybody that works in the department you are looking to join. You will probably want this person to be your supervisor because you will be interacting with him/her the most. A good mentor will be someone who is willing to share their expertise and knowledge.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 11/07/2011

We have two new "featured jobs" in today's list of nonprofit positions.  Be sure to check them out, as they are the cream of the crop.

  • Director of Development at Planet Aid (FEATURED JOB): The Development Director works under the direction of the organizations President and the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Program Development and is part of a team of US Government Specialists, writers and designers.
  • VP of Program Services at National Benevolent Association (FEATURED JOB): The Vice President of Program Services is responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of program services related to health and social service ministries associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The position will provide support and linkage to affiliated and non-affiliated service providers recognized by the denomination. The position will give direction and guidance to affiliated agencies, and where appropriate, function as the supervisor of the CEO of these ministries.
  • Association Executive at Ulster County Board of Realtors: Association with over 600 members seeks an Executive to lead its organization and multiple listing service (MLS). Incumbent will report to two separate boards of directors. Knowledge of multiple listing service operations is a must; knowledge of REALTOR® Association professional standards processes and administration is required. Individual must have excellent oral communication skills to act as spokesperson for the organization and to build its public relations efforts in the community.

Minimizing Hiring Risks

Originally posted on Nonprofit Jobseeker

Every potential hire represents a risk to an organization. Even when a job candidate seems rock solid, there's always a chance it could backfire. The first step to becoming a successful nonprofit is accepting that there is only so much you can do to minimize hiring risks. You can't go into an interview only thinking about what can go wrong. As long as you practice the following guidelines, you will know that you have done as much as you can as an organization to prevent potential negative hires:
  • Make sure that the position description lists every task for which that employee will be responsible. This will ensure that the candidate is ready for every task that will come their way should they be hired.
  • Decide in advance what qualities will be enough to qualify a candidate. This makes the hiring process a lot smoother, and minimizes the chance you will hire someone who doesn't fit your standards.
  • While we're on the topic, don't disqualify candidates based on personal beliefs. You might think they will never find out that was the reason, but that is a risky chance to take.
  • Conduct a thorough background check of all of your candidates. Don't slack off on the screening process just because the individual seems perfect. Use the same screening tools for every candidate.
  • Make sure every member of your human resources department is well trained on all of the organization's hiring practices, and that they are aware of all risks involved.
  • When you check references, only ask the questions that you are allowed to ask the candidate. When in doubt, check the guidelines to see what questions you are allowed to ask.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 11/04/2011

The October jobs report came out today, and the results aren't that bad.  On first glance, the news doesn't seem that great.   The 80,000 jobs created last month were a sharp decline from previous months, indicating that the hiring rate has slowed.  Upon further examination, we also see that the unemployment rate fell from 9.1 to 9 percent.  A small decrease, yes, but a decrease nonetheless.  It is the lowest the rate has been since April.  Still, about 13.9 million Americans remained unemployed, and that is far too high.  But we do have to take whatever good news we get in this economy. 

Here are some of today's top nonprofit jobs to get you started:

  • Development Associate at Saratoga Performing Arts Center: The successful candidate will have a minimum of three years nonprofit fundraising experience including participation in a multi-million dollar fundraising and or capital campaign. Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to: development and management of membership/fundraising campaign; cultivation of prospective donors and major gifts, coordination with outside consultancy for creation of planned and estate giving program; maintenance of organization’s donor database; stewardship of high-level donors, grant research and writing.
  • Director of Talent Management at Kohls Group Consulting: The Director of Talent Management will provide leadership and management for all human resource functions and will collaborate with senior management and front line employees to ensure that Starr Commonwealth's approach to human resources is innovative, state of the art and positions Starr Commonwealth as a leader in talent management.
  • Director of Development at Birch Family Services: BA, five years fundraising experience required. Must be able to work in team environment, possess strong strategic planning skills and have the ability to lead the effort to tap the full potential of Birch’s donor prospect pool. Experience in the healthcare sector a plus.

For Resumes, Looks Matter

Whomever told you that looks don't matter is lying.  Well, at least if they told you that about resumes.  Creating a good looking resume doesn't mean you have to stud it with diamonds and spray it with perfume.  But it does need to look professional.

The first step to creating a professional resume is to stick with one style.  If you bold the name of one of the companies you worked for, bold them all.  It will make you look indecisive or disorganized if you constantly change your style.  This also applies to text fonts.  Picking the right font can be a tough decision. You want your resume to stand out, but you don't want it to look overly extravagant, either.  It all depends on what you are comfortable with, but I would recommend staying away from Times New Roman, the default font for Microsoft Word.  It doesn't look the best on-screen, which can make it a little difficult to read.  I would suggest using Georgia.  It's slightly larger than Times New Roman, which makes it a little easier on the eye.  Oh, and if you're thinking about using Comic Sans, think again. 

Readability is a key aspect of your resume.  We've already gone over how font can affect this, but line spacing plays a big role too.  You don't want to double space your text, that will take up too much space, but you will want to implement some spacing.  Without it, your readers' eyes will strain quickly.  The amount of space you will want to use will depend on which font you chose.  If you are using Georgia, increasing your line spacing to 14 points should do the trick.

One final thing you will want to do is to make your resume easy to skim.  Hiring managers have thousands of resumes to look over, so it's important to make all of the important information stand out.  That means taking advantage of bold and italics to highlight the most important aspects of your resume.  You can also implement some fancier techniques, such as implementing borders or shadings to your headers.

Resume design isn't exactly a high art form, but the way they look can have a big impact on how an organization views you as a candidate.  Keep this in mind during your job search.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 11/03/2011

The Labor Department will release the jobs numbers for October tomorrow morning.  Will a new month bring good or discouraging news for the economy?  We can only hope that we will see some positive growth numbers in the previous month.  Stay tuned.  In the mean time, here are today's top nonprofit jobs:

  • Director of Development at ACLU of Nevada: The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada seeks a dynamic Development Director primarily to coordinate fundraising programs. Based in Las Vegas, s/he reports to the Executive Director.
  • Project Consultant at JMT Consulting Group Inc (FEATURED JOB): JMT Consulting Group, a New York-based professional services firm dedicated to the nonprofit sector, is seeking an ambitious Project Consultant for financial management system implementations. The project consultant is responsible for delivering implementation services, training and support on the various financial management software platforms that JMT represents.
  • Manager of Member Engagement at Marketing Science Institute: This position will be responsible for developing and implementing a strategy for delivering value to existing MSI members though roundtables, social media, webinars, and other means. The position will work closely with MSI staff to formalize and implement on-boarding for MSI company members, and to create new forums to bring corporate members together with each other and with members of the academic community to explore issues of shared interest. The position is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Four Must-Have Skills For Fundraising Jobs

So you want to work in fundraising?  That's all well and good, but do you have the right qualifications?  Having a solid background in finance and numbers will help your cause, but nonprofits look for a wide variety of skills when choosing people for fundraising jobs.  Here are four skills that many organizations look for when going through potential fundraisers:

  • A strong background in technology: If you have a great understanding of computers, the Internet, and social media, it will greatly help your cause.  The Internet is an important frontier for fundraising, so using it to research new donors will be a great help to the organization.
  • Intellectual capacity beyond traditional book smarts: Being able to think outside the box to solve potential problems quickly is key.  The fundraising world will throw many different problems at you, so it's imperative to have great problem solving skills.
  • Communication: A great fundraiser will have excellent written and verbal skills.  You should be very comfortable selling the organization to potential donors.
  • Team Player: Fundraisers will often have to work independently, but they still need to be able to work efficiently with a team.  If you think that the donors you get are your property, fundraising probably isn't the right position for you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What Will Employers Ask Your Job References?

Most organizations require you to have at least three job references when submitting an application.  These can be former employers, teachers, or other professional references.  Have you ever wondered what questions they might be asked?  If you haven't, you should.  It's important to prep your references with the sort of questions they might be asked so they will know what to expect. put together a pretty good list of sample questions that might be asked to former employers, so let's take a look at some of those:

  • When did (name) work for your company? Could you confirm starting and ending employment dates? When did s/he leave the company?
  • Why did (name) leave the company?
  • What was her/his starting and ending salary?
  • What was her/his position? Can you describe the job responsibilities?
  • Did s/he get along well with management and co-workers?
These are pretty basic questions.  There are laws that govern what a former employer can disclose, so these are the questions most likely to be asked.  Be sure to give these questions to all of your professional references.  The more prepped they are, the better answers they will give to the employer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Taking Advantage Of College Job Placement Programs

We've already established that getting a job is hard these days, but the group that has had the most trouble are college graduates.  Their resumes do not often contain much work experience, so companies will often turn to candidates who are more seasoned.  This paints a grim picture for this large group, but there are some resources that graduates can use to get their first job out of college.

One of these resources is available in the university.  College graduates should not hesitate to take advantage of their school's job placement programs.  These programs often have connections with organizations that have employed alumni in the past, giving students a pretty good advantage.  They can also help with developing a first cover letter and resume, something that can be very stressful for first time job seekers.

I can't stress how important it is for graduates to use this important resource. It's hard enough getting your first job by yourself, and the worst mistake a college student can make is thinking they can do it all by themselves.  There's no shame in asking for a little help!