Nonprofits in our Community and World (6-8)
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.1 Name examples of civil society organizations in the community.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify and describe how civil society organizations help the community.

Students will examine the role and impact of nonprofit organizations within their community and prepare to interview representatives.

PrintOne Fifty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • identify and develop questions to ask representatives of local nonprofit organizations, based on their previous research.
  • prepare to conduct an interview with representatives of nonprofit organizations.

Teacher Note: In advance of this lesson, the teacher will make arrangements for representatives from nonprofits to visit the classroom, or to engage in a phone interview or in e-mail communication with students at a specified time.


Information Recording Sheet (Handout Two) from Lesson Two: What Does a Nonprofit Do, and for Whom?

  1. Anticipatory Set:Tell students that they will be interviewing representatives of some of the organizations they researched and sharing the results of those interviews with their classmates. Ask them to brainstorm what kinds of preparations should be made to make sure they get the answers to all the questions they may have about their organizations.

  2. Guide students’ thinking by asking appropriate questions. Ask them to think about what information they might learn through an interview that they might not have been available through their research. Be sure to explain to the students that they need to ask questions that are open ended —that do not have a yes or no answer—to get the most information. Questions can be general or specific, but should be centered on the experience of working in a nonprofit organization. Take suggestions from the class regarding open-ended questions to ask the representatives.

  3. Teacher Note: It is suggested that at least one question should involve motivation—why did the person choose a job in the nonprofit sector. Possible questions can include:

    • What does an average day in your job look like?
    • How did you become interested in working for your organization?
    • What makes you feel successful in your job?
    • What motivated you to work in the nonprofit sector?
    • How is working in the nonprofit sector different from working in the for profitsector?
    • Do you feel that you are making a difference in the lives of people?
    • What are some of the challenges of working for a nonprofit?
  4. The teacher should record all suggestions on the board, chart paper, or the overhead.

  5. Have the class come to consensus on the five or six questions that will be asked.

  6. Students should practice role-playing an in-person or phone interview, making sure to:


    • Introduce themselves and the reason for the interview.
    • State each of the selected questions clearly.
    • Speak loudly enough to be heard and maintain eye contact with the person being interviewed, if appropriate to the interview format.
    • Pronounce words and names correctly.
    • Attempt to record at least one short direct quote.
    • Be courteous.
    • Express appreciation to the interviewee.
  8. The students conduct the interviews at the time arranged with the representatives.

  9. Ask the students to prepare a short presentation about what they learned in their interviews. These presentations should last approximately three minutes each. They will need to give basic information regarding the work of the nonprofit, and then speak to the class about some of the highlights they learned during the interview.This can be accomplished after the interviews or assigned as homework.


Students will be assessed on their ability to conduct the interview and on the quality of the information they obtain from it.