If you’re looking for a way to “give back” as part of your job, you are in very good company. From recent graduates to aging baby boomers, the interest in public sector and nonprofit jobs is on the rise. According to a recent article in the NY Times, “In 2009 alone, 16 percent more young college graduates worked for the federal government than in the previous year and 11 percent more for nonprofit groups.”
I see this same trend in my career coaching practice, with many of my clients expressing a desire to trade in their corporate careers for a more “meaningful” path, even when that translates to a (potentially) lower salary. Fortunately, there are hundreds of great resources for people wanting to transition into the nonprofit sector. Here are five of my personal favorites:
1) The Foundation Center: Whether you want to establish a foundation, learn how to write a grant or secure funds for medical research, the Foundation Center, can help you reach your goals. The leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide, they offer a robust menu of training programs, job openings, directories and other useful resources for the public.
2) Association of Fund Raising Professionals (AFP): Fund raising is a key function for virtually all nonprofit organizations. AFP helps to foster the growth and development of fund raising professionals through education, conferences, and other forms of professional development. Their site is a good starting place for anyone interested in learning more about the fund raising profession.
3) Encore.org: Encore careers is a term used to describe jobs that combine personal meaning, social impact and continued income. The site is published by Civic Ventures, a nonprofit think tank focused on boomers, but the site’s content is helpful to people of all ages. They have an outstanding “Get Started” guide to encore careers that can be downloaded for free at: http://www.encore.org/files/PDFs/guide/encore_guide.pdf
4) Social Entrepreneurship: Social entrepreneurs blend their innovation and well-honed business expertise into entrepreneurial ventures that help address the needs of the greater good. If you’re interested in creating a socially responsible business, some sites you might find useful are The Kauffman Foundation, The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship.
5) National Council of Nonprofit Associations: The National Council of Nonprofit Associations is the network of state and regional nonprofit associations serving more than 20,000 member organizations. Although this site is geared towards nonprofit administrators, their resources will help educate you about key issues relevant to smaller nonprofit organizations.
Finally, even if you can’t move into a nonprofit career right now, you can always find a way to get involved in helping through volunteer and community based initiatives. As Anne Frank once said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Nancy Collamer M.S., career coach, author and speaker, helps clients around the country reinvent their careers outside the 9-5 box. She shares her advice weekly through her blog at MyLifestyleCareer.com and on Twitter. She is a frequent guest of the media and was recently featured in O Magazine as part of their team of “All-Star Team of Career Coaches.”