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What are the pros and cons of working for a non-profit?

I have worked within the educational field for the past decade. I am working towards obtaining my BS in Community Development, and want to see what my options may be, highly considering non-profit organizations #college-major #career #community #development #degree


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Nathan’s Answer

Working for a non-profit comes with plenty of pros and cons for sure and can vary wildly depending on the non-profit's size, mission, and management.

I think the main pro is that your work is driven by a mission and you can really feel like your work has an impact. The main con would be that financially non-profits do not pay a lot and sometimes require a lot of hours of work per week. It's really important that you ask questions around work-life-balance and salary when looking into careers for non-profits.

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Sharon’s Answer

The main “con” is a lack of financial security. Non profits often don't have leaders who understand business management strategies well and may make decisions that fulfill the mission but don't keep the organization fiscally healthy. Unless the non-profit has a really fat endowment, a turn in the stock market harms operating budgets.

The “pro” is you are working with passionate “true believers.” Since non profits pay less, those who primarily care about money will go elsewhere. Its great to work somewhere where the mission statement is lived.

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Shawan’s Answer

Hi Gabrielle,

I worked at a nonprofit for several years, and I enjoyed my experience there. Now, I get to combine the best of 2 worlds by managing community engagement for a private company. Here are some of my thoughts on working at a nonprofit.

Pros:
Mission driven - When you work for a nonprofit you are able to work with a lot of mission driven people. It's great to work with colleagues who all have the same goal

Community Support - I worked directly with volunteers, so I got to see the best of humanity everyday. People were there because they wanted to help people and be a part of the solution to complex community issues.

Scrappy - Many nonprofits don't have big budgets, so you get really creative about your approach to things. It's always fun to be able to think about new approaches to work and challenges that you need to solve

Professional Development - You'll typically be able to take on more projects and stretch assignments to grow professionally

Community impact - There's nothing like knowing that all of your work and efforts went directly toward improving your community. Good nonprofits don't just want to meet an immediate need. They are looking to address the underlying issues and solve pressing problems.

Cons:
Resource strapped - There were many times when our office supply budget was frozen and we weren't even allowed to buy pens for volunteers to fill out the intake forms. Additionally, we had to let go of our receptionist and reduce the number of days the janitorial staff came. So, we essentially had to create a chores list and each department took turns cleaning the break rooms and other common areas

Professional Development - There's typically a very small budget for professional development, so you may have to find opportunities on your own and look for scholarships

Pay - Most people who work for nonprofits aren't in it for the pay, so this may not matter as much to you. There are a lot of long hours and the pay is less than what you would make in the same role at a corporation. In my organization, raises and bonuses were rare.


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Nicholas’s Answer

Pros are the fact that you're in it for a great cause and people all around the world are respectful of what you do for that organization. Cons are that if you're worried about making a lot of money, there are certain cap limits to how much that company can pay you. However, this can lead to great job opportunities in the future if you play your cards right

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Alex’s Answer

Working for a non profit could give a good sense of pride and help people or a cause in need. Non profits really do have a lot of potential. Depending on the size of the non profit , things could get boring long term.

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CARLA’s Answer

Hello,

Working for a non-profit is very rewarding. I would take in consideration needs in the surrounding
community where you work or live and pay attention to the needs in the area and what
organizations are available to fulfill those needs. Also it's good to have an interest or
passion in the area of your work, this helps you be more effective in your drive and work ethic.

Thank you for your advice. I think that the needs within a community would really help to steer my passion for my own personal career in terms of helping others. Gabrielle B.

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