Want a nonprofit job? Here’s how to stand out from the crowd.
September 02, 2010
Today we have a new author guest blogging at Lip-sticking. Amanda Ponzar is the Director of Communications for Global Corporate Leadership at United Way Worldwide, the world's largest privately-funded nonprofit. You can read more about Amanda on the team page.
Enjoy Amanda's insight on non-profits, today and every other Thursday, going forward.
I just read a story in the New York Times about young lawyers choosing public interest work rather than making the big bucks.
With the economy taking a trip to Hades in a hand basket, why on earth do people choose to make less money to work for charity? Everyone I’ve asked has said the same thing, “I want to make a difference.”
Although cliché, I felt the exact same way before I broke into the seemingly impenetrable nonprofit world. Who needs Prince Charming?
I fantasized that I would ride in on a white horse, saving people every day, all while getting paid for it. I was a zealous do-gooder on wheels, volunteering all over the place, so who wouldn’t want to hire me?
Well, despite the fact that nonprofits are proliferating like rabbits and a new one seems to pop up every day, only 6.29% of Americans actually worked for a nonprofit in 2009, according to unpublished Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So, how can YOU be one of these lucky 6%?
Let’s start with a tip from a friend of mine, Lisa Hamilton, VP of Public Relations at UPS and former head of the UPS Foundation.
Lisa is incredibly beautiful and creative. But don’t let that fool you. She’s also smart. Lisa started as an attorney, then served as program director in the tax department, and then made the case that her unique skills and experience would benefit the UPS Foundation.
“The lesson here is that when people pursue Foundation jobs, they often talk to hiring managers about their interest in the work or their experience as a committed volunteer,” said Lisa. “They fail to appreciate that Foundations are businesses and need staff who can bring excellent management skills (financial, legal, IT, HR, performance measurement, etc.) to the table.” Lisa’s advice? “Stand out from the crowd” by emphasizing what you contribute. “As in any organization,” said Lisa, “you will be hired and evaluated based on your PERFORMANCE, not your passion!”
I thought about the last time I interviewed someone. I didn’t ask how passionate she was about the cause, I asked about her experience managing complicated projects and demonstrating return on investment.
Ladies, let’s help ourselves out. And no matter where we work, prove our worth with top-notch performance that gets results. That’s an asset anywhere.
More tips to come.
I posted a comment to your blog. But I wanted to add the most important part of my response, the reason I have my company in the first place. Yes it is to make the most of my skills, but it is also to foster my passions. My passions reside in the creative arts and inspiring children to aim for their fullest potential without limitations. It is there that I have grown my non-profit organization, The Red Cardinal Foundation. The Red Cardinal Foundation is an organization where inner city kids can experience excellence through the creative art, which include dance, visual arts, song, instrument instruction, all aspects of design and culinary srts. I want my for profit to be successful, because I love it and I know it is a profitable venture, but also to fund my non-profit. I will leave it at that! Thank you for your time! Your blog has been inspirational!
Posted by: Birungi Ives | September 13, 2010 at 10:05 PM
I just reviewed your profile on LinkedIn. We are both in the Social Media Marketing Group. After reading your blog and your profile, I very interested in speaking with you further. My company, Birungi Ives Global Media Enterprises, raises consumer awareness by showing how your purpose to spend can become spending with purpose. Through various enterprises, my company takes a holistic look at lifestyle by providing my market with information from our online magazine - The Global Echo Online Forum ( www.geof.us ), our Design Consultation Firm - B.ZEN ( www.bzen.biz ) and both a television show and product line in development. I have made it as far as the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. But, now I face one of the two largest hurdles to date, Funding and Visibility. I've met with Van Jones, spoken with Pierre Omidyar and taken photos with Rev. Jesse Jackson. Advisory panel established and Business plan percise and thorough. Now, I want to raise capital and raise visibility of my company. I would love the opportunity to tell you more. Please feel free to visit my websites, www.bzen.biz and www.geof.us ! I look forward to hearing from you!
Posted by: Birungi Ives | September 13, 2010 at 05:53 PM
Very interesting and good counsel for would be do-gooders. I already sent your post to two acquaintances and a former student trying to get into the DC-non-profit world.
Posted by: Bill Meierling | September 07, 2010 at 03:04 PM
I enjoyed reading your blog...totally agree that performance is critical to success, especially in the non-profit sector. Heart is important, but the brain is also critically important. What most people dont realize is that non-profit is also a business and it requires business skills to be successful. Thanks for including the non-profit sector - where people do most good :).
Posted by: Roma Bose | September 02, 2010 at 01:36 PM
Great insight and well-written piece. Thanks Amanda for handling a serious topic with lightheartedness and good content. Brenda B
Posted by: Brenda Bertrand | September 02, 2010 at 01:18 PM
I thought this was very insightful and so true! I feel that most woman have a hard time talking about their skills and abilities during interviews but more their interests. It's about finding a passion within the things you're skilled at doing. Then while explaining your excellent abilities, you can connect your work to your passions.
Posted by: Amy Lord | September 02, 2010 at 12:23 PM