#021–How do you find a non-profit to work for (& be paid for it)?

Well, yesterday’s musing post made me dive into this question a bit deeper. I’m really wanting to find my niche, and I love volunteering for things I’m interested in and believe in. As a docent/tour guide at my volunteering stint, I wish I could do it all the time. The people who come in to be educated and have their questions answered, and my ability to help (or at least find somebody else that knows better) leaves me feeling great, even when I don’t have two few pennies to rub together.

If I won the lottery (or dad did and split the winnings with me, to be more realistic), then it wouldn’t matter. I’d drive all that way to help out as best I can as often as I wanted, and not worry about pay.

However, I just have so many interests. Instead of wringing my hands and bemoaning how crappily the world’s going, how much hate and bullying there is, or shrugging my shoulders with the crowd of folks just as much in the dark about opportunities as I am, I want to work for something that makes a difference. I can’t afford to go back to school and get a new degree, but I really wonder if I can take a course or two to help myself improve in other ways.

askforjobBut while looking for non-profit orgs, it occurred to me that I’m not actually seeing any that could use paid staff help, or differentiates between paid and volunteer.

And I love to volunteer–I just can’t do that everywhere all the time with my schedule and current pay rate.

LinkedIn pisses me off because when I look for non-profits, it shows me nothing but volunteer opportunities for pages and pages, and doesn’t take driving range into account. I’m still looking at other sites, rest assured, I’m just wondering if I’m doing something wrong, too. Trying to specify “paid” non-profit doesn’t seem to be working… maybe there’s another way.

The last things I’ve read appear to be hours away (in Austin or Dallas) or were very temporary, just movements created by volunteers and then back to normal. Where do they go? What do the organizers do before, during, and after–and who are they?

Differentiating between groups and finding where they connect might be a good start. At the moment, interests that I’m focusing on are related to the arts, anti-bullying, civil rights (LGBT/Minority), women’s issues…seriously, I need clones…and to find what would help me best and/or that I could help even more.

I need to learn more about how organizations start and what kinds of help are needed in non-profit orgs. From the look of things, when I see openings for those declaring themselves non-profits (and even volunteer), “grant-writer” seems to pop up an awful lot. Sadly, I have no experience in that, but wouldn’t mind learning.

For one, it has “writer” in the title (yay), and for another, it seems a little-filled and much-needed position if there are so many online. I think there’s an online course at my community college that teaches it, and I might just have enough for it. I’d rather do face-to-face, but that’s rare these days with these types of courses.

And yes, I high-tailed it to my Dealer and bought a few more books on writing and business…(sigh).

The thing I’m really wondering about, since I can’t find any actual non-profits around me, is am I looking too narrowly? I mean, I’m stuck and what is posted seems so far and wide, or so specific, or too vague on whether or not they’re looking for volunteers or are willing to pay.

Is there anybody out there who works for a non-profit organization, or has worked for one in the past? What advice would you give to me so I don’t waste a lot of time on the wrong things at the wrong times? What skills should I go in with or try to build up?

I’m gonna try to find some books on non-profits and look for some near me to educate myself on them, what they’re looking for, and what volunteers do.

Any help would be great. Nobody I know’s ever worked at a non-profit that I’m aware of, so I don’t have any good resources to help me out. Part time, full time, whatever–if I can help and I believe in it, you better believe I want a job in it!

Of course, I have to be qualified in some fashion…hmm.

I guess I have my research project this spring and summer. I’ll be looking really hard, tonight and onward.overworked senior businessman working at office in stress

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