Surprisingly, the nonprofit sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S.
According to recent reports published by PNP Staffing Group, the nonprofit sector has grown by 20 percent in the past 10 years, far outpacing for-profit industries, which have grown 2 to 3 percent in the past decade. Nonprofit employment has increased steadily since 2007 — and in some states, over 15 percent of the workforce is employed in the nonprofit sector.
Due to this rapid growth, many nonprofits are in high demand of working professionals with specialized skills from a wide range of backgrounds, including experience in technology, engineering, finance, healthcare, marketing and social media.
If you’ve ever wanted to make a move from the corporate world to working for a nonprofit, now is the perfect time to consider that change. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers at nonprofit establishments earn roughly $5 more per hour on average than employees at for-profit businesses. When you factor in health insurance benefits and retirement plans, nonprofit workers bring home over $7 more per hour than their for-profit counterparts.
For those seriously thinking about switching from the business world to an industry with a more philanthropic focus, here are five strong indicators that a career in the nonprofit sector is right for you:
1. You Understand The Differences Between The Corporate World And The Nonprofit Sector
You might have to take a pay cut to work at a nonprofit — While many nonprofits pay well, someone in a high-earning corporate position may have to lower their salary expectations when looking for a position at a nonprofit. Many people who choose to work for a nonprofit often decide that the non-monetary benefits outweigh the lower salary they receive, like making a difference in the world, giving back to their local communities and improving the lives of those less fortunate.
The work environment at a nonprofit can be frustrating at times — People who worked in the corporate world may find themselves annoyed with all the bureaucracy and red tape that comes with running a nonprofit. At these organizations, measuring results is different than the metrics used at a traditional company. Corporations evaluate their success by looking at sales and profits: nonprofits often assess their progress differently.
2. You’re Looking To Diversify And Take On New Challenges
Working at a nonprofit allows you to stretch and grow quickly — Many nonprofits need a bigger staff, but lack the funding to hire a large number of team members. As a result, those working at a nonprofit must wear many different hats, which can be a chance to learn new skills and become an expert in multiple areas.
Nonprofits offer an array of leadership and management opportunities — Employees at nonprofits are often able to rapidly advance up the ladder by taking on leadership and management roles, even after only a few years in the nonprofit sector. At these organizations, the workplace structure is less hierarchical. Mid-level employees work closely with the top executives, which can lead to one-on-one training and mentorship programs.
3. You Feel Passionate About Making A Difference
Believing in an organization’s mission is key to working in the nonprofit industry — Knowing that the effort you put in every day does make an impact is one of the main reasons people choose to work at a nonprofit. In addition to passion, these organizations are often looking for people with “soft skills,” as in those who demonstrate a self-starter attitude, can make a long-term commitment and display genuine authenticity in their work lives.
A nonprofit career can give you greater job satisfaction — For those employed in the nonprofit sector, working for the organization makes work meaningful and purposeful, which can be hard to find at a corporate job. Employee engagement is often the number one thing companies struggle with. Nonprofit work helps professionals stay motivated and focus on the organization’s mission over small setbacks or daily workplace annoyances.
4. You Have The Business Skills Many Nonprofits Need Right Now
Nonprofits welcome employees with a business or corporate background — Many of the skills you acquire when working at a for-profit company are easily transferable to the nonprofit sector. These organizations are always looking for candidates with leadership and management skills, experience working in operations and a strong knowledge of technology and social media.
Organizations are increasingly looking for entrepreneurs — The fast-paced environment of a startup can mirror the challenges and obstacles that nonprofits also face, such as constantly trying to acquire new funding, finding new solutions to old problems, and having team members take on more than one role or responsibility. Organizations are now working to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit at their nonprofit as a way to attract more ambitious team members to their ranks.
5. You Enjoy Working In A Creative and Learning-Focused Environment
Nonprofits allow employees to flex their creative muscle — Organizations are often working with limited budgets and big dreams to accomplish, which gives team members the ability to get creative and come up with innovative strategies to fulfill their mission. Many nonprofits have discovered new ways to tackle ongoing issues, like the Hollaback! Organization, which created a blog and a mobile app to fight street harassment that now operates in 62 cities and 25 countries.
A nonprofit career is great for lifelong learners — More and more businesses are making a move from a traditional company to a learning organization, and this includes nonprofits. Recent surveys have revealed that roughly 48 percent of nonprofits offer some level of tuition reimbursement, which encourages employees to further their education and never stop learning, even while on the job.
Get Ahead In The Nonprofit Sector
Vail Centre offers comprehensive educational opportunities for those currently employed in the nonprofit realm. Distinguished professors from top-rated colleges and universities are flown into the Vail Centre campus to teach three-day or weeklong seminar courses that target the hospitality industry and help individuals advance their leadership skills.
Our upcoming Nonprofit Management Certificate Program, offered by Duke University, will run June 25-30 and is open to nonprofit leaders with 2+ years of management experience. For more information, register here or contact Todd Wallis at [email protected]