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- Roles and Work Environment
- Skills and Training
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- Find Opportunities
- Applying and Interviewing
- Additional Industry Resources
Roles and Work Environment
A nonprofit organization is one that uses its surplus revenue to further achieve its mission and typically serves the general public through its mission, while a non-governmental organization (NGO) is any nonprofit, voluntary citizens' group organized on a local, national or international level. Both types of organizations perform a variety of service, advocacy, and humanitarian functions and promote such issues as women’s rights, healthcare, and education.
Because the nonprofit and NGO fields are so broad, there are many job titles that exist. In fact, many of the jobs you will find in nonprofits/NGOs look very similar to those in the for-profit sector. Below is a sampling of roles you might find:
Examples of Nonprofit/NGO Jobs:
- Community Outreach Coordinator
- Development Director
- Grant Writer
- Social and Community Services Manager
- Volunteer Coordinator
Below is a list of a few nonprofits and NGOs where you might find opportunities.
Examples of Nonprofit/NGO Organizations:
The Center for Nonprofit Excellence is local nonprofit that helps support other nonprofit organizations in the Charlottesville area. Search their database of nonprofits to connect with local organizations. For a more extended list, check out our resources section below.
Skills and Training
Since the work performed by NGOs and Nonprofits can focus on a variety of different issues, the skills and training necessary for roles in these fields is extremely broad. Generally, individuals are drawn to these fields due to their interests in service, mission driven work, and the opportunity to help others through direct service, community programs, or broader initiatives.
Below you’ll find examples of general skills and characteristics that tend to be helpful in these industries:
- Desire to help others
- Strong oral and written communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Personal connection to the work
Here are a few examples of training resources to help you develop skills and expertise in these areas:
- VAService.org: Offers free and affordable access to workshops and conferences to assist with volunteer recruitment and management, grant writing, marketing, accounting, financial reporting and many other skills needed for nonprofit and service-based work.
- Grant Proposal Writing Guide: Free guidebook for writing a grant for funding.
- Corporation for National and Community Service: Find free online courses on a variety of topics including Community Engagement and Strengthening, Disaster Preparedness, Faith-Based Community Initiatives, Performance Measurement, Volunteer Leveraging and more!
Nonprofits, NGOs, and other public service organizations normally hire internship and full-time opportunities based on immediate needs. Some positions may become available in late spring/early summer, so you should continue to look for opportunities throughout the academic year and beyond. Review the Public Service and Government Community page for examples of recruiting timelines of PSG industries.
Alumni Spotlight: Nonprofit Professional
Mike is an Independent Non-Profit Organization Management Professional based out of Charlottesville, VA. Currently giving his experience and leadership skills to the American Red Cross, Mike is a Leadership Partner with the Services to Armed Forces Program, a Regional Training and Exercise Coordinator, a Preparedness Officer, and an Interim Disaster Program Manager. Mike recommends his path for anyone who truly wants to experience new and unique challenges every day.
Major: History (Bachelor)
College: University of Virginia
Explore More Career Pathways
Watch more UVA Alumni videos on the Candid Career platform. You can also view thousands of informational video interviews featuring industry professionals from around the country working in a variety of industries.
One of the best ways to gain experience in this industry is through volunteer work in the community, exploring service learning opportunities in the classroom, and involvement through student organizations. Below are some ideas for how to find these opportunities on Grounds and within the Charlottesville community:
- Public Service at UVA - Learning in Action: Get connected to the “front door to public service” at the University to find ways to integrate your classroom experience with your interest in service, search UVA student organizations by issues of interest, find volunteer opportunities, and learn the timeline of when major PSG events and programs happen at UVA. You can also sign-up for a monthly newsletter.
- Madison House: A nonprofit in Charlottesville supporting UVA students who wish to make an impact in the local community, Madison House partners with 160+ community-based organizations to provide volunteer and leadership opportunities to students. You can participate as a volunteer providing direct service or try out your leadership skills as a Program Director. Find out how to get involved today by exploring their Volunteer Programs.
- Bridge Span Group's Nonprofit Jobs Center
- CommonGood Careers
- Idealist - International Nonprofit Job and Internship Database
- Job Sites for NGOs
- NGO Job Board (by InterAction)
- Philanthropy Jobs
- Philanthropy News Digest
- The Center for Nonprofit Excellence Nonprofit Jobs
- ImpactPool Internships and Jobs
- Daybook: Jobs and internship opportunities in Public Policy, Government Relations, Public Affairs, Political Campaigns, Non-Profit, Law, Communications, and Foreign Affairs. Once registered for a free account, you will be able to view current opportunities and apply directly through the site.
Applying and Interviewing
Resumes and Cover Letters
First impressions are critical in the job search. Developing and executing the best documents possible will help to ensure that you put your best foot forward and increase the likelihood of progressing to an interview. Make sure to check out the Resumes and Cover Letters sections of the website for helpful advice and sample resumes and cover letters.
- Nonprofit Resume Example #1 (Middlebury College Career Center)
- Nonprofit Resume Example #2 (Northwestern Career Advancement)
- Sample Cover Letter: Campaign Organizer
- Sample Cover Letter: Executive Assistant of a Human Rights Nonprofit
Working in nonprofits and NGOs can mean working with people from all walks of life, including working for an organization with a mission to support specific populations. If you have experience with the particular population the organization works with or the particular issue it addresses - whether from your own personal lived experience or from other opportunities - it can be important to share that information in your application.
Additionally, if relevant to the organization's work, include experiences with particular communities or groups of people and/or any issues/topics where you have been an advocate or have knowledge regardless if it is from your own personal lived experience or from other opportunities/studies.
Lastly, use an “interests/skills” section to identify additional skills that would be valuable to the organization and its work. Some examples include:
- Foreign Language
- Technology, Assessment, Grant-writing, or Volunteer Management skills
- CPR, First Aid, or other general certifications
- Interests in working with particular populations/cultures
If you have never interviewed before, make sure to check out the Interviewing section of our website. You can also conduct a mock interview with a career counselor for practice. Most interviews will contain some mixture of questions about your past experiences (resume-based) and your ability to handle typical workplace situations (behavioral). For full-time positions, depending on the size of the organization, you should expect to start with a 20-30 minute phone or virtual (e.g., Skype, Google Hangout) screening interview, then a longer virtual or in-person final interview. A thank you letter should be written after every interview with an employer. Send the note by email within 24 hours after the interview.
Additional Industry Resources
Blogs and Industry Research
- Check out the VAULT Guides (accessible through Handshake) for detailed information on specific industries. The following guides may be of interest to you:
- Vault Career Guide to Nonprofit Careers
- Vault Guide to Nonprofit Jobs
- Career Launcher: Nonprofit Organizations
- Vault Career Guide to Religious Ministries Jobs
- All For Good (DC Nonprofits)
- Chronicle of Philanthropy
- ConnectVA (Richmond, VA Area Nonprofits)
- FLIP4 (national nonprofit directory)
- NGO Worldline
- Nonprofits in the Washington DC Area (sourced by American University)
- Nonprofits on Facebook
- Social Entrepreneurship
- The Nonprofit Times
- YNPN RVA (Richmond, VA Nonprofits and Young Professional Network)
- Work for Good
- Alliance for Nonprofit Management
- Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action
- Association of Fundraising Professionals
- Council on Foundations
- Forum: Regional Association of Grantmakers
- National Council of Nonprofits
- Society for Nonprofits
- Worldwide NGO Directory
- Young Nonprofit Professionals Network