Why Does Anyone Work for a Nonprofit?

Some of the stories that emerge from people working for not-for-profit organisations, especially overseas, are enough to make one wonder why anyone would want to work in such a place. Assuming you get no grief from local government or pro-government organisations, you also have the tedious tasks of getting public liability insurance for not-for-profits, training up eager but naive volunteers, plus the general risk of operating in areas and fields where danger and risk tend to rear their ugly heads in many forms.

So, why do people still choose to work for nonprofits? Let’s explore some of the key reasons why:

1. Never a Dull Moment

Non-profit organisations bring you exciting and sometimes wildly different work tasks from day to day, especially if you work in the field for NGOs operating in poorer, less-developed countries. There might be one day where you’re answering phones or taking charitable pledges and donations, and then another day where you’re putting out fires (figuratively) for an upcoming event. You could be dispatched here, there, and everywhere, and as people come and go, you might be asked to step up and fill others’ shoes.

2. Nonprofits Often Get Interesting Applicants

If you’re in a nonprofit to try and meet interesting people, and a variety of different types of people, then you will rarely, if ever, be disappointed. These organisations regularly attract adventurous, outgoing people who are looking for real-life experience, perhaps before they move on to a university placement or a full-time job elsewhere, or even to start their own company or charity.

Mostly, nonprofits do have an easy time attracting wide-eyed, romantic and idealistic young people who are full of hope and energy. Working with them can be really inspiring, and you end up making real lifelong friends with whom you share unique working experiences.

3. They’re Good Places to Learn New Skills

As we mentioned in the first point, the nature of the work done by professionals in the nonprofit area is so eclectic, that it becomes a tremendous engine for teaching young people new and valuable skills. In an office environment, they learn about marketing, web design, graphic design, communication with the public, creating powerful messages, growing a brand, and so much more.

When they’re out of the office, they can learn about public speaking, engaging with members of the public in direct dialogue, manual labour skills, driving of larger and more unique vehicles, organising and executing events, getting active with the local community, petitioning and dealing with local government and authorities…the list goes on.

4. One Can Work for a Good Rather Than Just for Business’ Sake

When young people are choosing places to do work experience, they often like to choose nonprofits and charities because not only do they gain many (if not more) of the same work experience skills that their peers who work in accountants’ and lawyers’ offices get, but they get the added good feeling of doing something that makes a difference; makes a contribution to society; makes an impact on the world.

5. One Can Become a Powerful Authority

Finally, when one dedicates more of their career, and not just their younger years or experience-building years, to working or a non-profit organisation, then one can quickly become a sought-after authority and specialist in a certain field or area. You might be called upon for news interviews and other media pieces as others try to tap into your particular insight on an issue or a locale in the news.

People like hearing from non-profit executives and thought leaders because they are seen as more impartial and willing to tell the truth. They aren’t driven by business interests or other agendas, and that’s a powerful thing when it comes to others having confidence in what you say.

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