How To Find Nonprofit Jobs: Where to Search Nonprofit Jobs and the Pros and Cons of Foundation Jobs

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How To Find Nonprofit Jobs: Where to Search Nonprofit Jobs and the Pros and Cons of Foundation Jobs

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Jobs at nonprofits are truly rewarding and Foundation jobs are the most sought after of all the jobs at nonprofit organizations and in the sector. There are many reasons for this. Let us review the pros and the cons of working at Foundations. Then we will discuss where to search for foundation jobs and your best bet to land one.

Before we start, it is first important to understand what a Foundation is. In the nonprofit sector, funds that the organizations raise can come from individuals, corporations, the state and federal government, and from Foundations. Foundations are entities that give funds to impact a specific area, region or mission. Foundations fund grants that nonprofits write and apply for. State and local governments also fund nonprofits grants. Foundations are institutions with donated funds that they hold and then invest over differing time periods. So, if you are going to work at a Foundation, chances are you would be applying to work at an organization that reviews grant proposals, funds grants, or seeks to impact an issue or help the world in an area or topic. All foundations measure how many people they have helped via the funds they give to their nonprofit partners, called grantees. There are different types of Foundations. The main three types of foundation are corporate, family, and community foundations.

The Pros of Foundation Jobs:

  • They are known as very financially stable.
  • They many times have large endowments and or solidified budgets allowing foundation jobs to provide exceptional benefits packages and job growth.
  • Their management is comprised of thought leaders and collections of individuals that are experts in their respective areas of focus.
  • They offer sought after experience that other employers like to hire from.
  • They offer work-life balance.
  • They provide very fulfilling work and missions.
  • They do good for the world and help to solve an issue.

The Cons of Foundation Jobs:

  • They generally require and or prefer a college degree and or an advanced degree.
  • Promotion can be more challenging as they prefer to hire long term candidates into the roles that they recruit on. Movement up is less likely in organizations with less turnover.
  • They are competitive opportunities.
  • You will need to put significant time and energy into your application including writing a strong letter and presenting a background.
  • The work at the foundation level many times does not directly work with the recipients of the programs that the foundation funds. Foundations work with partners and nonprofits, and thus the individuals that are being helped by their nonprofit partners, the end-user (at the programs they fund) are not normally in direct contact with foundation staff. The foundation works with the organizations that they fund, and the organizations run the programs. Thus, for some individuals, foundation jobs can be less fulfilling than working on the front lines. Both are very impactful but is different than providing the service compared to funding it.
  • They do not have frequent openings and traditionally look to hire experts in their roles.
  • Prior grantmaking experience and prior nonprofit experience can be hard to gain and many times is preferred.
  • Networking opportunities with nonprofit staff can be more limited than with nonprofit organizations as they tend to have less public gala and fundraising events than traditional nonprofit organizations.

How To Land Foundation / Nonprofit Jobs:

Applying and gaining employment at a nonprofit requires a background of expertise in the role you are applying for. Applying for jobs and or titles that you currently hold or have held offers the best results. If you are changing departments or entering a new career in the nonprofit sector you will need to demonstrate clear and strong volunteer and similar work activities to the position you wish to land. Once you have the prior experience and/or volunteer experience you should invest real time in writing a dynamite cover letter that explains why you are qualified for the exact role and responsibilities long term. Avoid the common mistake of speaking and or writing too much about the mission, and instead not concentrating on the work of the role you are applying for. From the foundation’s perspective, all candidates are passionate about the mission, and thus they are looking for staff that wants to do the exact work of the role long term, share their values, and also fit in with their culture.

Where To Search For Nonprofit Jobs

It best to cast a wide net when looking and research open foundation jobs. Many post on https://www.foundationlist.org, www.idealist.org, or www.linkedin.com but a great majority instead rely on candidates surfing their site and applying to them directly. Many times, positions at foundations are less publicized than the nonprofit sector as they are in higher demand. Foundation List is an example of a service that actively helps Foundations connect to the right talent that they need and that is also highly effective for candidates. For a full listing of where to search for nonprofit employment please read our blog post on nonprofit jobs here.