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3 Things to Consider for Transitioning to the Nonprofit Sector

"New career - go ahead" yellow road sign against blue sky

Have you succeeded, thrived and built skills and expertise in your current work, but believe it may be time for a change? Do you want to change the world? Then working in the nonprofit sector may be the right transition for you. 

The social sector is a great place to work. It's the third largest workforce in the United States representing five percent of the GDP — and those that are part of it are helping to make the world a better place! The social sector helps people improve their quality of life, helps animals survive and thrive, and cities and towns grow. Museums, hospitals, theaters, and economic development corporations are just some of the 1.5 million nonprofit organizations represented in the United States today. Certainly working in the sector is gratifying. That is why 10 percent of the U.S. workforce is employed by nonprofits. 

But no matter how many times you've changed jobs, finding a new job can be a scary process. So, finding a new job in a NEW sector can be a really scary process. Securing a job in the nonprofit sector requires thought and planning. Here are three things to consider if you are thinking of a career switch:

Where does my passion lie?

Working in the nonprofit sector is both a profession and a lifestyle. Work/life balance is redefined as nonprofit professionals raise awareness for their organizations everyday in all aspects of their lives. Identifying your areas of passion will help you craft and tell convincing stories to create advocates for your cause. More about how to find causes you care about.

How does my current experience translate?

Passion is a driver, but experience gets the work done efficiently and effectively. If you are considering a move to the nonprofit sector, consider which of your skills are most relevant to and needed by the organizations on your target list. Fast Company and CommonGood Careers have examples of in-demand skills in the social sector.

How do I "break in" to the nonprofit sector?

Nonprofit recruitment, with the exceptions of the highest levels, has a unique structure. To get noticed you will need to articulate your value and quantify how you can help. Bridgespan has a nice article on how to market yourself in the nonprofit sector, among other resources for jobseekers.

Interested in learning more? Then join me for a Foundation Center webinar, "Transitioning to the Nonprofit Sector", on Thursday, January 21, from 2:00-3:00pm ET, to find the tools to determine if a move to the nonprofit sector is the right move for you. 

Marti Fischer

Marti Fischer is a New York City-based career coach and nonprofit development consultant helping individuals and organizations hone their communication skills in order to “Achieve Their Next.” Marti can be reached through her website, www.martifischergroup.com

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