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.