Why I Went Non-Profit

A great internship in college and the mentality of the non-profit sector shaped my current career path. Now, what do I mean by “the mentality of the non-profit sector”? When you work in a non-profit organization, it’s entirely mission-driven. You are passionate about your organization and are willing to deal with fewer resources because you feel that you can still meet your goals.

Don’t confuse that with meaning anything for-profit can’t be mission driven. Not at all. I know plenty of for-profit companies and employees who are trying just as hard to make a difference in the world. After having such a great experience with my internship, I just wanted to make sure to include this sector in the job hunt. No matter what my career path evolves to, there will always be a tie into non-profit work.

I remember my very first day of the temp assignment. I walked through the doors of the YWCA and was hit with the branding. There were all these posters about “empowering women” and “eliminating racism”. It hadn’t been the first time I’d heard an organization proclaiming that type of mission.

However, over the course of the month, it was the first time I’d seen a non-profit staff who all seemed to fully believe in it. It wasn’t catch phrases or phony, scripted conversations. It was in the details. Everyone had some other volunteer project going. It always involved their community. It always involved getting resources to those that needed most. Often, these were the same resources we needed as well.

Becoming a full-time employee, I felt like I had a big opportunity on my hands. Some of the services we provide hit very close to home for me. Clients I was handling paperwork for weren’t just statistics. These were people trying to make ends meet like myself. Getting access to services that, if I had been aware of them earlier on in life, I’d have signed up for myself.

And I think that’s the same across organizations. Right now we’re in a really exciting time regarding how businesses approach causes. The line between for-profit & non-profit strategies continues to blur. Cause marketing is a hot topic. It’s not just about philanthropy anymore (though we will always need that).

I’m inundated with facts that my generation relates to causes and not specific brands. I don’t think that’s a new frame of mind, but we’ll work with it. I think everyone should have the opportunity to work in both sectors to draw their own conclusions. For me, it’s a wonderful worldview to continue honing. When it’s time for me to move into the tech sector (and therefore for-profit sector), I feel like I’ll have many transferable skills.