Careers in Nonprofits

Work With a Cause

Learn About Nonprofits

What is a nonprofit?

The nonprofit sector includes organizations that work to fill gaps left by government and business sectors by directly or indirectly working with communities. Unlike businesses which exist to make money for their owners or shareholders, nonprofit organizations exist to promote a cause or to provide a public service. It's okay for nonprofits to earn a profit, but those profits are re-invested in the organization, rather than disbursed among stakeholders or pocketed by other owners as business profits are.

Examples of Nonprofits

Nonprofit Networking

Career Fields Within Nonprofits

  • Social Services
  • Education
  • Health
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Consulting
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Fundraising/Development
  • Community Outreach
  • Research
  • Law
  • Information Technology

Common Job Titles

Counselor/ Case Worker/ Social Worker: Generally works with individuals and/or groups providing counseling, referrals and case management.

Educator/ Trainer: Creates curriculum and provides education to individuals and groups.

Lobbyist: Conducts policy analysis and advocacy on either a local, state, or national level.

Organizer: Conducts education and action campaigns around certain issues; there are both union organizers and community organizers.

Program or Project Assistant/ Coordinator/Manager/ Director: Varying levels of work relating directly to a program of the organization.

Volunteer Coordinator: Recruits volunteers for an organization.

Community Organizer/ Outreach Specialist/ Relations Director: To create and coordinate community outreach opportunities that increase awareness and support for programs and services.

Administrative Assistant: Provides clerical assistance to staff and often performs a range of tasks

Development Assistant/ Associate/ Manager/ Director: Raises money for the organization, potentially through methods including grant writing, special events, and individual donors.

Fundraising Coordinator / Manager/ Director: Oversees fundraising team, and establishes effective strategies for effective fundraising. Develops and implement strategies to raise funds, write grants, and conducts research on foundations and corporations.

Executive Director: Oversees operation of an entire organization and often is the staff person spending the most time on fundraising.

Grant Writer/ Manager/ Director: Writes grant proposals to private foundations and/or government agencies.

Policy Analyst: Policy analysts work to influence political and social


Office Manager: Oversees general operation of an office; could include some accounting, acting as liaison with vendors, and maintaining equipment.

Program Officer: Manages the creation of grants in a foundation or government agency.

Public Relations Assistant/ Coordinator/ Manager/ Director: Manages publicity and public relations for an organization, often acting as liaison with the media.

Starting A Nonprofit

There are many graduate programs geared for individuals interested in starting or managing a nonprofit. Common areas of study are:

· Theory and Management of Nonprofit Organizations
· Program Evaluation
· Fundraising
· Nonprofit Human Resources
· Ethical Issues in Professional Practice
· Community Assessment and Empowerment
· Managing Volunteers
· Innovation and Change in Nonprofit Organizations
· Grant Writing for Nonprofit Organizations
· Leadership
· Group, Team, and Organizational Development
· Human Resources Development
· Theory and Practice of Educational Change
· Administrative Law
· Strategic Human Resource & Organization Development

Additional Resources for Starting A Nonprofit

Foundation Center

Grant Space