7 answers

What should I go to school for to work in a nonprofit?

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I am really interested in working in a nonprofit, maybe something that has to do with LGBT, kids, or human rights. I think I would be interested in being a therapist of some sort within the organization. I was just wondering what would be suggested for me to go to school for to major in, and possibly some organizations I could work for as a therapist of some sort. #human-resources #nonprofits #college-majors #therapy #lgbt #youth #humanrights

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7 answers

Shelby’s Answer

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I have a B.S. in Human Development and Family Sciences with a focus study in Human Services, Public Health and Gerontology. It's hard to decide exactly which direction you want to go when you're in college still. I would encourage you to select a base field that is broad enough and then through internships and volunteering you will learn where your passions lie.


I would encourage you to be smart when taking courses and careful about getting into student debt. Nonprofit jobs are lower pay, but the intrinsic rewards of the work are incredible. Don't dig yourself a large financial hole when you can get started and work your way up through an organization or specialty that you love. Look into certificate programs too! Good luck and thank you for having a heart that cares about people!

Shelby recommends the following next steps:

  • Research certificate programs and areas of specialty with lower education costs
  • Volunteer and intern
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Jonathan’s Answer

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Getting a Masters in mental health counseling would probably be your best direction for helping in the way you described.


In general your best bet to land a job in a nonprofit is to be connected in some way to that organization either as a volunteer or, even better, as an intern. This will also help a ton with finding out if you want to work in that industry so the earlier you get involved the better.

Jonathan recommends the following next steps:

  • Find a place to volunteer so you can get experience early.
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Brent’s Answer

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It really depends on what you want to do at a nonprofit or how you want to support LGBTQ issues. Nonprofits are businesses too and have a lot of professional opportunities like accounting, fundraising, operations, marketing, etc. in addition to program-specific work like therapy, social worker, art teacher, grassroots organizing, economic development, healthcare, etc.

You should definitely seek higher education for most of these type of careers as they often require a college degree as a minimum job requirement. I would highly encourage you to seek out a number of volunteer opportunities throughout high school and college (and beyond) to learn about different careers in nonprofits, as they are wide-ranging and sometimes very unique to the nonprofit world (and require unique education and job experiences). Internships are also a great way in the summer to really get a good understanding of what it is like to work in a nonprofit and in a potential nonprofit career.
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Roxanne’s Answer

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A non-profit organization to prosper requires right people, system and management style. It is a business call, in a way, that has nobler goals --- service. Thus, someone who would pursue work in said organization is preferred to have undergone studies to equip him / her with all principles / disciplines to understand the profile of clients and apply standards / values related to good service.

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Jyoti’s Answer

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This is so good to hear, people are looking for Social services / working for non-profit as a career. When I was in college, that was a retirement plan for me.

With the introduction of specialized filed of studies, you have many options. And there is something in every specialization that can be used to work for non-profit.

Check for Bachelor's in Social Work.

Bachelor's degree in administration of justice

Degree in Psychology (Clinical Psychology / Counselling)

Please let me know if you need more information and how is it going ahred with you.

All the Best!

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Cassandra’s Answer

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I agree that if you want to do therapy, you should study psychology, mental health counseling, etc. I currently work in a nonprofit and everyone seems to have a different educational background. I personally studied Political Science, and am getting my masters in Nonprofit Management. My supervisor studied history and did several internships with nonprofits. Working for a civic engagement organization, these degrees are relevant. If you want to work with LGBTQ rights, education, or human rights organizations you could always study a subject related to those causes. LGBTQ studies, education or developmental psychology, or public affairs are some areas to consider.

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Mike’s Answer

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I would always advocate to follow your passion in school and volunteer along the way. Volunteering always gives you an eye into any organization and helps you test the water.

I recommend volunteer work during school and at any non-profit that sparks your interest. The LGBT community is a great place to start, especially with working with youth. Being a role model and an advocate for others is very much needed in this community.

As you grow and develop professionally, I would also recommend that you yourself take a look at yourself introspectively and personally work thought any hang-ups you might have. The better you understand yourself, the better you will be equiped for understanding others.

Don't be hard on yourself. There is plenty of time for errors and many opportunities to grow from them. Also, be patience with yourself. This is your life and your timeline. Try not to become someone other than yourself.
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