There are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S., according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS). Among these many organizations are public charities, private foundations and fraternal organizations such as the Chambers of Commerce, Rotary, and many others.
Surprisingly, many job seekers know little or nothing about this important employment sector.
The name “nonprofit” can be a bit misleading and confusing to those unfamiliar with them.
While most of these organizations do not consider profit to be their primary goal, they do generate income.
Three Nonprofit Myths
Here are three common myths about nonprofits:
- “You’ll go broke working for a nonprofit.” While their salaries have been historically lower than those of the private industry, nonprofits are offering increasingly competitive pay.
- “Because they don’t pay taxes, nonprofits don’t contribute to society.” Actually, nonprofits often offer services and benefits that you won’t find with a government agency. These services include education and training, healthcare, daycare, and shelter for the homeless. Governments support their work through tax exemptions and benefit directly because of it.
- “All nonprofit employees are out to save the world.” While there’s nothing wrong with saving the world, nonprofits pay you for the work you do, just like a private sector company would. And it is an unfortunate fact of life that greed, social climbing, and personal ambition are prevalent everywhere. Even in nonprofits, not everyone is a saint.
Is Nonprofit Work Right for You?
- Match your values. Are you a good fit for nonprofit work? Before making that decision, consider whether your values match up with the goals and mission of the agency (or agencies) you are thinking of working for. If not, chances are you’ll lack inspiration and effectiveness and will eventually wash out.
- Research the company culture… and whether you would be a good fit.
We all have to work somewhere, and most of us work better if we believe in what we are doing. If you like the idea of getting paid to do something that makes the world just a little bit better, working for a nonprofit may be the career for you.