Friday, October 23, 2009

11 Reasons New Grads Should Pursue Nonprofit Careers

You Get Access to the Higher-Ups
Most nonprofits have a small staff, so it’s likely that your immediate supervisor will be the Deputy Director or CEO of the organization. That means you get to spend more time with top leadership than if you would at a large for-profit separated by layers of middle management. You could have the opportunity to create a great mentor-mentee relationship from the big boss, helping to cultivate your own leadership in the process. If you have a strong relationship with the CEO, it’s also likely that they’ll be able to serve as a strong references for you when you apply for future jobs.

Your Organization Will Have a Better Reputation Than Most For-Profit Companies
Think about it. Young people who work at Goldman Sachs right now probably hang their heads in shame when people ask them where they work. Between Wall Street’s failings and the general “profit-first, people-second” nature of many for-profit brands, it’s not a given that the company you choose will be seen positively in the public eye. In contrast, most nonprofits will be held in high regard because of their altruistic missions. Bonus: if you snag a job at a large organization like Girl Scouts of America, Teach for America, College Summit, etc. you also get to benefit from positive name recognition in the community.

You’ll Have an Instant Network of Peers
As you begin your career, it’s important to have access to low-cost professional development and a place to network with peers your age. Enter the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN), a national movement to promote an efficient, viable, and inclusive nonprofit sector that supports the growth, learning, and development of young professionals. YNPN engages and supports future nonprofit and community leaders through professional development, networking and social opportunities designed for young people involved in the nonprofit community. Over the past five years, YNPN has become the nation’s premier organization for young nonprofit professionals to connect with like-minded peers. With over 30 YNPN chapters representing 20,000 young nonprofit professionals working in a variety of capacities, it’s definitely something you want to be involved in. Most major cities have a YNPN chapter that you can plug into: find a chapter in your area.

Your Work Will Matter
Young people are becoming increasingly more disillusioned with government, Wall Street, politicians, and even our parents, whose fire for social change may have died out in the 70s. We’re tired of our professors and our families telling us what to do and how to fit in with the crowd. We want to do something important with our lives. Something that has meaning. We want to work someplace where we can rock the boat, where we can make a huge difference in the lives of others. And nonprofits, by virtue of their missions are a perfect place to fuel that passion. Nonprofit work ain’t easy, but it will certainly be the most important work that you will ever do. Can you say that about the average for-profit company?

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