Can I make a decent living working in a non-profit capacity?
I really enjoy helping others and want to help people who are trying to improve their lives. I've been told, however, that non-profit work, although satisfying, doesn't pay well. Can I make enough money to live an average or above average lifestyle?
It depends a lot on where you live! If you're willing to live in a more affordable town, you can make a decent living. If your dream is to live in SF or New York, for example, it will be much harder as your rent will be very expensive. In general, in your younger years, if you are willing to make some sacrifices and save money you will ultimately be happier in the long run! It can be tough to see your peers in banking / sales / tech making more in the short term, but in the long term having expertise in specific issue areas will pay off. I know plenty of people who work in the nonprofit sector that make a decent living, it just takes more time to get there.
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Having worked in the nonprofit space in my career, I agree with the points mentioned above.
I would also think about volunteering with nonprofits in conjunction with a for-profit company you might work with. Companies increasingly have formal programs that support employee volunteerism in the community. You can also incorporate volunteerism in your time outside of work to support the issues areas that matter most to you.
Whether or not you choose to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector, there are ways to support nonprofits' efforts to make a positive impact in your community.
What a great question. I think Rachel gave you a great answer.
However, I would add that in addition to the cost of living in the city you're in, it also depends on the size of the organization you're working with.
Grassroots nonprofits who have a staff of 1-10 normally pay much lower than your national or global nonprofits who have a staff of 30-1,000+. Nonprofits are also like any organization and the more you move up the ladder, the more you make.
Hope this helps!
Alexis recommends the following next steps: