Pros and Cons of Working for a Non-Profit

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Devoting time and energy to a non-profit organization can be beneficial and frustrating at the same time. If you are aware of some of the factors involved with working for a non-profit, you can enjoy the pros, and not be blindsided by the cons.

The advantages of working for a non-profit organization:

• Work with fascinating people. There is something distinctive about people willing to work for a non-profit; they are compelling and dedicated to the cause. These individuals come from all levels of society and produce a wide range of experiences.

• There is participation in a large variety of projects. Many employees of non-profit organizations work on several projects at once. This can provide more opportunities to prove yourself, and a faster advancement through the ranks.

• Utilize a range of skills. Having a wide range of skills—both interpersonal and business—is a perfect fit for non-profits.

• Having to work with all levels of the organization. Non-profits tend to be more relaxed and less strict than for-profit businesses, which allow you to be in contact with all levels of management.

Changing the world. Non-profits may increasingly look like their for-profit counterparts, but have a much nobler goal—to make the world better. Non-profits are now able to achieve their objectives by using newer technology and creative thinking.

• Non-profits value business skills. The same techniques that are successful in business can also be effective in a non-profit. Increasingly, the lines between corporations and communities are blurring, and talents in one can easily move to another.

Just as advantages are numerous, the disadvantages can be equally maddening:

• Company goals are significantly less clear, and success is not easy to quantify. In a non-profit organization, the results do not arrive at the bottom of an accountant’s spreadsheet. Much is left to faith—certainly an intangible that could quickly lead to job burnout.

Bureaucracy and red tape can be frustrating in a non-profit, and the rate of change is much slower.

• In a non-profit, the results are much more personal—and failures can be overwhelming. In business, an “off day” can be much easier than at a non-profit, where people’s lives and well-being are affected.


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