A Millennial’s Guide to Being a Nonprofit Professional

2016-03-30 09.09.10
Amanda Neumann

Are you young, ambitious, and want to work in the nonprofit sector but don’t know where to start? This a quick guide to beginning your journey into nonprofits.

Step 1: Find out what you care about.

Wanting to work in philanthropy is a noble cause. However, if you don’t care about the populations you’re serving or the problems you’re trying to quell, there’s a good chance you won’t enjoy the work. One of the most rewarding aspects of working with nonprofits is doing good work that you are passionate about. You don’t have pour all of your passions into one issue or philanthropic cause, but it’s important to be prepared for emotional labor.

Step 2: Determine what kind of work you like to do.

So, you’ve decided on the cause or causes you’re most invested in–what now? Easy! What are you good at? What do you like to do? Writing, community outreach, marketing, accounting, data entry, animation? Focus in on your skills–both the ones you’ve worked to perfect and the ones you’re still working on–to determine what type of role you’d like to play in a nonprofit organization. 

Step 3: Find organization you’d like to work with.

Volunteering is a great way to start with a nonprofit organization you’d like to work with. You can volunteer on a regular basis or reach out and see if you can donate your time or talent for a specific project or event. The best way to get involved with organization that you admire is simply to reach out to them. Even if you can’t volunteer, forming relationships with organizations you’d like to work can be extremely beneficial and rewarding.

Step 4: Be confident.

Easier said that done, right? Like many professional fields, nonprofits are filled with experienced individuals who (more than likely) know a lot more than you. But, that’s not a bad thing. It’s important to be confident in your abilities and in your willingness to learn. Remember–your skills and ideas are unique. Don’t undervalue yourself or your contributions. And, of course, fake your confidence until you make your confidence!


These tips are just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully you’ve begun thinking about ways you can make the most out of your passion for nonprofits.

 

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