Considering a Career in Charity Work?

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Considering a Career in Charity Work?

Whether you are a new college graduate or find yourself thinking about a career change, you might want to consider sharing your skills with those organizations that contribute to a better life for millions in need. According to the Institute for Policy Studies at John Hopkins University, more than 10 percent of the American work force are employed by charities.

If your skills are in fund raising, finance, program management, health care or education, you are in great demand by non-profit organizations that need your talents and commitment. Do your homework! Now that you've decided on a charity career, here are questions you might want to consider:

  • Matching Mission: Do you have a passion for the organization's mission? If you are an artist by heart, a museum or gallery is a perfect fit. If AIDS has touched you or someone you love and you are passionate about more funding for research, then a community advocate, fund raising director or program consultant might be the right match.

  • Position and Credentials: Is the “job” right for you? While you might have the right “match” mission wise, consider the opportunity itself. Getting your foot in the door might mean getting stuck in an agency that is small with little turn over if you don't start off in the right job. Talk to current employees, board and community members. Gain a sense of the value the organization plays on advancement.

  • Standing in Community, Region or Nation: Is this an organization that is well respected? Is it a good steward of funding and is it effective on a local or national basis? Would you be proud to be affiliated with this agency? If you are a fundraiser, can you make the case for giving and would you give to the agency yourself? If the organization is struggling, don't necessarily run the other way—think about how your presence will make a difference and help it flourish.

  • Quality of Life and Time: Working for a charity is more than a job—it is truly a way of life. Weekend work, events, board meetings—all demand time away from family, friends and sometimes leisure time. Make sure this is truly where you want to be. Once you begin, you will discover new meaning to “enjoyment” where events become part of your social life, your colleagues become friends and board members—committed mentors.

To learn more about opportunities in the non-profit/charity field take a look at the following sites and keep in mind that you can also find opportunities in your community.

The Association of Fund raising Professionals. You don't have to be a member to search positions or actually apply.

In the same way The Chronicle of Higher Education is deemed the Bible for academia; the Chronicle of Philanthropy gives you the most up-to-date information about philanthropy as a profession; trends in giving; and research that helps you understand how world events, the economy and government influence giving. The Chronicle of Philanthropy is one of the most comprehensive job site in the industry.

If you are interested in having a voice in changing the world, tune into -- the premier resource for all levels and types of grass roots positions for thousands of socially committed non-profits worldwide! Idealist is one of the most innovative organizations inspiring thousands of professionals throughout the world who are committed to social and humanitarian causes; educational enterprises and cultural communities.



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Lynne Christen