What degree is best for nonprofit work?

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Choosing a career in nonprofit organizations requires a high degree of passion for a cause. When deciding what degree to pursue in the hope of working for a nonprofit, it is best to go the business or liberal arts route. What nonprofit organizations are looking for is smart, business-savvy people who are passionate about their cause and do not give up in the face of adversity.

Why Business?

Nonprofit organizations are always looking for people who understand business and how to stay afloat when no money is being made. A business-savvy individual who can handle the administrative tasks of trying not to drown is an extremely valuable player.

The heart of non-profit work is fundraising. People with good business skills are more likely to have ideas and higher success at fundraisers. Entry-level positions at many organizations mostly consist of event planning and donation tracking. You will likely be an assistant to some type of director and will be given the benefit of working closely with them and observing their day-to-day. Business students understand the importance of close proximity to people in power. Be a sponge and learn all you can while helping with tasks wherever it is appropriate.

The Power Of Volunteering

Finding the time to volunteer can be hard if you already have your hands full with school. However, volunteering for local non-profits and charities is the best thing you can do for your future in the non-profit world. Not only does it build your resume, it shows that you care about helping people and that you are willing to go the extra mile to reach out. Thousands of people apply for non-profit work every day; it can be an intimidating job market for well-established and renowned organizations. Getting a career started in non-profit work will rely on your own perseverance and dedication to volunteer work. Additionally, if there is a program that you regularly volunteer for, they might make room for you in a permanent paid position after you graduate.

Graduate Work

As you gain experience and move up in the non-profit industry, you will be able to focus more on the big picture and the direction your organization is going. At this point, you may find that a master’s in business administration will be helpful. Non-profits need help remaining sustainable, and an MBA can provide the knowledge and skills necessary to stay afloat. In this environment, you will learn the business side of an organization and how to run it without heavy financial losses. You may find yourself moving into a management position or even a CFO.

You may also consider a master’s in public policy. This degree would aim more at the public opinion and how it affects your organization. The path from here would be to director of public policy or vice presidency.

Non-profit work is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding careers, and it is always growing. If there is a cause you are passionate about and want to devote your life to, a degree in business is your key to getting there. Don’t forget to volunteer often, and remember to have fun.