Find Your “Fit” in the Non-Profit World

Find Your “Fit” in the Non-Profit World

My latest from ProfessionalGal, featuring a picture of a cat in a box.


When you start your nonprofit job search, you are likely looking for 1) a job description for which you are qualified and 2) a mission that really speaks to you. However, you should also make sure that you are picking the type of organization that will allow you to have the kind of experience you want. Especially if you are new to the non-profit world, it might be difficult to figure that out. I thought I’d help you out by outlining a few different kinds of non-profits and what you can expect when you work for them.
Just a reminder: Every organization is its own special snowflake with its own special culture. So take my descriptions with a grain of salt—they are guidelines, not definitions.


What you want: To help people.

What you’ll get: A fairly informal office with clients coming in all day. Depending on the clients, this may make things rowdy, and you may need to put out (literal and figurative) fires throughout the day.

How to know: The position will likely emphasize communication skills and the ability to get along with lots of different kinds of people. They may also prioritize hiring people from their community (e.g. survivors of domestic violence, African-American men, or residents of a certain neighborhood).

Positions available: Development staff with a focus on government grants. Social worker/medical doctor/counselor. Don’t expect a lot of administrative openings, although there may be finance or inventory staff to support government grants.

You’ll love this if: You love the stimulation of being around people all day.


What you want: To make lasting change.

What you’ll get: A fast-paced office that speaks in code about politicians, upcoming legislation, and government bodies. Basically, House of Cards without the corruption.

How to know: “Law” or “Policy” will likely be in the organization’s name. The board and staff list may include people with political and governmental backgrounds.

Positions available: Staff Attorney, Policy Analyst, Researcher. Development staff with a focus on foundations.

You’ll love this if: You love a good fight.


What you want: To redistribute money and power.

What you’ll get: A relatively comfortable office with really smart co-workers. If you are a Program Officer, expect everyone you meet at a networking event to know your name and want to talk to you.

How to know: There are organizations that use “fund” or “foundation” in their name, but are not actually grant-making organizations. If the organization makes grants, their description will mention forging partnerships and measuring outcomes.

Positions available: Some foundations raise money and give it away, which means that there may be some fundraising positions open, particularly for Major Gifts Officers or Individual Giving Managers. More frequently, you will see Program Officer or Program Associate positions, which require an academic or professional background in a certain subject matter. Foundations also tend to have a few more administrative positions open, particularly for Grants Managers, who usually take care of the paperwork and reporting requirements from grantees.

You’ll love this if: You want to know a lot about a field of work.


What you want: To make a difference at the macro level.

What you’ll get: A decent office with co-workers who wear suits; slightly better than average benefits and pay; co-workers who may have moved between corporations and non-profits

How to know: You will very likely know the name of this organization and the names of people in leadership roles—e.g. Clinton Global Initiative, Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity.

Positions available: Multiple social media and marketing positions, major gifts officers, precise administrative positions (e.g. Payroll Manager rather than HR Manager), project leads for big projects like a well-known conference or event (e.g. Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, AIDSWalk)

You’ll love this if: You want to stay in one organization and learn the ropes as you get promoted.


What you want: To feel like you are making a difference every day.

What you’ll get: A chaotic and informal work environment. Expect swearing, sandals, and long nights.

How to know: The emphasis in the job listing will be on flexibility. They might be looking for a fundraising manager who will also need to know about program planning or accounting. If you’re an office manager or assistant, expect to do everything.

Positions available: Think general titles, like Executive Director, Development Manager, Program Manager, and Office Manager. There won’t be a lot of hierarchy and likely only a very small team.

You’ll love this if: You love not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Don’t feel like you need to restrict yourself to one kind of office ‘type’—I’ve worked at all different kinds of organizations. Some fit better than others at different times of your life. Experiment a little, and you’ll see what you like best!

Weekly Do-Gooder Jobs and Events


Ice cream delivery service: This feels essential this week



Gender Specialist at World Cocoa Foundation (Ghana/Ivory Coast) This combines my two loves: gender and chocolate

Program Officer, Governance and Human Rights at Ford Foundation (Lagos)

Volunteer and Program Coordinator at Give and Surf (Panama) This is basically how I see my retirement…

Deputy US Opinion Editor at The Guardian (NYC)

Development and Communications Associate at International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (NYC) Great place to start out!

Director, Asian-American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Initiative at Teach For America (NYC)

Director of Communications and Content Strategy at Carnegie Corporation of New York (NYC)

Director, Democratic Participation and Governance and Program Officer, Global Internet Rights at Ford Foundation (NYC) FORD, FORD, FORD

Researcher at Local 32BJ SEIU (NYC)

Adolescent Girls’ Legal Defense Fund Program Manager at Equality Now (NYC)

Reporter at Talking Points Memo (NYC)

Director, Center on Youth Justice at Vera Institute of Justice (NYC)

Women’s Initiatives Consultant at Hetrick-Martin Institute (NYC)

Support Services Director at Girls Educational & Mentoring Services, Inc. (NYC) I love them

Grant Writer at NYC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (NYC) I love them

Development Associate at Women Deliver (NYC) I love them

Administrative Assistant at Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (NYC)

Engaging Men in Violence Prevention – Capacity Building Officer at International Rescue Committee (NYC)

Playground Coordinator at The Trust for Public Land (NYC) I mean really. How fun could this be?

Birthday Party and Camp Coordinator at Round Star Foundation (NYC) I love how truthful this is, but if you get this job, fight hard for a title change to “Events Coordinator.”

Program Coordinator, Teen Leadership Opportunities at Girl Scouts of Greater New York (NYC)

Director of Civic Engagement at The New York Immigration Coalition (NYC)

Grant Writer at WITNESS (Brooklyn) I love them

PT Project Archivist at Weeksville Heritage Center (Brooklyn)

PT Operations Manager at Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls (Brooklyn) I love them

Temporary Positions Available at Vanguard Charitable (Malvern)

Marriage War Room Director at Human Rights Campaign (DC) This job title is amazing.

Program Manager, School Health Equity at Advocates for Youth (DC)

Communications & Development Director at Rock the Vote, National Headquarters (DC) !!!!

Labor Economist at AFSCME- American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union (DC)

Policy Officer at Low Income Investment Fund (DC)

Development Associate at AIDS Foundation of Chicago (Chicago) I love them

Director of Digital Programs at Poetry Foundation (Chicago) Poetry!

Program Officer, International Agriculture at The Howard G. Buffett Foundation (Decatur, IL)

Labor Educator at University of Minnesota (Minneapolis)

Latino Organizing Program Director at Conservation Voters New Mexico (Santa Fe)


Program Development Program Officer, Early Care & Education at First 5 LA (LA) Spend tobacco tax money on improving kids’ lives!

Executive Director, Department of Cultural Affairs at City of Los Angeles (LA) Oh nothing, you’d just run the LA arts scene and probably have an affair with Bette Porter

Development Manager at Art with Heart (Seattle)

Social Media Marketing Manager at Marguerite Casey Foundation (Seattle)

Development Director at Arts Corps (Seattle)




Women and Hollywood is looking for 3 new columnists Diversity, Queer, and TV

Call for Gowanus artists

Shape the Conversation: Submit to the Sea Change Reader




March 19: Ladies Pouring Beer for Ladies: Girls Pint Out NY at Brooklyn Brewery to Benefit Hollaback! (Brooklyn)

March 20: Younger Women’s Task Force: Women’s Work & Activist Self-Care (NYC)

March 27: NOI New York Grassroots Happy Hour (NYC)

March 29: Art Crawl for Women Artists (NYC)

April 4-6: The Power of Narrative Conference (Boston)

April 5: The Mother Wit Conference: “Releasing our Stories, Transforming our Pain, Reclaiming our Power” (NYC)

April 6-8: YTH Live 2014 (SF)

April 8: Corporations, Consumption and Protecting Public Health (NYC)

April 23: Screening of THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING (NYC)

April 27: The Center for Anti-Violence’s Prom (NYC)

April 27: NY Abortion Access Fund’s Bowl-a-thon (NYC)

May 2: THE ESSENTIAL ELLEN WILLIS Book Launch and Reading (Brooklyn)

June 2-5: HIV is Not a Crime Conference (IA)

Until June 6: Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at Brooklyn Museum of Art (Brooklyn)

Weekly Do-Gooder Jobs and Events


The overall economy is creaking along, but business is booming for non-profits

Be a resource to me! Email me about what I should write about diversity in non-profits. What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? Why does it matter?



Program Director at National Network of Abortion Funds (Boston, but flex)

Director, Child Development & Community Engagement at Boston Children’s Museum (Boston)

Communications Director at Correctional Association of NY (NYC)

Executive Director at the Nationals Center for Law and Economic Justice (NYC)

Program Associate, Global Doctors for Choice at Physicians for Reproductive Health (NYC)

Contractual Museum Educator at The Studio Museum in Harlem (NYC) I’ve mentioned that I love the Studio Museum and Thelma Golden, right? So we’re in agreement about this?

Senior Program Officer for Advocacy and Director, African American Leadership and Engagement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America (NYC) bawse

Artist Representative at Pentacle/DanceWorks, Inc. of New York (NYC)

Program and Administrative Associate at Reproductive Health Access Project (NYC)

Event Consultant at Hetrick-Martin Institute (NYC)

Staff Attorney at The Legal Aid Society (NYC)

Manager, Children’s Educational Programming at The New York Public Library (NYC) I wish I had the training for this sort of job

Manager (or Director) of Corporate and Foundation Partnerships at Women’s World Banking (NYC)

Seasonal Farm Educator at Queens County Farm Museum (NYC)

Officer, Email and Mobile Engagement at International Rescue Committee (NYC)

Account Director at Fenton (NYC)

PT Web Producer at Asian American Writers’ Workshop (NYC)

Director of Evaluation at Year Up (NYC)

Director of Research at Prisoner Reentry Institute (NYC)

Researcher on West Africa at Human Rights Watch (NYC)

OST Program Director at Girls Inc. of NYC (Brooklyn)

Director of Educational and Regional Programs at Scenarios USA (Brooklyn)

Garden Educator at Camden Children’s Garden (Camden, NJ)

Staff Attorney at Fair Elections Legal Network (DC)

Writer/Editor, Technology at Atlantic Media (DC) So far only men have applied to this job. GET ON IT LADIES. LEAN IN.

Assistant to the President at Sojourners (DC) This looks like a really good opportunity for an eager, organized person looking to launch their career

Development Manager at International Center for Research on Women (DC)

Senior Litigation Counsel for Voting Rights Project at Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (DC)

Senior Vice President, Social Innovation at The Case Foundation (DC)

President at Heinz Endowments (Pittsburgh) I’m surprised this is even listed. Aren’t these jobs usually willed to people? Or bestowed upon the champion of feats of strength?

Executive Director at Woman Made Gallery (Chicago)

Chief Revenue Officer at Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights (Chicago)

Policy & Research Organizer at Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (Detroit)

Program Development Manager at Catalyst Kitchens (Seattle)

Director of National Programs at Gay-Straight Alliance Network (San Francisco)

Executive Director, American Jewish World Service, San Francisco/Western Region (San Francisco)

LGBT Program Director / Attorney at California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (Modesto)

Executive Director at Anchorage Opera (Anchorage)



Participate in the Zagat Restaurant survey and get a free guide

Amtrak Residency is now a real thing

Rookie Magazine scholarship for Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls

Anti-gun violence grant for Brooklyn-based projects

Writing Fellowship at Vox Media

NY Abortion Access Fund is looking for Board Members to support their fundraising activities

NYC Composting Grant

The Work First Fellowship college students





March 12: Jacobin Series Launch, with Melissa Gira Grant, Benjamin Kunkel, and Micah Uetricht (Brooklyn)

March 12: African Women’s Rights and Resilience (NYC)

March 14: Black Women’s Circle Discussion at Black Workers Center (LA)

March 15: WAM! Discussion with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (Santa Monica)

March 17: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh Action/Speak Out and Lecture (Santa Monica)

March 17: HBO Premiere of “Paycheck to Paycheck” produced in association with The Shriver Report

March 18: “Sisterhood Empowerment” presentation and discussion (LA)

March 19: Ladies Pouring Beer for Ladies: Girls Pint Out NY at Brooklyn Brewery to Benefit Hollaback! (Brooklyn)

March 20: Younger Women’s Task Force: Women’s Work & Activist Self-Care (NYC)

March 29: Art Crawl for Women Artists (NYC)

April 4-6: The Power of Narrative Conference (Boston)

April 5: The Mother Wit Conference: “Releasing our Stories, Transforming our Pain, Reclaiming our Power” (NYC)

April 27: The Center for Anti-Violence’s Prom (NYC)

April 27: NY Abortion Access Fund’s Bowl-a-thon (NYC)