A common misunderstanding is that nonprofit organizations do not have paid employees. In most cases, this is not true. Some nonprofits rely only on volunteers, but the vast majority have professional paid staff to carry out their programs, services, and day-to-day operations.
The nonprofit sector is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the United States and offers a wide variety of career opportunities.
Types of Nonprofit Jobs
Many of the jobs found in the nonprofit sector are nearly identical to those in the for-profit sector. For example, an accountant or information technology specialist position does not vary much depending on the sector. Other positions, however, are distinctive to the nonprofit sector, such as volunteer coordinator or fundraising manager. Typical jobs in a nonprofit organization can be classified in the following broad categories:
- Senior management: executive director, associate director, chief operating officer
- Programs and service delivery: program coordinator, program associate, project manager, director of special initiatives
- Administration, human resources and finance: accountant, administrative assistant, office manager, human resources manager, information technology manager
- Development and fundraising: grant writer, director of major gifts, donor relations manager, coordinator of planned giving
- Communications: graphic designer, publicist, community outreach specialist, marketing associate, public relations manager, social media coordinator
The types of jobs available within a nonprofit organization can vary greatly. The main reasons for this are organizational size and budget. For instance, a large international nonprofit such as the American Red Cross would have a wider variety of positions and more specialized jobs available than a small local nonprofit focused on after school programs for children.
Another common misunderstanding is that nonprofit employees earn far less money than those working with for-profit companies and the government. This is not the case. In fact, earnings are very similar across sectors and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that salaries of full-time employees at nonprofit organizations actually exceeded those working with for-profit companies. Access a comparison of pay by sector.