Part 2: How to Become a Nonprofit Professional

Volunteering or Interning for a Nonprofit

Most nonprofit job positions require experience, but the challenge is how to have relative experience on your resume when you are looking for your first job.  To build experience, consider volunteering or interning for a nonprofit while finishing up your last year of education. This will help you build your resume and also gain firsthand knowledge of the inner workings of a nonprofit office.

During your internship, ask for opportunities to get more involved: sit in on a Board meeting to see how the governing leaders oversee the organization; meet with executive level staff members and ask them how they excelled to their current leadership position; take on volunteer projects that will help you gain specific skills like volunteering for the charity’s annual gala or golf tournament or offer to assist with program delivery and work one-on-one with the nonprofit’s clients; learn how to read financial statements and budgets by spending time with the organization’s CFO or other financial officer; or sit down with human resources and ask them what they look for when hiring a candidate.


Offer your technology-savvy expertise

As a young individual, you can offer your technology-savvy expertise.  The same skills that have helped you keep in contact with your friends are transferable to the professional world.  You can now help nonprofits keep in contact with their constituents by setting up and managing their facebook page, twitter account, and blog posts.  You can help them create a e-philanthropy program including email appeals, donations online, and setting up giving web pages to encourage individuals to set goals and solicit their peers for donations.  Also, you can offer great insight and ideas on how nonprofits can get younger people engaged with the nonprofit from appealing volunteer opportunities to after-work networking mixers.




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