For many people the nonprofit sector, also known as the “third sector,” can offer an exciting and rewarding career. With the exception of where the funding comes from, nonprofit organizations often are run very similarly to for-profit organizations. They also have to adhere to the same policies and may even hire similarly qualified people. This article will provide an overview of the types of jobs available in the nonprofit sector as well as some of the things to consider when looking for a non-profit job.


The development department is one of the largest and highest paying job categories in the nonprofit sector. Development professionals work on gathering the resources that fund the programs and initiatives run by the organization. These jobs are needed in order for the organization to stay alive thus affording the position to pay well and stay in the position of not likely to be cut. Jobs in development also tend to be less competitive than jobs in other departments. Such jobs here can include:

– Director of Development
– Fundraiser
– Proposal Writer
– Communication Professional


Being part of the program department is exciting and rewarding, especially since those who work in this department get to put their organization’s mission into action. These are the people who will be developing and implementing disaster relief plans in developing countries, or providing services to people with mental health challenges. Unfortunately program careers are very competitive and have a high burn out. These jobs include:

– Program Manager
– Program Assistant
– Policy Analyst
– Technical Advisor


Just like private sector companies, nonprofit sectors also need an administrative team to help organizations keep on their feet and run smoothly. These jobs are also good stepping-stones into programs careers or management level jobs.

– Human Resources
– Office Manager
– Receptionist

Important Things to Consider About Careers in the Nonprofit Sector

1. You’ll have to wear many hats – Nonprofits don’t always have the funds to hire a large staff, this means you may have to be the graphic designer, the social media coordinator and the grant writer.

2. You need to be passionate about the cause – Employers aren’t just looking for talented qualified workers, they are also looking for people who are passionate about the cause and will work hard to achieve the organization’s goals.

3. You’ll probably make less money – Nonprofits have less resources, this means your office may be less plush and your salary smaller.

4. Volunteer first – It’s important to volunteer or intern at a nonprofit to see if you like the culture and are actually passionate about the job. This also proves your commitment to an employer and can open up job opportunities.

5. Nonprofits are run like any other business – Managing finances and being cost effective are just as important to nonprofits as they are to businesses.

– Elizabeth Brown

Sources: Miami University, US News, Forbes
Gif: Borgen Project