Unlike the business sector where decisions are based on making profits, a not-for-profit organization makes its decisions primarily in accordance with its mission of service to society; any revenues raised above expenses are channeled back into the work of the organization instead of distributed to shareholders. While there are many types of nonprofits, the ones we most often think of are charitable or philanthropic organizations.
The ability to change positions in the not-for-profit, for-profit, and public service sectors is in large measure dependent upon your credentials, your job responsibilities, and the relative size of the organizations involved. In smaller organizations, you will find more generalists, while in larger organizations, more specialists. Frequently, and particularly in small not-for-profits, staff members are asked to perform a variety of tasks.
Job search tips
In many ways conducting a job search for a position with a not-for-profit organization is very much like looking for a position with a for-profit organization. Most not-for-profits cannot anticipate their staffing needs until the spring. To capitalize on this hiring cycle, The Fair at Wellesley is held in the spring. Students interested in not-for-profit work are advised to conduct research, complete and refine resumes and cover letters, do internships, and network with potential employers to learn about job openings during the fall and winter.
Wellesley Alumnae have attended these graduate programs
Under the broad category of students interested in charities/philanthropy, students have primarily chosen traditional degrees to prepare for work in this field.
A Law degree (note: many law school have loan forgiveness programs for students interested in public interest law, especially the larger schools, e.g.TheBernardKoteenOfficeofPublicInterestAdvisingatHarvardLaw)
An MBA (note: business schools are increasingly introducing programs on Social Enterprise, e.g.,TheSocialEnterpriseProgramatColumbiaBusinessSchool)
A master’s degree in education, e.g.HarvardGraduateSchoolofEducation
A master’s degree in Human Rights degree
A master’s degree in Public Policy
TheCenteronPhilanthropyatIndianUniversity offers master’s levels programs in philanthropy that may be of interest to some students.
Books (available CWS Library or through the Wellesley College Library Online Database)
Philanthropy and the Non-Profit Sector in a Changing America; Clotfelter, Ehrlich (2001)
Understanding Philanthropy: Its Meaning and Mission; Payton (2008)
Paths to employment
Children’sHospital – Boston
MuseumofFineArts - Boston
Be the Difference ❘ Center for Work and Service ❘ Green Hall 441 ❘ www.wellesley.edu/CWS