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How Community Organizing Can Pay

How Community Organizing Can Pay

By Ryan Uricks

March 16, 2009

For a recent graduate, finding the right career can be daunting. Job markets are in flux and one year can bring many jobs and the next far too few. Fortunately, there is one job sector that never seems to be filled: non-profit groups.

Non-profits run the gamut from Amnesty International, the ACLU, to smaller, lesser-known groups which makeup the majority of non-profits. Traditionally, non-profits have fewer resources, lower pay, and a constant need for people. If your grad wants to work for a non-profit, don’t stop them. It’s a great experience and could help your grads career in the long run. Let’s go through some of the myths of non-profit jobs.

Myth #1: Non-profits pay horribly.

Depends on how you define ‘horrible.’ Most non-profit jobs start out in the $30,000 range. Not bad for a job straight out of school. The lowest salaries can be as low $23,000 a year or, instead of salaries, receiving monthly stipends. Wall Street earnings they are not, but your grad knows that and should budget accordingly. Try to look for positions that offer benefits like heath insurance since grads lose coverage after they graduate.

Myth #2: There are no career prospects in non-profits.

Many non-profit jobs offer room and advancement or provide a great springboard into other careers. Teach for America provides a resume booster for students coming out of school in exchange for teaching for two years in under-served schools. Plus, many working in non-profits go to graduate school for non-profit management, public policy, law, or social work. Also, let’s not forget about the most famous community organizer of them all: Barack Obama. After college he worked in Chicago for a community organization assisting unemployed workers and now he’s running for president.

Myth #3: Non-profit jobs are menial.

Non-profits jobs are often the most rewarding anyone can have. You have the chance to help out someone everyday. The obstacles are plentiful and success can be hard to reach, but the feeling you get when you achieve your goals and the goals of others is hard to beat.


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