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Is Working for a Non-Profit the Right Path for You?

Cecile Peterkin -- While working in the nonprofit sector may not be as rewarding as other jobs in terms of monetary compensation, the opportunity to serve other people is a good career option.

Currently job hunting? Working for a nonprofit organization should definitely be part of your plan because it allows you to do some very challenging work in a variety of industries. As a nonprofit worker, you gain the ability to serve other people and effect some positive change in society. If helping others is your passion, you will surely enjoy your time working in a nonprofit. But, before you do so, take the time to look at the advantages and disadvantages so you can make a well-informed decision.

Advantages of working for a nonprofit:

Chance to work with interesting individuals. Not everyone is willing to work without any guaranteed compensation, of course. While money is often the highest motivation for people looking for a job, this is not the case for those who choose to belong to nonprofit groups. Indeed, there is something about these people that makes them want to work toward a bigger and more rewarding goal.

Personal growth. Nonprofit employees often find themselves being assigned to several tasks or projects at once. This is due to the fact that such organizations at times don’t have the luxury of having many volunteers. As a worker, this can be challenging, but it can also lead to faster skills and personality development, which you can use when you look for a different career in the future.

Personal satisfaction. Being part of a nonprofit organization gives you a chance to offer your own time for a particular cause. This is something that not everyone gets to experience with their corporate jobs. Especially for those who have spent their lives working, doing something that is in line with their passion or hobby is really gratifying.

Disadvantages of working for a nonprofit

Salary. While there are some nonprofit organizations that are able to pay their staff some competitive compensation, most groups don’t have this ability. Instead, in most cases, they offer benefit packages to their volunteers. Take time to do some research on this so you know what to expect.

Working hours. The goal of nonprofit organizations is to have a positive effect in the community. This may require workers to spend longer hours just to achieve a particular goal. But then again, this should not be an issue if you are doing something you are passionate about.

Undesirable work environment. It is very unlikely for nonprofit groups to afford all the equipment and technology you would often see in private workplaces. So for workers, this means perhaps having to do a lot of things manually, or at times having to spend for their own needs at work.


There is no doubt that working in the nonprofit sector is a good career option. However, this may not be as rewarding as any other jobs, especially in terms of monetary compensation. Thus, you have to make sure that doing it is what your heart truly desires. Talking to a life coaching expert about this may help you decide whether or not this is the path you should take.

Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Center, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe.

© 2014 Cecile Peterkin

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.