5 Qualities To Help Turn Your Passion Into A Non-Profit Career
Mission-driven work is demanding but worth it. The nonprofit world is full of incredible opportunities to advance your career and support a worthy cause. That said, it takes more than a passion for doing good in the world to survive the nonprofit sector.
Employers are looking for a rare combination of qualities that embody the perfect candidate. If you want to further your career in the nonprofit sector, highlight these skill sets:
1. People Skills
“People skills” encompass a broad skill set. The combination of empathy and spot-on communication is essential to thriving in the nonprofit arena. No matter which role you have, communication through written and speaking skills combined with compassion is the perfect recipe for standing out among other candidates. Building relationships and moving people to action is at the core of the nonprofit industry. Having the skill set to engage volunteers, fundraise, and effectively work with a team is essential to drive mission-based work.
These features are excellent qualities to display, especially if you lack work experience. You can demonstrate these skills during the hiring process. In your written application and interviews, paint a picture of how you effectively communicate, mediate, and resolve situations. You can use examples from extracurricular activities or school projects if you haven’t had much work experience. Suppose you want to switch careers to the nonprofit world. In that case, you can still showcase these skills through examples from past experiences, no matter the industry. It’s essential not just to demonstrate how good you are at communication but also to highlight why it’s valuable for people. Link your compassion with your communication and you will undoubtedly stand out.
2. Software & Database Knowledge
Candidates interested in nonprofit work may think all they must do to get the job is to show they care about the organisation’s cause. What candidates could be missing is the detailed and tedious work behind the scenes that keeps an organization afloat. Nonprofit associations heavily rely on databases and software to run. If you already know specific software, make sure to emphasise your experience with them. Nonprofits need to hire fast learners since they will likely update versions of their database and other software frequently.
Your intended role in the organization may not connect to understanding technology in depth. That said, employers will still rely on you to enter detailed notes, manage multifaceted tasks, and handle shifting schedules quickly within certain software. Understanding multiple databases and software is an underrated skill set that will impress employers.
3. Understanding Of Objectives
Be sure to do your due diligence on the nonprofit you wish to work for. If the organization works with a particular demographic of people, be sure to gain a comprehensive understanding of the culture to show you can effectively work with them. A treasured example of this is bilingualism. If you don’t speak other languages relevant to the work, that’s alright. You can still research and understand a community’s needs.
Studying the goals of the organization helps show your interest. Take it a step further and reference these goals throughout your application. Showcase your knowledge and make the person hiring you view your appeal as cohesive. This familiarity will also reveal to the employer that you have research skills and are highly motivated.
A big turnoff to nonprofit employers is a candidate unwilling to do specific duties because they think it’s beneath them. Nonprofits are already under intense pressure to carry out extraordinary goals under a small budget. Employees are likely to be thrown into different roles at a moment’s notice and should make the most of it. Emphasise that you are willing to go the extra mile and help out wherever help is needed. It will also benefit you in the long run, should you get the job, because well-rounded employees are invaluable to an organization.
5. Passion & How To Show It
It’s not enough to prove that you understand the mission of an organization. Nonprofits struggle with retention due to the demanding nature of the job. Hence, employers often look for passion as a signal for a long-term commitment. A great way to show you genuinely care about a cause is to tell the story of how you became passionate about it. Plan your narrative ahead of time to make it more engaging. Ask yourself who or what introduced you to the cause. Perhaps you were on a school field trip when you were young, or maybe you stumbled upon it suddenly. What inspired you to become involved? Was it something you never imagined yourself doing? Or did you know since you were a kid that you wanted to get into the work? Be sure to stay honest and stay true to yourself.
Working in the nonprofit world is an enriching experience. Turning your passion into an actual career can bring joy and meaning to your work. With these qualities, you will surely stand out.