Who Works for Nonprofits?

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Learners explore the variety of job opportunities available in the nonprofit sector, many of which may use their skills and interests. In the nonprofit sector, the work is meaningful because it focuses on a mission to make change for the better. 

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • identify job opportunities in the nonprofit sector and some of the specific interests, abilities and skills these job opportunities require.
  • Idealist.org, www.idealist.org


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Spark discussion by saying, When people ask you what you want to be when you grow up, do you ever respond with "I want to work for a nonprofit organization"?

    Discuss the benefits of working for a nonprofit organization. One reason is knowing you are doing something with a purpose, to benefit the community at large. Also, nonprofits employ people with many different skills and interests. They need employees with business, language, art, and planning skills.  

    This Learning to Give white paper may be helpful in brainstorming jobs: Careers in the Nonprofit Sector

  2. Using a museum as an example, brainstorm the types of jobs/careers might be available at a nonprofit organization. (You may substitute another familiar nonprofit, such as a library, hospital, or foundation.)

    Prompt the young people to come up with these ideas with questions such as, "What different activities happen at a museum? Who do you think selects the things to put on display? Who are some of the people you see working at the museum? Would you need people who know about history or science to work in a museum? How do you think the museum promotes the exhibits and raises money?" 

    • Director: in charge of the museum
    • Curator: collects and studies all the displays for exhibits
    • Researcher: the expert, scientist or historian, who helps the curator
    • Exhibit designer: creates attractive displays
    • Fundraiser: raises awareness of the purpose and impact of the museum in order to get funding to keep it running
    • Receptionist/Admission Clerk: greets visitors, provides visitor and phone inquiry information, sells admission tickets
    • Museum Store Clerk: sells museum merchandise, maintains museum store inventory
    • Security Guard: protects museum artifacts, employees and visitors, assists in emergency situations
    • Conservator: cares for the artifacts, maintains air temperature and humidity, repairs damaged artifacts
    • Preparator: assembles exhibits prepared by the designerEducator: looks for learning opportunities to develop educational programs for children and adults
    • Collections manager: keeps track of all museum objects
    • Public relations officer: promotes the museumInterpreter or docent: provides tours for the museum
    • Custodial worker: maintains cleanliness of the facilities
    • Secretary: manages museum office
  3. In groups of three or four, youth explore the potential careers at familiar local nonprofit organizations in their community, such as: the local zoo, museum, Red Cross, Salvation Army, food bank, theater company, Humane Society, and a community foundation. They may use Idealist.org, the chosen nonprofit's website, and other sources to learn about career options. 

  4. Create a poster, display, video, or social media post to raise awareness about "Jobs at Nonprofit Organizations." Each person describes one dream job at a nonprofit, including the mission of the organization, the title of the position, the type of work, the training needed, and anything else that is interesting. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.10 Identify local people who have jobs in the civil society sector.
      2. Benchmark E.12 Describe goods and services and the economy.