Updated February 4, 2022 | Staff Writers
Can I Make Money Working for a Nonprofit?
501 (c)(3) organizations, commonly known as 'nonprofits', work to improve society in some form, whether it be through charitable, educational, or religious means. While many are intrigued by these organizations because of employees' aligned goals with the organization to serve the common good, a certain rumor stands that because nonprofits are not meant to raise profit, employees aren't paid. This is a myth-- it is certainly possible for employees working for 501 (c)(3) foundations to be paid and there are often many opportunities available to those looking for a career in the service of others. Yet this, understandably, raises even more questions:
What Type of Jobs Can I Apply For?
There are many different opportunities available for all walks of life in not-for-profit organizations. Like any business, these organizations need all of the necessary sectors to function: marketing/public relations, writers, organizers, IT, web design. Additionally, 501 (c)(3)'s generally also have opportunities available for fundraisers, grant writers, and coordinators--jobs that help support the organization in a way that would not be common in for-profit businesses. The Balance's article about common nonprofit jobs outlines some examples of commonly needed 501(c)(3) openings.
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How Much Am I Going To Get Paid?
Those working for nonprofits shouldn't be expecting a huge pay-out, even after years of service to a chosen organization. Often, the organization can pay lower wages to employees (such as minimum wage) with the promise of giving back to the community. While most organizations don't pay competitively, 501 (c)(3) foundations are still bound by law to pay their employees, like other businesses. This article explains some of these complicated regulations in an easy-to-understand manner.
While these foundations probably won't make you, as an employee, rich, they often come with added benefits like flexible hours and generous time off for vacations and holidays.
Where Would I Find Non-Profit Career Opportunities?
Chances are, there are open organizations all over your community, both locally and nationally. A great place to start looking locally is on bulletin boards throughout your community. Many organizations also look for volunteers and encourage fundraisers, which are often supported by local businesses. Opportunities are also generally available through internet searches. You can try searching career websites, such as Indeed or even type your favorite cause into a search engine, such as Google. One popular place to search for non-profit job opportunities is Idealist. Even if you find a cause close to your heart but far from home, many organizations have remote opportunities available for the right person, especially those interested in writing and/or marketing.
What Is The Application Process Like?
The application process to work isn't as complicated as you might think. There may be additional screening or certifications needed for organizations with specific causes. For example, a mandated reporter training certificate might be necessary for an organization working with education. However, most organizations will be most interested in your personal and philanthropic goals and why you're looking for a career that isn't just an every day job. A great way to communicate your goals during the hiring process is to write a cover letter explaining any experience you may have and why the organization is important to you.
Making money working for a nonprofit and enjoying your career are not myths. Instead, these are wonderful organizations for employees not looking for a huge pay-day, but those who will appreciate flexible hours, a job they enjoy, and maybe extra vacation time along with standard pay.
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