Nonprofits & NGOs

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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:

  • Adaptability
  • Enthusiasm
  • Desire to help others
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Dedication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Creativity
  • Personal connection to the work

Here are a few examples of training resources to help you develop skills and expertise in these areas:

  • 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!

Industry Timeline

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
City: Charlottesville
State: 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.  

Find Opportunities


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:


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.  

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

Professional Associations


More to Explore

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Job and internship listings and resources for careers in politics, policy, PR, fundraising, writing, and research. UVA Students have exclusive paid access through Handshake.

Jobs, internships, and volunteer positions in non-profit and government agencies. Includes guides on how to conduct a non-profit job search.