is a non-profit job a real job

When someone decides to work in the non-profit sector, one of the first questions they are asked is - 'is that a real job?'. This is because of the following:

  • General lack of understanding about volunteer jobs
  • General skepticism about the pay of volunteer jobs

Jobs in non-profit organizations are not glamorous. You must be sure of the reasons you are willing to work in the volunteer sector, what you are expecting out of the experience, and what you can bring to the organization.

General Facts

There are some general facts and guidelines when it comes to jobs in the non-profit organizations. These should be considered when thinking about employment in the volunteer segment.

  • Salaries in non-profit organizations can range from below poverty levels to near ,000 per year
  • Non-profit organizations have employment contracts, conditions and disciplinary procedures similar to private employers. There are also trade unions and representatives.
  • Non-profit organizations deal even more with budgets, targets, policy operation issues than the private sector.
  • Persons involved in non-profit organizations can be involved in decisions affecting others, many times in life and death situations.
  • Non-profit organizations can have a great amount of influence depending on a variety of factors.
  • Skills acquired from jobs in non-profit organizations are often transferable to other types of employment in other sectors.
  • Jobs in non-profit organizations are an often time more team-oriented which makes these type of jobs more favorable to employers from other sectors.
  • Organization and efficiency are key parts of any job with non-profit organizations because of their reliance on cost effectiveness.

Other Positive Attributes

Other than the facts above, gaining a job in a non-profit organization can provide many more positive applications in future employment goals. Here are a few:

  • Add to your CV - any visible use of time and skills is a good addition to a CV
  • Develop new skills - working with non-profits helps gain experience and training
  • Shows responsibility - many jobs in non-profit organizations are responsibility driven and oriented.
  • Develops resourcefulness - many times budgets and resources are limited, meaning you will need to be resourceful to get the job done completely and properly.
  • Shows motivation - initiative and motivation are something any employer will look for in a future employee
  • Widens your network - working within non-profits will give you access to a variety of people who would not normally be connected to you.
  • A contribution to society - having a desire to contribute and work towards larger goals is another attribute employer's watch for.

While many people around you will ask if a job in a non-profit organization is a real job, the organization itself will want to ensure that you consider your employment a real job also. You should approach jobs in non-profit organizations with an understanding that they are as real as any job in either the private or public sector; and often times can be a training ground for better future employment.