Before leaving Crisis Nursery, my job was announced.  The announcement was placed on Crisis Nursery’s website, two local job banks and promoted through Twitter.  Within a week and a half, over 90 people had applied to be the next Communications and Marketing Manager for Crisis Nursery.

The candidates ranged from new graduates, nonprofit professionals and individuals who had extensive experience managing large corporate communications or marketing departments. Obviously there is no shortage of qualified individuals.  My supervisor was impressed by the people who applied. Many people have the skill sets to do my job and some of the people have exceptional experience to do the job maybe even better than me.  There’s no doubt that people with skills are out there, but I believe that the three determining factors for the candidate who gets my job are these: 1) a basic understanding of Crisis Nursery and it’s mission; 2) a passion for working with vulnerable populations; and 3) a good fit for the department and organization. 

During these difficult economic times, people are looking for work and considering work in different industries.  I’m amazed at the amount people switching from corporate careers to nonprofit.  I can pretty much say that I am a nonprofit “lifer.”  I can’t imagine working anywhere, but nonprofit.  I’m not going to count out working in other industries, but I love knowing I belong to a career that makes a difference.  Additionally, nonprofit work is never mundane.  Whether it’s working with difficult issues or people or trying to figure out how to fundraise to keep the lights on and the doors open, it’s a challenge and I LOVE IT.

If you are considering a career in nonprofit out of necessity (you will take whatever pays money) or because it’s your heart’s desire, remember there’s more to it than a paycheck.  When you work for a nonprofit, you work for children, men, women and communities who need your services.  Your job is more than just about you. 

With that being said, if you want to truly consider working for a nonprofit, figure out what causes your passionate about and apply for positions at nonprofits whose missions aligns with your interest.  There are many nonprofits to choose from–arts, children, health, community, elderly, education, drug prevention, schools, universities, faith-based and the list goes on and on. 

In your cover letter state why you want to work for these nonprofits. If you have a short personal story of how the nonprofit impacted your life or the life of someone you know, share it.  Getting a job in nonprofit is not just having the skills to do the job.  It’s apparent there are many people out there with skills. But what will set you above the rest is to demonstrate your understanding of the nonprofit, why their work is important and why it’s important to you.

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