Looking for a Career in the Non-Profit Field? Start Here!

Are you looking to find work in the non-profit field? If helping people is your passion, it might be a good fit, but finding that work can be difficult. In addition to the various normal hurdles of finding a job, like proving that you’re a worthy candidate or actually landing an interview, just finding non-profit jobs can be difficult. You can always start by checking out charities that you trust or support, but what if they aren’t hiring? Chances are there are far more charities out there than you’re aware of, but there are sources that can help. Check out the sites below to get your job search started! is summed-up pretty well by the site’s name. Idealist works to “connect idealist with opportunities for action.” At the site you can find job listings, but you can also find volunteer opportunities, search for people or organizations, even find blogs. They also list employment fairs for college students and recent graduates (down at the bottom of the home page). Over 100,000 organizations use Idealist to connect with people, so it’s an excellent place to start your search. is a search firm that works to place people in positions at non-profits. They don’t have the same scale as Idealist, but they do have a good track record of placing candidates, from entry level to upper management positions. It’s worth checking the site out, especially if you have a good idea of what you want to do, but just need some help doing it.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is one of the leading publications in the non-profit world, and worth investigating if you’re serious about working for a non-profit. They have a jobs section that offers a variety of search parameters, and based solely on their importance as a thought leader, it’s a good bet that a lot of jobs can be found there.


Beware of Emails Looking for Donations

If you’re reading this, you are no doubt familiar with SPAM emails, and you likely realize that many of those emails are scams, trying to get your money or your personal information. Unfortunately, some scammers try to take advantage of others’ generosity by pretending to be a charity looking for donations.

This is much more subtle that the “deposed prince” style of scam we’ve all seen. Instead, scammers will set up fake websites, set up fake charities, or even use the names of real charities to try and trick you.

As a general rule, legitimate charities don’t solicit through emails. This isn’t to say that no legitimate charity does this, but when they do, it is generally in the line of “click here to donate” as part of a larger message, such as a campaign update. This model is a favorite of political campaigns, actually, to tell you about the campaign and urge you to go make a donation.

But scammers can use the same model to try and trick you. Regardless of who sent the email, whether it’s a group you trust or a person you know, never follow such links. Instead, go to the website of the organization or person in question if you want to donate. If it’s legitimate, that donation will work either way, and if it’s a scam, your money will go to the right place.

If you get an unsolicited email from a charity you aren’t familiar with, it’s likely fraud, and you shouldn’t feel bad about deleting that email outright. Even if it’s a group you’ve heard of, it could be somebody with a similar email address. If you’re not convinced, if it’s a really professional, official looking email, or you just aren’t sure if it’s a real charity, do some online research. Links in such an email might be phishing attempts, and clicking on them could result in infecting your computer. But going to the website’s homepage, or searching for the group online will be much safer.

With a little common sense you can protect yourself from such scams.


Crowdfunding Your Charity

Crowdfunding, using the Internet to raise money from large groups of people from across the country or the world, is a relatively new but very useful tool in generating capital. Companies often use it to generate investment from customers, and creative types use it to get the money to make films and other products. But crowdfunding can be used for charitable work as well.

Most crowdfunding takes place on websites specifically for that purpose, allowing people to make their information readily available to potential supporters, and which makes collecting money easy. In most cases, people who support your campaign get rewards for doing so, like copies of the product being funded, usually offered at different tiers of support.

Kickstarter: Probably the leader of the pack, and easily the most recognizable, Kickstarter has been a huge boon for companies and creators that want to produce products without having to find traditional investors. Kickstarter requires that campaigns have both a deadline, and that they reach a particular dollar goal before any money is collected (or any fees are charged).

IndieGoGo: Not as well known as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo has certain advantages despite its smaller share of the market. Namely, you don’t have to meet a goal before you get money from your supporters, meaning that even if you don’t hit your target, you still get the money people pledged. This is a double-edged sword though, as it means you might not make enough to actually cover the costs of sending items to your supporters.

GoFundMe: An up-and-coming site, GoFundMe allows people to set up personal fundraising to, for example, make rent one month or to raise money for an operation. They don’t require that campaigns set specific dollar goals or deadlines, meaning that you can raise as much as you need, and receive those donations.

If you’re interested in crowdfunding, do some research to find the site that works best for you. There are tons of articles about how best to raise money through crowdfunding sites, and there are even companies who specialize in this kind of business.


Helping Out During a Crisis

While regular giving is the most effective way to help others, sometimes an event happens that needs an immediate response. Earthquakes, tsunamis and the like require a lot of help form charitable people. But giving in these situations is not the same as donating to a regularly operating charity. When you want to help out people affected by a natural disaster or some other crisis, keep the following tips in mind.

Work with reputable charities. It’s sad to say, but there are people out there who take advantage of others’ giving natures, and a crisis situation is a great opportunity for someone to make up a charity, solicit donations, and then pocket that money. Don’t donate to fly-by-night charities, seek out reputable organizations with a good history, and donate through them.

Don’t send supplies on a whim. You may want to help out by sending some of your old clothes, or donating canned goods and the like. This is not the most effective way to help people in need even at the best of times. In a crisis situation, packing up a bunch of stuff and sending it overseas or across the country isn’t going to help. Even if the package gets there, who is going to receive it, process it, and make sure it helps people out? Instead, look for established charities that are feeding or clothing people and donate to them. Chances are, they can do a lot more good with your money than your goods will do.

Do your homework. As with any kind of charitable donation, be sure to do some research. Read up on the situation and see what kind of help people need. Figure out how you want to help, and start looking for charities that have the same goals. If a crisis or a donation opportunity is brought to your attention via social media, don’t just click a link to donate, but instead read up to see what the charity in question does, and to make sure it’s not fraud. Don’t donate to telemarketers or other people who cold-call you looking for money.

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Considering CEO Salary When Choosing a Charity to Support

You want to donate to a charity, but you want to make sure that you’re a well-informed donor. So what questions do you ask of a charity before helping out? There are a few obvious choices, which should likely be the first questions you ask. What does the charity do? Who do they help? Are they focused on local, state, or national goals?

These kinds of questions are important, and they help you determine if a charity is one that you’re interested in helping. Once you’ve found charities that align with your own goals and concerns, you should ask some more detailed questions. How do they raise money, and how do they spend it? Who donates to this charity? How do they spend that money?

The last question can encompass a lot of different things, like how much they spend on overhead, including advertising, building maintenance, or salaries. In fact, one piece of information that is worth considering is how much a charity pays their CEO.

Running a charity is often a full time job, and according to the IRS, CEOs should receive “reasonable compensation,” but that’s pretty vague. You want to look at how much a CEO is paid versus how much a charity raises, and how that salary compares to other expenditures by the group. If a charity won’t admit to how much they pay their CEO, you should take that as a warning sign and look elsewhere.

But at the same time, a low paid CEO isn’t necessarily a good thing. A successful charity with a highly paid CEO can likely do more with your money than a less successful charity with a poorly paid CEO. In the end, you need to do the legwork for yourself, and compare different charities to see which pay their CEOs salaries that you’re comfortable supporting.

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Charity Donation App Tinbox Promotes Free Giving

If you could give one dollar of someone else’s money to a charity of your choosing each day, would you? The creators of Tinbox are confident that most people would, which is exactly why they started their charitable mobile app.

The Paris-based startup Tinbox was founded in January of last year by a couple of friends at Warwick University in the UK. It aims to make a business out of people donating freely to the charities of their choice via a mobile app. When the mobile-only startup launches for the public in a couple of weeks, it will allow users to choose a charity to donate €1 per day to without having to spend any of their own money.

The donation costs the app users nothing because it’s sponsored by one of the companies the app is working with. Brands are giving free donation cash to improve their brand image and consumer perception. Reportedly, SAP has committed to fund 10,000 click throughs thus far, and the mobile app is also in discussion with several other major brands. Corporate Social Responsibility has become such an integral part of running a business, so it makes sense that major brands would be jumping at the chance to support charitable causes.

“For app users we solve the problem of not being able to donate to the charity they care about. Our vision is that everyone is able to support the causes to them. Through Tinbox they have 1 euro per day that allows them to do so,” says Tinbox co-founder David Linderman.

Users are notified daily to sponsor a cause and when the user opens the app, they will see different causes that they can sponsor and then the user can select what the money is used for. Once the place to donate is selected, the sponsoring company will donate the money and their logo and message will be seen on the screen. Tinbox is competing with free charity donation websites that urge people to click to donate by viewing ads but users can’t be sure exactly how much they are donating.

Learn more about this new app by visiting


Donating Goods Instead of Cash?

Have you considered donating goods to charity instead of cash? It can be worthwhile, under the right circumstances, to donate clothes or household goods: you get rid of some clutter and help out a charity. Everybody wins.

It’s not really that simple though, and like any charitable donation, giving physical goods requires some thought. Perhaps more so than donating cash.


Consider what items you want to get rid of, and whether or not they’re even worth donating. Most charities need new or gently used items. Appliances that don’t work or clothes with holes and the like aren’t really helpful. Carefully consider what you want to donate before you do so. Don’t make somebody else do the job of throwing out your garbage.

If the items are worth donating, you should also consider selling them yourself and then donating what you make. This is easier for the charity, as it gives them more freedom to spend that money, and it’s easier for you, since it makes claiming the donation on your taxes much easier. Selling items on Cragislist or eBay might work, but so could organizing a garage sale, especially if you have friends or family who want to do the same.

You might even be able to unload those worthless old appliances or clothes to people who want them for scrap metal or the like. Just because an item can’t be used by a charity doesn’t mean it can’t be used by somebody else.

If you don’t want to sell the items yourself, and you’re sure they’d be useful, look for some local charities that accept donations of goods. Staying local helps your community, and it also reduces the time and money you have to spend transporting the items. Charities which accept goods will generally indicate this fact on their website, and usually offer some guidelines for what they need and how to donate. If you’re not sure if your items will work, email or call the charity and ask. It’s possible that, even if they can’t take your old clothes, they’ll know of somebody else who can.

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Helping Homeless Families

The common image of homelessness is a man in layers of ragged clothing, begging for change in a big city. This is, however, far from the full picture. Most people don’t think that much about the issue, and so many aspects of homelessness get ignored.

One of those aspects, often overlooked by even the most generous of people, is family homelessness. As the name implies, family homelessness affects whole families, which can find themselves without a home for any number of reasons. Eviction, job loss, fires, medical bills and so on, anything that might drive a single person into the street can put entire families there as well.


Safe Haven Family Shelter works to alleviate these problems in the Middle Tennessee region. Centered around a shelter-to-housing program, Safe Haven begins looking for housing for families as soon as they bring them in, with space for up to 10 families in their shelter. Thanks to a variety of community grants, they are able to help 30 families at a time with housing.

In addition to helping families find and attain housing, Safe Haven provides a variety of educational assistance. They offer assistance with financial literacy, job training and job placement, and offer intensive case management. They use evidence-based methods, influenced by such theories as trauma-informed care or Parent Child Interaction Therapy, to ensure that families receive the best, specific help possible.

Safe Haven accepts a variety of aid from donors and supporters. They accept both money and donations of goods which families can use, such as linens, baby goods, and household items. They also offer volunteer opportunities for people who wish to help out more directly.

If you want to help address the problem of family homelessness, but you can’t make it to Tennessee to volunteer or want to help families closer to you, there are a number of other shelters and programs you can support. A simple Internet search for family homelessness and your zip code or city should get you started.

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The Power of Social Enterprise

The social enterprise is a shining example of the fusion of social change and business savvy, put to work for a philanthropic purpose. Social enterprises capture the smarts and tactics of the big business world to provide great professional opportunities to those who need them the most. Social enterprises have the potential to deeply impact communities in a positive way, but what do they look like in action?

Social enterprises are businesses whose primary purpose is the common good. They use the methods and disciplines of the business world to empower people that normally wouldn’t succeed—or be given a chance—in the conventional realm of business. Social enterprises provide useful skills and job experience to those that lack a formal education or business experience.

As businessman and philanthropist George R. Roberts puts it in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Social enterprises leverage a business approach to address a social mission, making improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximizing profits for external stakeholders.”

Simply put, the three characteristics of a social enterprise include:

  • Directly addressing a demanding social need and serving the common good.
  • Business principles are used to acquire capital to fund their ventures.
  • The primary goal of a social enterprise is to help others and serve the common good—making a profit is not the driving force.

Roberts’s ongoing charitable work illustrates just how powerful and effective philanthropic efforts that utilize social enterprise can be. He founded the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) in 1997, and has since helped to empower thousands of individuals by helping them find jobs when they were in need.

Roberts’s REDF is the embodiment of social enterprises at work. REDF is a San Francisco-based and philanthropy-focused organization designed to to create jobs through social enterprises. REDF accomplishes this by providing equity-like grants (and other forms of business assistance) to California nonprofits that embrace the ideals of social enterprise. These nonprofits then intentionally employ the young and the underprivileged that desperately need job experience, but may find it difficult to achieve on their own.

If the concept of social enterprises spreads and becomes a common practice in our society, the entire world will benefit from the increased rate of philanthropic donations and organizations that would surely follow.


Ways to Make the World Better Just by Using the Internet

Digital Philanthropy

In the Digital Age, people are used to instant results. You can search for anything online in mere seconds, order food that’s delivered to your door just by using an app, and purchase items from around the world with just a few clicks. Happily, this consumer-driven need for instant gratification can be used for good causes. Here are a few ways to make the world better just by clicking on a few links online.

Stop Violence Against Women. Just click on one of the site’s sponsors and it helps generate donations. Proceeds go to Amnesty International where the “Stop Violence Against Women” campaign was born in 2004.

Save the Oceans. When you click on the link here, the site’s sponsors will make a donation to Oceana, which is the globe’s largest ocean conservation non-profit.

Plant Trees with Trivia. The more trivia questions you answer correctly the more “leaves” you collect. With every leaf, the site’s advertising sponsors donate funds to one of the site’s two partners, Trees for the Future and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. 180 correct answers = 1 tree planted.

You can also use different trivia questions to feed the animals. This one doesn’t matter if you answer correctly or not, one answer equals ten pieces of kibble donated to feed homeless cats and dogs.

Feed the Hungry. For every vocabulary question you answer correctly, ten grains of rice are donated to the UN’s World Food Programme. While that might not sound like a lot at first, it adds up quickly and you are improving your vocabulary at the same time!

Provide Books for Children. Donations on this site are funded by GreaterGood’s partner organizations. The Literacy Site was founded to give books to low-income children across the US and promote literacy. Each click provides 1% of a book.

Feed Abandoned Animals. This site is in French, but it’s pretty straightforward. Click the big yellow button near the center of the page. ClicAnimaux (literally “click animals”) helps provide food, shelter and other support for abandoned animals. There are many, many homeless animals across Europe. Between donations from the site and its advertising partners, 3 million meals have been provided since its inception.