Working for charity organizations can be one of the most satisfying career paths available. These organizations often offer steady employment and compelling mission statements that will help motivate you to do your best each day.
But if you’re considering starting a career in the non-profit sector, you should also be wary of the negative factors that come into play, especially when you spend several years in the area.
We spoke with employees of charity organizations to better understand the pros and cons of jobs like theirs.
Below you’ll find a simplified overview of these pros and cons, all of which you should take into consideration when deciding whether to find a similar job for yourself.
The many benefits of working for a charity organization can range from practical to emotional. It’s not all just about getting a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
A Cause You Believe In
Perhaps the greatest benefit of working for a charity organization or a non-profit is the fact that you’ll be contributing to a cause that you believe in.
Many of us talk about improvements we would like to see in the world from the comfort of our homes or workplaces, but only a select few follow through on those beliefs and actually work to see them take place.
Working for a charity organization makes you one of those select few. Even if your role is simply administrative, not involved with the direct charity work of the group, you’re still contributing to the overall impact of that organization.
The importance of believing in what you do just can’t be overstated. When you have a real appreciation for what you do, you’re so much likely to stay motivated and actually enjoy going in to work each day.
And when you enjoy your work, it makes it that much easier to enjoy your life as a whole.
Student Loan Relief
In the U.S. there are programs that offer student loan forgiveness if an individual works for a non-profit organization for a certain period of time.
There are many detailed requirements for earning this forgiveness, but this example serves as a way in which working for a charity organization can benefit you financially.
It will be up to you to find ways in which you can receive financial benefits for working with a non-profit, as these instances vary from state to state.
But knowing that these breaks are possible make for a major advantage in the long run.
Charity organizations often provide the possibility for engaging in some highly interesting work. Some organizations throw large fundraising events, and you could be placed in charge of coordinating such an event.
Many charities also involve tasks in which employees can interact directly with the people or animals they’re helping.
These experiences can sometimes be challenging as well, but they will prove time and time again to be positive experiences, ones that remind you of why you became involved with the organization in the first place.
Having interesting daily work can also help you prevent becoming bored with your job or daydreaming, making it easier to do great work.
But there are also several major downsides to working within the nonprofit sector. None of these factors is necessarily a dealbreaker, but ultimately that decision will be up to you.
If, for example, you don’t think you’re emotionally prepared for the work that you’d be doing with a charity, then you may want to wait for a few months to see whether you now feel able and willing.
Don’t underestimate your gut feeling about a certain job.
Working for charities can be a very emotionally challenging experience. The work often involves interacting directly with those who need some extra help.
You may find yourself face-to-face with some highly uncomfortable situations. You may become more accustomed to such experiences over time, but it’s also possible to fold under the pressure of a charity job.
When working with a charity, it’s important to take care of yourself, just as important as it is to care for others.
Consider undergoing weekly therapy or finding other ways to ask yourself on a regular basis how you’re feeling and whether you need a break.
Don’t be afraid to ask for some time off or a chance to work within a different department of the organization.
Certain organizations may also provide detailed seminars that can show you ways to destress or process difficult information.
It’s fairly common for nonprofit jobs to offer relatively modest salaries. This is in line with the overall mission of these organizations as they want to put as much money as possible toward their charity work.
There are exceptions, but as a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t expect to make massive wages when working for a charity organization.
Review your personal financial situation and try to set a lower limit for what you can earn at a new job while remaining financially secure.
There are certainly those who only want a job if it won’t require their full attention at all times. And these people should probably stay far away from jobs in the nonprofit sector.
When working with a charity organization of any kind, you will need to commit yourself fully, dedicating much of your time to remaining present and enthusiastic while working.
You’ll need to maintain a high work ethic as well, always asking yourself whether you could be doing more.
After all, the effects of your work should be fairly tangible, meaning that you’ll be able to keep a strong connection in your mind between your daily tasks and who is being helped.
Being lazy while working for a charity will only hurt yourself, your coworkers, and the people you’re all trying to help.
Careers in the nonprofit sector certainly aren’t for everyone. They require your full involvement and can even be depressing or discouraging at times.
But of all the charity workers we spoke with, every one of them said they were confident in their career choice.
None of them would prefer a different life. They find joy and satisfaction in their work, and as a result, they feel happy.
And if you’re unhappy with your job, then you may want to follow in their footsteps.