Post # 1
So I’ve really been thinking seriously about making a career change. Or a career start I guess you could say.
I dropped out of college because I had no idea what I wanted. And I’m still not sure I want to go back (and if I do, I’m not sure what I’d go for).
But for the past few years I’ve realized that I keep gravitating towards non-profit organizations and I think I’d REALLY like to work for one, even if it’s just doing admin assistant stuff. I just feel the need to be part of an organization that helps people.
Problem is, I obviously don’t have a degree. And I have no experience working for a non-profit.
And I’ve only volunteered, like, 5 times in my life, which I feel endlessly guilty about, especially since I want to work for a non-profit. Problem is, I have anxiety and I’m afraid that if I DO volunteer, I’ll be out of place or I won’t be “good enough.” Like I’ll have no idea what I’m going. Or I won’t belong.
Or if I do apply for a job with a non-profit, they’ll laugh at me because I haven’t done much volunteering yet or I don’t have a degree. (and I’m 27 and I feel like that’s too old to start something like this).
So I guess my question is, where do I start? Should I volunteer first? Or just start sending resumes? Or should I go back to school? And if I do, what do I major in?
Kinda confused, even though my heart is really telling me this is where I belong. Ideally I’d like to be involved with an organization dedicated to the arts so … sigh. I’m just confused. And nervous. And feeling lost.
Post # 3
You should volunteer and look at job postings. It will probably be difficult to find a position that doesn’t require a degree.
Start volunteering with the organizations that you are most interested and go from there. The non-profit world (at least around here) is all about connections and who you know, as well as experience.
Post # 4
Call your nearest Habitat for Humanity affiliate. They need volunteers all the time, both in office, construction, and in the Habitat ReStore shops. You may have to start with volunteering for free, but Habitat often pays volunteers a small amount, and there are opportunites to grow in the organization (and travel).
Dozens of my friends have worked full-time for Habitat, and I’ve volunteered. It’s a great organization.
Post # 5
Volunteer in the field you want to work in to network. If you can afford it, go back to school because most companies will require it.
Post # 6
Look on idealist.com
They have tons of opportunities.
Post # 7
@MrsLongcoatPeacoat: Agreed. This is a great site and they have job descriptions of all their positions. Also try calling up you local organizations. They will always need help even if it’s administrative.
Post # 8
Definitely volunteer first if you can, organizations are always looking for new volunteers. If you decide that you want to go back to school, I suggest doing a degree in Public Administration. I’m currently getting my masters in it and would recommend it to anyone interested in non-profits/gov’t orgs. Some schools also offer certificates in things like non-profit management, so it may be something to look into.
Post # 9
I work in non-profit and it is surprisingly tough to get into without the right degree and some experience. I would say go back to school to study something related to fundraising or development (always sought after in the NGO world) and maybe volunteer at any NGO you can find for 16 or more hours a week to get a bit of experience behind your name. It’s very rewarding, and worth the effort. Good luck!