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nonprofit at job fair
Interested in pursuing a non-profit fellowship?

If you decide that you want to pursue a non-profit fellowship, learn more about the selection criteria for admissions, timeline and more in the Non-Profit Fellowships section of this website.

Considering a Non-Profit Career

Nonprofit organizations provide great opportunities to make a difference in communities locally or internationally, while gaining valuable skills and experience. Non-profit does not mean non-paid, but the primary focus of the organization is to serve a mission, not shareholders. At the core of each organization, there is a mission they are seeking to reach, be it environmental, community service or educational, to name a few.

There are several ways to be involved:

Volunteer All non-profits rely on volunteers for daily operations, special events and fundraising assistance. Time commitments can vary from a one-time to even a weekly commitment. It can be a great way to explore interests and issues and gain hands-on experience.
Staff Member There are plenty of paid positions in non-profit organizations. As with any organization, there are operations, direct services, finances, marketing, and organization-specific positions. In addition, some non-profits have development offices that hire grant writers, fundraisers, and event planners.
Board Member Non-profits are run by boards of directors that meet on a regular basis to support the organization's mission and operations. Serving on a board is a volunteer position, and can be a great way to understand the inner workings of an organization.

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Choice of major

Non-profit organizations cover a wide range of interests, missions, and issues. 

Successfully running non-profits requires a variety of skills from marketing and communications to financial management and program development. To be a solid candidate to work in a non-profit, your community engagement activities and leadership skills are essential. Major in what interests you, and get involved beyond the classroom as well.

Valued Skills in Non-Profit Careers

Getting hired in a non-profit organization is dependent upon two things: soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are the intangible essentials--passion and commitment. Hard skills are tangible skill sets (see below for a sampling). Bottom line: do you care about the organization's mission and does your experience demonstrate your commitment and interest?

A Sampling of "Hard Skills" Useful for Working in a Non-Profit Organization
  • Grant writing
  • Oral/Verbal and Written Communication
  • Program Development/Management
  • Advocacy
  • Training and Facilitation
  • Fundraising and Development
  • Event Planning
  • Budget Preparation and Management

Exploring Non-Profit Careers

Here are a few web resources to assist your exploration:

Preparing for a Non-Profit Career

Get Inspired!

Resources and Next Steps

 Here are some additional resources you may find helpful:

Nonprofit Job Search Links

Curious about working in the non-profit sector? These are some great web resources. Many of these sites have resources in multiple types of opportunities, so be sure to investigate them thoroughly

Getting started
Job search
Volunteering and Service Programs


Last modified April 22 2015 11:02 AM