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Published on January 22nd, 2018 | by Jones


Why you should work for an NPO

Trying to find the right job for you may take years. And in those years, you may need to acquire some experience before you can even apply for that job you want. You’ll find that some people choose to go the NPO route in those circumstances, many of who decide to stay in that industry in the long run.

So why should you work for an NPO? What can it do for you and your career?

Doing something meaningful

The more obvious reason why most people decide to work for NPOs is the fact that they are working towards something meaningful in a community. Your job within the organisation has the ability to change or save a life, a reward immeasurable in itself.

Working for an organisation that does meaningful work for others also means that they know how to treat their staff. Many NPOs adopt a work environment of fun, trustworthy, appreciated, opportunistic and eager-to-learn employees where everyone has a job to do and everyone makes the difference.

It’s not only about transforming the community the organisation has promised to help, but also about creating a community amongst the members of the organisation itself.

Gain all the experience

Even if you start by volunteering at an NPO, you will have your foot in the door and have an opportunity to learn and gain valuable experience. If you work for an NPO, the chances of you sticking to one job are not common and, although you may be hired for a specific skill, you will end up helping out in other departments of the organisation.

This means more experience for you to put on that CV and more personal rewards from helping out. You definitely won’t be short of experience from working in a team, that’s for sure. Most of the time, you will also be provided with the necessary training and “floating through different positions” will mean that you’ll learn a lot regarding different jobs, how to do them and how to excel at them. So if you decide to enter a different industry, you’ll have a more than good idea of how it’s done. And if you decide to stay in the NPO industry, you’ll be able to build on that experience and climb the ranks.

It’s easy to get in

The great thing about working for an NPO is that it’s easy to get in. You may not get the exact job you wanted right off the bat, but there is always place for extra hands. Starting out as a volunteer is the ideal way to get a feel for the specific organisation you’ll be working in, to meet managers and experienced people in the industry and suss out where they would prefer to work in that organisation.

And it’s easy to become a volunteer because these organisations welcome help with open arms. Doctors Without Borders is an NPO that is clear about the job positions they have open, but always encourage people to join their volunteering programme.

But just like any job interview or application process, you will be required to offer certain skills that will be beneficial for the organisation.

Build your creativity

Creativity may not be a requirement for working at an NPO, but it most definitely will develop as your time in the field or head office accumulates.

NPOs rely on creativity in every department and field they have. Mostly because of the lack of resources and funds to go the more traditional routes of treatment, caregiving, welfare or wherever their focus is. People who can think outside of the box help to come up with alternative methods of building a home, sourcing food or distributing medicine, can change the game for NPOs with very limited resources.

If you aren’t a creative cat, then working for an NPO will build your creativity and prove an asset when changing positions. And creativity is a skill that can work in marketing, sales, management and many other departments.

What you need

Working for a non-profit is not for everyone and there are a few personal attributes that you need before you’ll know whether or not you can work in this kind of environment.

First of all, you need to research the organisation you’ll be applying to and make sure that what they stand for is in line with your own morals and values. It’s also a good idea to investigate their success ratio, resources and donors to get an idea of the difference you’ll actually be able to make there.

Especially on a volunteer-basis, time is something you need to keep charge of in the NPO industry. It’s about how much time you have to give and hours you can put into the organisation or out in the field. You also need to consider the skills you have to offer and whether or not they can prove useful in the organisation of your choice. If not, you can find other NPOs to help out.

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A keen writer, giving advice about work and life.

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