Non-Profit Employment Across Life Stages

Conquering the myths about recent graduates entering the non-profit sector

Written by Banu Raghuraman

The opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Endeavour.

Career options within the non-profit sector are generally loosely defined and incumbents are expected to efficiently carry out a variety of tasks. Additionally, recent graduates often wonder where and how they will fit into the working world. The HR Council for the Non-profit Sector considers both elements in their article http://hrcouncil.ca/about-the-sector/common-job-categories.cfm. They list the common jobs in the non-profit sector, and provide an insight into what applicants can expect in the industry. Additional resources provide insights, sorted by specific bachelor degrees, which will lead to a career within the non-profit sector http://hrcouncil.ca/about-the-sector/my-degree.cfm.

Having a huge student loan is not uncommon for recent grads. Often this becomes a deciding factor when choosing between a job you want and a job you need (so that you are debt-free as soon as possible). Sometimes, job satisfaction and career advancement tend to take a back seat when running the risk of even more debt due to high interest accumulation, or even bankruptcy. And because of the difference in average salaries in for profit and non-profit sectors, the debt free status seems to be even more of an issue when choosing a job in the latter. This article ” Serving the debt sentence: Is repaying your student loan a barrier to working for a nonprofit ? “ featured on Charity Village, shows us different ways people with a job in the non-profit sector have achieved debt free status. So recent graduates, if repaying your student debt is a barrier to your entry into the non-profit sector, read this article and reconsider.

Careers in the non-profit sector aren’t much different north and south of the border. Almost 9% of the American workforce is employed in the non-profit sector (compared to 7% in Canada*). Indiana University has introduced the first ever Bachelor degree in philanthropic studies, akin to Carleton University introducing Canada’s first formal education in philanthropy with the new Master of Philanthropy and Non-profit Leadership degree and graduate diploma.

Keeping money matters aside, there are myths associated with jobs in the non-profit world that may sideline this option for new entrants into the work force; these myths apply to the non-profit sector both in Canada and the USA. Lisa M. Dietlin, philanthropic advisor and CEO of Lisa M. Dietlin and Associates based in the US, lists these myths and dispels them with facts ” Making a Difference: The World of Giving Careers in the Nonprofit Sector “ .

Endeavour Volunteer Consulting is an ideal way for students and recent graduates to gain experience in the non-profit sector. If you are a current student or recent graduate and are interested in learning more about working in the non-profit sector, consider applying as a consultant. Please visit Consulting Opportunities for details.

* Reference: http://hrcouncil.ca/labour/statistics.cfm

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