By Drew Kaufman and Nathan Erickson
When students look into careers with non-profit groups, they often hear a common message from those working in the field: very low pay, long hours, and even job insecurity. So when meeting with 2 Drake alumni at n4a this afternoon, we were surprised to hear a much different story. Mark Fetterhoff from n4a and Elizabeth Owens from AAUW, spoke about the many upsides of work in the non-profit industry.
They began by giving us a general outline of how they had arrived in their current positions. In their time since graduating from Drake, they have both held many positions within both the non-profit and for profit sector, including the Des Moines Register, education, and even getting paid to sail around the world. As they transitioned through these varying roles, each experience allowed them to gain valuable skills that they can now apply to their current positions.
For the two alums, a wide variety of skills is often necessary to excel in small non-profits. Since funding does not always allow for key positions to be filled by single employees, they are often required to take on multiple responsibilities. Thus, picking up valuable skills anywhere you can is crucial for success in the non-profit world. It will not only allow you to be successful when taking on those multiple tasks, but will also make you irreplaceable to the organizations you work for.
In D.C., there are many positions available in the non-profit sector for those who are looking. What’s more, Owens and Fetterhoff said that many non-profits provide competitive salary and benefits. This package is enough for a recent graduate to pay for living expenses and begin to pay off those pesky student loans. We, as college students near graduation, found this to be particularly appealing.
Who knows, maybe after some time on the job, you’ll have convinced your employer that you’re so indispensable you deserve a raise. So, go ahead and do something you’re passionate about. It may turn out to be a dream come true!