Working for a Nonprofit Organization

Grade Level: 
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Introduction to Philanthropy
Nonprofit Organization
Video Clip and Discussion Guide: Young people who want their career to be interesting, challenging, and to make a difference may consider working in the nonprofit sector. The options and motivations are as varied as any career path. This video shares motivations of people who chose careers in the nonprofit sector. It also describes the varied types of work. This activity includes an opening to focus students' attention, an 8-minute video clip of experts, and follow-up questions.

Photo credit: Lemonade Stand by Michael Newton is licensed under CC by 2.0

Anticipatory Set

Ask the students, "When you were five and people asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up, what did you say?" Allow for several responses and acknowledge that we imagine ourselves in careers we are aware of that seem important and fit our skills and interests. We learn about career options as examples in the media, in the work of our family and friends, and in the community. Not many people imagine themselves as the "executive director or fundraiser of a nonprofit organization." But the nonprofit sector accounts for 10 percent of  jobs and allows us to make a difference in our work. A meaningful choice. 



  1. What are some of the reasons that people choose a nonprofit career?
  2. How is working in a nonprofit organization different than a for-profit organization?
  3. How do you see nonprofits doing work to support the work of the government (serving the needs of all)?
  4. What are some areas of need that interest you? For what issue would you like to make a difference?
  5. Are all nonprofits charitable? What does charitable mean? 

Follow-up activity

  1. As a group, brainstorm improvements to the world you would like to see in the next ten years. 
  2. Individually, draw a picture, write a description, or write a poem showing a vision of one way you would like to see the world in ten years. (examples: clean oceans, cure for cancer, gun control)
  3. On the Internet, find nonprofits that are working toward those changes.
  4. What do you think is one step in that direction you can make this year? 
  5. Do it.