By serving others, we serve ourselves.
As the holidays are quickly approaching it’s time to think about what matters in life and how the holiday’s remind us to think about others. What is the best way to show this love for others? Volunteering for an organization that matters to you.
The actual Merriam-Webster definition of a nonprofit is an organization not conducted or maintained for the purpose of making a profit. That seems very simple. Especially considering how many nonprofits are located in the United States have reached the amount of over 1.5 million separate organizations. Most people theoretically know someone, who is involved in the orchestration of, or who is impacted by the benefits of a nonprofit.
When you talk to people who are involved in nonprofits and ask why you would go from a stable 9-5 job with benefits and a high five or six figure salary to a job where the hours are 7-6 and weekends with diverse and usually smaller benefits and the assured price cut, I can assure you they all answer in a similar way. This answer probably doesn’t surprise many of you but it is to make a difference every day in the lives of others or the community or just to one person. This answer is the reason why many give up those benefits and hours to pursue something so much more.
When people think of nonprofits and the work that needs to be done many people think of animal shelters or housing for those in need or spending hours, quite frankly, doing hard physical labor or the like to help people. That is not the only instances of working for a nonprofit. Jobs at most nonprofits are like many other jobs, they require the same organizational hierarchy as a large firm or corporation because many are widespread and it is the best way to keep track of the organization and help it grow. Before joining a nonprofit some questions that you need to ask yourself are:
- Are you a believer? Do you believe in what you are promoting, do you believe in the effects of this organization? Do you believe in yourself to be qualified to carry on the organizations mission?
- Do you have goals? Do you have goals for yourself and where you want to be in this organization? Do you have goals for the organization itself? And by working here and taking on this responsibility are you going to be able to achieve these goals?
- Are you willing to make sacrifices for these goals? This question goes without saying and sometimes can be the hardest to answer. Joining a nonprofit can be a rewarding experience but if it doesn’t coincide with your goals or makes them unattainable then look for other ways you can help.
- Are you self motivated? Many of the nonprofits in the U.S. are successful because people take the time to do the little things on their own. They don’t always have someone to report to at the end of every week or every day so you need to gauge yourself on the ability to create your own gold for the benefit of others.
- Do you have the ability to ask for help? Rome wasn’t built in a day and sometimes even the most qualified or best intended people need assistance. When you join a nonprofit you are not only joining an organization or business venture- you are joining a team. This team has come together out of passion for helping a cause and you need to be able to take advantage of that and learn from it to grow and form better opportunities for your organization and the people and things you help.
- Do you have the heart of a servant– this is a difficult question, while many want the answer to be yes, you need to consider all that encompasses this and know that you will be happy and find purpose in serving others.
If you are considering working for a nonprofit, I suggest you ask yourself these questions. After answering these six questions you should talk to someone in the organization that you want to become involved with. If you don’t think that this opportunity is still right for you and your needs seek out other ways to help and volunteer your expertise and services- if only just a couple of hours a month.