Volunteering Can Lead to Nonprofit Jobs by Snow Timms

There is a misconception that professionals can not make money working for a nonprofit organization. Yes, there are positions that receive less pay less in nonprofits than they do in the private sector, but there are many that pay just as well for experienced individuals.

The truth of the matter is that nonprofits and for-profits need the same things – well-run and managed operations to sustain their missions long-term. The large, successful nonprofits are the best examples. They have a sound resource development infrastructure in place that includes a diverse funding plan from multiple sources and identifies goals, strategies, activities, and detailed action steps to achieve the plan’s stated goals. Many nonprofits are lead by former corporate executives or individuals that came from the independent sector or professionals looking for more rewarding positions.

For those looking to transition into the nonprofit sector but have little experience, check out opportunities to enhance your resume in a specific area of interest.

●     Start at your local community volunteer center or local community nonprofit organizations. These groups are always looking for volunteers. Many times volunteers are needed to assist with programs and services, administrative support, marketing, advocacy, or other areas of assistance. Events are among the best opportunities for volunteering because they have a clear beginning and end.

●     Venues to check for short and long-term volunteer positions include places where organizations recruit for volunteers and post job descriptions such as: SmartVolunteer.org, Onebrick.org, Volunteerinfo.net, and YNPNChicago.org.

●     After you have added some volunteer experience, you can look for nonprofit jobs at: npo.net, indeed.com, philanthropycareers.com or chicago.oodle.com.

●     Research nonprofit organizations on GuideStar by reviewing their 990 annual report. Check the attorney general’s report for a current filing or other posted information. Look for an active board of directors. The IRS also provides a listing of those not current. Do your due diligence as with any company.

My nonprofit career started with a volunteer opportunity too. I had a full-time job and initially began volunteering by serving on a nonprofit organization’s event committee. Over the years I continued volunteering with the group and gained enough experience to serve on boards of various organizations. These experiences gave me the background to go into part-time consulting, while still working a full-time job. After earning a fundraising certificate at Indiana University and launching my business profile at an expo, I was able to resign from my job and work on consulting full-time.  Today, 18 years after serving on that event committee, I have consulted for more than 50 nonprofit organizations and have the career I always wanted.

Snow Timms is a Senior Consultant with Timms Associates Development Consultants (TADC), a team of professionals uniquely qualified to assist nonprofits with all aspects of their organizational needs. As a professional and Senior Consultant, Snow Timms has held management positions in development and founded a consulting firm in 1992. She has successfully guided more than 50 organizations in achieving their organizational goals.  Prior to starting her company, Snow earned a degree from Loyola University and worked as an accountant and financial analyst.

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