Ever wish that your job felt more fulfilling or that you could get paid to improve the world around you? Marilyn Shull, a nonprofit career specialist at Bucknell University’s career development center, recommends that collegiettes pursue nonprofits if they want to end up in an industry that they care about tremendously. “Usually people who are attracted to nonprofit careers want to work for the public good,” she says. “There is a huge personal benefit to working within a nonprofit because the majority of people who work in this sector know why they are going to work every day—they are working with a purpose usually tied to the mission of the organization.”
Nonprofit organizations account for over 20 percent of economic activity in the United States, and they function similarly to for-profit companies in that they have most of the same job positions. This means that there are jobs in the non-profit sector for collegiettes™ with almost any interest and skill set, whether it’s writing, party planning or statistical analysis! We’ve compiled a list of some of the many jobs you can have within the nonprofit industry—check it out to see if any of them would be a good fit for you.
1. Grant writer
Every year the U.S. government, as well as private foundations and public corporations, offers billions of dollars in funding to individuals and non-profit organizations. This funding is called a grant and it requires no repayment as long as it is used to fund the specified project. Grant writers often work as freelancers, and their main task is to write and develop grant proposals, which are formal requests to each organization that is giving out funding.
As a grant writer, you would consult companies, assess the needs within your company, brainstorm solutions to your organization’s needs, and prepare and write up documents for submission. Grant writers are responsible for taking many small pieces of information and creating a cohesive, persuasive message for their audience.
Karen Parkin, a freelance grant writer, loves that she has been able to contribute to the nonprofit world by using her writing skills. “The best thing about being a freelance grant writer is the knowledge that you are contributing a vital skill to help your nonprofit organization obtain what it needs to run effectively: money,” she says.
This job is perfect for you if you are: a clear and persuasive writer, organized and goal-oriented, a good researcher, highly disciplined, adept at meeting deadlines and inspired to raise money for nonprofit organizations through writing.
2. Special events coordinator
Nonprofits usually use special events as a method of fundraising, but the events can also help the company to build relationships with people who may begin to feel a connection with the nonprofit, to bring in donors and introduce them to the organization, and to generate publicity for the company.
According to Shull, “When you go out into the working world, it’s often not your major that gets you a job. For most people, your interests influence where you end up.” So if you love to throw parties, this might be the ideal non-profit job for you. As a special events coordinator, your job would be to plan your company’s big events from start to finish. You would probably find yourself seeking sponsorships, managing the calendar for your company, budgeting, working with volunteers, planning the food, finding a venue and, of course, hosting the party.
This job is perfect for you if you are:a social butterfly who loves using events as a way to connect with people, detail-oriented, organized, a great multi-tasker, a people person and inspired to raise money for nonprofits through your love of the social scene.
3. Marketing director
Marketing is an important part of a nonprofit organization because it allows the company to spread the word about their cause. In all job sectors, marketing usually includes (but is definitely not limited to) advertising, public relations, brand management and market research.
As a marketing director for a nonprofit company, you would be in charge of all of the marketing activities for your organization. Specifically, you would work to brainstorm ideas, produce mock-ups of advertisements, conduct research about the current nonprofit industry and effectively develop a brand for your company.
This job is perfect for you if you are:a good communicator, focused on the big picture, flexible, organized, creative, interested in the behavior of people, analytical, artistic and passionate about reaching out to those around you in order to publicize nonprofits.
4. Publication specialist
Many nonprofit organizations spend a significant amount of their resources on publications designed to promote and bring about awareness of the company. These publications often include things like brochures, posters, newsletters and direct mail materials.
As a publication specialist, you would spend a lot of time on your computer working on layout design and creating mock-ups of potential posters and brochures. You would work with the marketing director to manage your company’s brand identity, as well as choosing interesting content to write about in the newsletter.
This job is perfect for you if you are:a clear and persuasive writer, creative, artistic, good with computers, knowledgeable about graphic design and marketing, organized, detail-oriented, a list-maker and excited to write about what is going on within your nonprofit company.