Thinking of Making the Switch from Private Sector to Non-Profit? Here’s What to Expect

January 10 2019 , 0 Comments


We spend 1/3 of our lives in the office. That means a pretty big chunk of our time consists of responding to emails, checking things off our to-do lists and knocking back coffees to stay alert. But do we ever stop to ask ourselves how satisfied we are with the career that we chose?

According the Journal of Economic Psychology, people who work in the non-profit sector are much more satisfied with their work life than their peers in other sectors. So, it’s no wonder that so many people hit that point in their lives when they wonder if they'd be happier working for a good cause. If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in non-profit after a long stint in the private sector, here’s what you can expect.


More flexible working conditions

Now, we’re not saying that non-profits don’t adhere to standard 9-to-5 office hours. But more often than not, they’re flexible about people working from home, working part time or even adjusting their working hours to accommodate family life or studies. On the flipside, you may be asked to work longer hours during a campaign launch or a big fundraising appeal. It really comes down to the organisation and the position you’re after. If you’re looking for something in fundraising, your hours may be slightly different from someone working as a Volunteer Coordinator.


A deeper connection to your work

Most people who work in non-profit are there because they want to contribute to some sort of social good. Every part of a charity helps drive positive change, whether that’s admin, IT or campaign management. The more you care about the issue at hand, the more driven you are to succeed and the better you feel when you see the fruits of your labour. And you’ll be surrounded by people that share a common drive and work hard to achieve a shared mission. This provides you with the opportunity to interact with people from all sorts of organisations, including government, academia, the arts and the wider community.


A diverse range of organisations to choose from

Not all non-profits are charities. In fact, there are probably several organisations you interact with every day that you didn’t even realise were part of the third sector. Non-profits don’t rely exclusively on donations; they have earned revenue which means they’re less dependent on donor funding. This means you’re not limited to a certain type of business if you want to work in the sector. Many museums, arts organisations and medical groups are actually non-profits, and they’re looking for a whole range of skills from business development to finance, sales and marketing. If you’re doing something similar in the private sector, you’re likely to have developed many of the transferable skills these organisations are after.


Different salary bands

You’ve probably heard the rumours that the pay in the non-profit sector is slightly lower than other sectors. While that often tends to be true, many people are willing to sacrifice salary for a happier working life and a more fulfilling sense of career development. Even though many organisations in non-profit have earned revenue, more of the funds are allocated to the cause which means they can’t always match the salary you had at your previous job.


The happiness factor

Did you know that 85% of workers admit to hating their jobs? That’s probably less surprising of a statistic than you’d think. When you’re unhappy at work, your physical and emotional health are directly affected. This can mean higher levels of anxiety and depression and an overall sense of sluggishness. But when the work you’re doing is more focused on helping people, you’re fuelling the reward pathway in your brain. This causes a ‘feel-good’ sensation known as ‘helper’s high’. Ultimately, the more rewarding the work, the better your body and mind will feel.


So, do you think the non-profit sector is right for you? It’s all about weighing out your options and making an informed decision. There are benefits to working in both the private and non-profit sector; it comes down to what sort of career you’re looking for. Good luck and happy hunting!

This content was provided by CharityJob, the largest and most specliased job board for the charity and non-profit sector in the UK.

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