Finding a job at a Non-Profit

Posted by Adam. on January 28, 2019


This isn’t going to include ambiguous tips like, “find a cause you’re passionate in” or “volunteer/think beyond salary”. While tailored to non-profits, this is a technical approach to getting traffic from employers, and the same ideas can be applied to the commercial sector as well.

Stuff you can do right now, online

  • Start by looking at job portals. Indeed is a big one but it’s not going to be great if you’re looking for a very specific job. Plenty of people game the hiring process on big sites like indeed, so you’re profile isn’t going to be very visible in comparison to the massive amounts of traffic they get. This shouldn’t dissuade you from applying still, but you’ll need to get their attention in a better way.

  • The best way to get their attention is by talking to the right people. The personal information of hiring managers is as good as if not better than knowing someone who works there. Searching through linkedin for hr managers might lead to some results, connect any of these hiring managers you find, and come up with a short note explaining why you want to connect. Not all of them will accept, but if they do, you’re in a really good position. You can’t talk to people outside of your network without a premium plan on linkedin – by getting individuals that work for the employers you work for, the better chance of finding a mutual connection that leads to a hiring manager or employer.

  • Update your linkedin description – don’t say you have a basic understanding of anything, you’re a specialist. Even if you do have a basic understanding, be confident in yourself that you can fake it until you are an expert. There’s a difference between falsifying skillsets and being confident in yourself.

Ideas that require more effort but more reliable results

  • Rotary is everywhere, and they have plenty of money. Same with AARP, they’re retirees with money to burn. These are the types of places that would love to hear from you, especially if you’re passionate about a cause that aligns with theirs. I don’t know the best way to go about persuading them, it might be better to ask how you can help instead of trying to sell yourself to them. You’ll have to feel out what the meeting is going to be like.

  • These organizations work together between local clubs to some degree. Once you convince a member to connect with you, they’ll be able to connect you to the right people. I really don’t think you’ll have a problem getting a connection with someone, it might take some time though.

  • Start interviewing individuals that are in positions of power. Leaders of non profits, owners of local businesses that give back to the community, or people you just find interesting. Identify something you admire about them, and ask them about their process. Post these publicly, and advertise them. If you’re a social media manager, you should be actively managing social media for yourself. Non profits want exposure, and you can give it to them. It’s much more appealing for an employer to know that their time with you will benefit them somehow. Your job isn’t to brown nose them, but instead to try to get them to open up about their company. If you’re engaging and you’re not fishing for compliments, your admiration should be received naturally to them. You post your interview with them, and there’s a good chance they’ll share it on their (much larger) social media presence. Rinse and repeat until you get as many connections as you can. Jobs will eventually come to you if you stick with this. When work is slow or you’re looking for anew position, it will be much easier to link up with a potential lead, because they already know you personally.

  • Freelance is a good way to get a foot in the door at a company. There’s a lot of competition, so you’re options are to either make your prices cheaper than the competition to get a higher reputation as a contractor, or somehow appeal to the employer in some other way. Direct communication is the only way I know, unless you know they want something you have that others can’t provide as well, in which case leverage that as much as you can.