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What major should I study if I want to work in non-profit organizations?

I mostly want to work with the homeless population . #non-profit #worker


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Lindsey’s Answer

Hi Amara,
I recommend researching which universities offer an undergraduate degree in nonprofit management, as not all do. You can also study philanthropic studies, social work, and business. It is my belief that what nonprofits are looking for in someone to hire, regardless of what you studied in college, is a genuine passion for the mission. I'm sure you've heard this before, but I strongly suggest volunteering at homeless shelters whenever you can, and even looking into some internship opportunities at nonprofits focused on the homeless population. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any additional questions by posting a comment! Best of luck.


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Brian’s Answer

It depends on 2 things:


(1) What role you see yourself doing in the non-profit, i.e. fund-raising, management, field work, etc. For fund-raising or management, a business degree might be a good option. For field-work, a more specific major related to the type of field work would be a better fit.


(2) What kind of non-profit? You mentioned working with the homeless, so a university with a good program for social work would be a good fit. Another example: If it were an environmental non-profit, you'd want to tailor your major to the earth sciences.


I hope this helps!


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Susan’s Answer

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Hi Amara, I think you've got some great answers here but I also wanted to chime in. Before I went to business school, I worked in non-profit and my colleagues had very diverse backgrounds. To be honest, I don't think your major matters that much - at least for the non-profit where I worked, the key criteria were to be self-motivated and able to work independently in an unstructured environment (which I think many small non-profits have). As noted by Lindsey, it's also really, really important to be passionate about the issues (in my case, I worked on global health) and to have demonstrated that passion through previous work or volunteer experience. I think the most valuable thing you could do would be to volunteer as much as possible and to get a breadth of experience - including working directly with beneficiaries, but also getting some management / back-office experience as well, so that you can learn about how non-profits actually function. Good luck!


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Gary’s Answer

Hi Amara,
Great answers for you so far...your question really depends on what you want to do. Non-profits have all types of jobs, accounting/computers/maintenance, etc. If you want to work direct with people, I would suggest Social Work/Psychology/Criminal Justice as college majors and definitely work towards a minor as well. Learning about finance/accounting is also a good thing...most non-profits have the raise funds and account for how they spend all of their money. This may sound strange but having good writing skills helps as well, this helps when writing grant proposals for funding. Good luck.


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Christa’s Answer

Congratulations in following your passion and compassion. As an avid volunteer, I highly suggest you volunteer at a local homeless shelter to 'get your feet wet'. There is always so much to be done and often not enough hands on deck. There are so many facets to working with the homeless population that the possibilities are endless. Good luck and much success on your future endeavors.


Christa


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