How to Make a Career Change from For-Profit to Nonprofit

a meeting with coworkers

Apr 21, 2021

Many individuals have reassessed their careers this year - whether it’s career choice, work environment, or work-life balance. In discovering what matters most to employees now, many individuals have transitioned from a corporate position in the for-profit sector to working in the nonprofit sector. 

We’ve outlined step-by-step questions and considerations as you explore this switch. 

1. What are you passionate about?

Deciding what you are passionate about can be the most vital piece to finding a fulfilling career when switching from corporate to nonprofit. Corporate jobs may offer higher salaries, so it’s essential to know your “why” when you make your employment change. Most people that make the switch to the nonprofit sector do so because of a higher calling that is tied to something beyond financial success.

2. Which local nonprofits can you participate with?

Your passion will be the first step. Your second step will be the search for relevant local nonprofits that offer work in your area of interest. Volunteering with these organizations will help you get your feet wet and develop a feel for how the organization operates. This approach will make your eventual transition from for-profit to nonprofit much easier. Businesses with a nonprofit status operate under many different bylaws, so it can be very beneficial to gain experience in this space before making the switch to full-time.

3. Communicate your new schedule with those around you.

Nonprofit work tends to require more or different hours than a standard 9 am-5 pm job.  Setting scheduling expectations with your family and friends can be a great asset for a smooth transition from for-profit to nonprofit work. Be realistic with your time as you adapt to your new schedule.

4. Prepare to make a difference - big or small.

Just like all jobs, some days you’ll see big fruits of your labor, and other days will involve the minutiae of daily work. Prepare yourself for big wins, significant changes, and lasting impacts of nonprofit work, but remember that the small steps help get you there. From filing and scheduling to acquiring a considerable donation or fundraising goal, your “why” will keep you motivated to create a legacy for good in the nonprofit space.

Online Nonprofit Management Degree at CCU

Colorado Christian University’s online nonprofit management degree will provide you with the broad-based knowledge needed to increase effectiveness and bring sustainability to nonprofit organizations. Learn how a nonprofit management degree will push you forward in the nonprofit industry. 

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