Moving Forward While Giving Back: Myths About Working for Nonprofits

non profit team meating
So far, you’ve spent your whole career working hard, building skills, and becoming a master in your field. Do you ever think about advancing further and leading a team?

Management positions are plentiful in today’s job market and offer opportunities for pay advancement. However, don’t limit yourself to for-profit firms. There are many successful nonprofits that provide excellent professional experience while making positive impacts on society.
If you’re scratching your head and wondering how earning a management position at a nonprofit can possibly advance your career, you’re not alone. Many professionals think that nonprofits are noble pursuits but lead to dead-end jobs and salaries. Though this is far from the truth, such false notions keep ambitious leaders from entering the nonprofit sector. Consider these common myths about nonprofits before making up your mind.

Myth 1: The Pay Is Too Low

Nonprofits want to succeed just as much as private firms. Therefore, they seek out the best talent and reward reputable leaders with competitive pay. As you move up the ladder of leadership and management, it’s possible to earn an attractive pay increase that compensates you fairly for your knowledge, skills, and experience.

Myth 2: The Sector Is Too Small

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nonprofits categorized as 501(c)3 organizations employed about 11.4 million workers in 2012. That’s 10.3 percent of all jobs in the private sector, which is a significant contribution to overall U.S. employment. Nonprofits clearly hold their own on the employment front with no signs of slowing down.

Myth 3: There Is No Room for Professional Growth

This one is just plain nonsense. Nonprofits offer incredible opportunities for professionals to excel in their careers. Plus, they are excellent places for women and underrepresented individuals to advance to executive positions such as CEO with less competition than the for-profit sector.

If you have ambitions of moving up in your profession but want a stronger knowledge base before you start, consider pursuing a business or project management degree online to brush up your skills.

Myth 4: The Work Is Not Fulfilling

Employees who work directly with the community often feel a sense of fulfillment in their jobs because they see the direct effects of their efforts. Leaders and management usually stay behind the scenes to run the organization, hold meetings with strategic partners and government officials, evaluate budgets and organize funding, and ensure that the organizational mission and goals are met. Though management tasks at nonprofits are quite like those at private firms, the result of the work serves a much greater purpose than simply earning revenue.

Nonprofit managers experience elevated job satisfaction because their efforts contribute to the betterment of society. They also have opportunities to influence public policy on a global scale and work on issues such as epidemics, climate change, and poverty. If you’re not convinced, read more about nonprofits that come together to support global causes.

Is it Time for a Change?

Don’t completely rule out the nonprofit sector when looking for career advancements and leadership positions. You might be surprised to find a whole new wave of opportunities to move up in your career while giving back to your community.

Image courtesy of Cambodia4kids.org Beth Kanter via Flickr

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