Nonprofit Careers for College Students

19 Jun 2020

Some people think that nonprofit careers pay poorly or do not pay at all, that all the workers in the industry are volunteers who work in the industry because they do not care about money and just want to help people for free, and that a career in the industry equals being poor and working hard just because you are a kind person. In fact, the nonprofit industry offers you career growth and salaries that are not worse than those offered by for-profit organizations. Nonprofit jobs occupy 10% of the private sector employment nationwide, so you can tell these are widespread jobs. Today, we are going to discuss some of the career opportunities in nonprofit organizations for the students, some of the hidden catches of these careers, and the way you can achieve success with help.

Degrees that May Help Your Nonprofit Career Growth

Though anyone can volunteer and become a member of a nonprofit organization to start a successful career in this industry, there are certain degrees that would surely aid you on your path. Here are just several directions you may go to start a nonprofit sector career and achieve some decent success right away.

  • Art and Culture
    This is a rather wide field, but depending on your specialization, you can apply for different types of volunteering programs. You can work at the museum, give art lessons to children, or be a special event coordinator as a volunteer. Being educated in arts and culture, you can apply for almost any volunteering program.
  • Education
    This one basically speaks for itself – you can be a volunteer teacher. You can be a tutor, coordinate some educational activities for kids, organize some cultural events, and just be an educator for children.
  • Environmental Sciences
    As the environmental sciences student, you can try to protect endangered species and ecosystems, become a part of the environmentalist organization, and do your best to save the planet. This is where you can put your knowledge and passion to good use.
  • Health Services
    Once again, this is a rather wide field, so your activities might depend on your specialization. You can engage in nursing volunteering, organize patients’ records, participate in administrative support, take care of elderly people, and do all the good things you want to do as a health service professional.
  • Communications
    If you are a communications specialist, you can help different organizations manage their public relations, coordinate some events involving large groups of people, manage events like mass blood donations, and run fundraising campaigns.
  • Public Administration
    This one is similar to communications as you can take part in administrating public events, organizing activities for the members of the organizations, and manage fundraising campaigns.
  • Urban Planning
    This one is the best way to start a career in organizations that work in improving the conditions of living in impoverished areas and deal with urban issues. A degree in this field focuses on the functioning of the city as a living and breathing environment, so it is perfect for solving urban issues.

Types of Nonprofit Organizations

Charitable Organizations 501 © (3)

This is the most common type of nonprofit, which may include educational, scientific, artistic, literary, religious, and other types of organizations. There are food donation banks, art galleries, sports leagues, low-income housing companies, animal protection organizations, museums, and many more. They are tax-deductible, and all of their funds come from donations.

Foundations

These usually function as the source of funding for other nonprofit organizations, and most of them focus on funding worthy charitable organizations to fund. These are usually created by wealthy people or as a means to commemorate remarkable individuals. Foundations get their money from wealthy individuals and businesses to later distribute the money among the worthy nonprofits.

Employee Associations, Civic Leagues, and Social Welfare Groups – 501 © (4)

These associations function mainly to help their members who are going through rough times. The idea is that the members of the organization donate money or work for the organization, and if the time comes for them to ask for help, the association will aid them. A couple of good examples are veteran associations or retired police officer associations across the country.

Social and Recreational Groups – 501 © (7)

Social and recreational groups are kind of clubs for people united by similar interests. This might be anything from a reading club to a golf club, and the idea is that people participate in the group to relax, indulge in some pleasant activities, and socialize.

Employee Associations 501 © (9)

These groups are meant to provide help to the employees and their dependents in case of illness or any other unfortunate event that incapacitates a particular way, preventing them from making money. This kind of association is especially popular among police officers, firefighters, and other specialists whose work is associated with integral risks.

Areas of Volunteer Work Students Can Participate In

In most cases, students do not get full-time jobs, so the best you can expect is part-time volunteering at some organization that hires volunteers. Also, you should not expect to make much money either because, in most cases, students involved in volunteer work, which means that they would not get any money. Sometimes, you can expect some benefits life discounts at certain places or whatnot. The area of your volunteering endeavour might depend on your area of interest or your major. As we discussed above, different degrees would pair well with different types of organizations, so you should take that into consideration.

The most common areas of volunteering for students are:

  • Schools
  • Special Education Programs
  • Museums
  • Health Care Facilities
  • Foster
  • Elderly Care

These are just some of the areas for you to explore if you want to start a career in nonprofit organizations.

How Do Nonprofits Differ from Commercial Organizations?

First and foremost, the purpose is the main difference between these two types of organizations. All companies have a purpose, and in the case of commercial organizations, the end goal is generating as much profit as possible. Regardless of what product or service the companies offer, they ultimately seek competitive advantage and profit. In the case of nonprofit organizations, money is not the cause, but rather it is a resource used to achieve other goals.

The funding is another essential difference between the two. While commercial companies fund their business endeavours using their own money generated from selling products or services, charitable organizations rely on donations from other organizations. There exists a variety of other differences between the two, such as the conditions of cooperation between the employer and the employee, leadership styles, taxation, and culture.

How to Start a Career in Nonprofit

If you are wondering how you could start a career in a nonprofit organization, here’s a checklist for you.

  1. Identify an inspiring cause to work for.
  2. Check what organizations operate near you.
  3. Use the web to find out more about these organizations.
  4. Go see their representatives and talk with them.
  5. Volunteer for the charity that suits you best.
  6. Try your best and work hard.

Follow these steps, and you will surely achieve the desired results. Being persistent in your desire to grow and help others is essential for building a successful career in a nonprofit, so be brave and keep on pushing through.

Volunteering Resources for Nonprofit Career

  • Federal Student Aid – This organization aims at providing students with opportunities to help others as well as receive help. This organization primarily functions in the US, and it has been of huge use for millions of students.
  • National Youth Leadership Council – An organization that encompasses a variety of volunteering opportunities for your people.
  • SCORE – A platform for volunteers that helps you find opportunities for helping communities around the world.
  • Health Volunteers Overseas – This one would be interesting for health care students who want to help treat people overseas.
  • YMCA – The Y, as it is commonly referred to, is a European platform that helps unite people from all around the world to benefit communities and grow their potential.
  • UN Volunteers – A UN-sponsored platform for people who want to achieve greater things in life by aiding the others.
  • International Volunteer Programs Association – This website helps you find volunteering programs that fit your skills and interests.
  • Volunteer.gov – A government-sponsored association that assists people in finding purpose through helping each other.
  • National and Community Service: Senior Corps – NSC has different branches, including Senior Corps, where young and elderly people unite to benefit each other.
  • Volunteer Match – This is a platform that assists you in finding a perfect volunteering program near you.
  • Points of Light – One of the largest communities that can make you feel like a hero by doing small good deeds every day.
  • Idealist – A platform that helps people create a better world and help those who need it the most.
  • Global Volunteer Network – As you can tell by the name, this is a global network that can help you find the purpose and aid the others.
  • Do Something – A youth organization that helps active youngsters put their energy to good use.
  • Youth Service Opportunities Project – This one helps young people find opportunities for bringing a cause to their daily lives.

Top 10 Highly Paid Nonprofit Careers

Career

Description

Median Earnings

General Internist

General health care specialist capable of handling versatile tasks in a clinical environment.

$126,500

General Pediatrician

Health care specialist working with children.

$102,200

Chief Executive at Nonprofit

Handling executive responsibilities.

$102,000

Industrial Workers

Various tasks in accordance with the area of expertise.

$89,500

Software Engineer

Handling software development and engineering tasks for nonprofits.

$88,600

Management Analyst

Performing analytical tasks related to managing the personnel.

$70,200

Human Resource Manager

Managing the relations within the group and resolving interpersonal issues.

$65,000

Physicians

Different health-related duties depending on the area of expertise.

$58,700

Family Counselor

A specialist helping families to overcome tough times.

$56,100

Nursing Specialist

Performing various tasks related to taking care of the patients.

$56,000

As you can see, starting a career at a nonprofit organization is not only good for your heart and soul but also for your wallet. Even though the ultimate goal of the nonprofit organization is not money, the most successful organizations in this industry generate decent amounts of money so that they can pay their employees and fund different projects. Whether you like it or not, nonprofits do generate money, even though it is not considered a profit as of itself. Working for such an organization might just be a good way to help others and live a good life yourself.