Who Works for Nonprofits?

3, 4, 5

Learners will recognize different job opportunities available in the nonprofit sector and understand that these different jobs require specific interests, abilities and skills.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify job opportunities in the nonprofit sector and some of the specific interests, abilities and skills these job opportunities require, using the Idealist.org Web site.
  • complete a resume for employment in a nonprofit organization.
  • understand personal appearance and hygiene expected for an employment interview.
  • Action Without Borders/Idealist.org: www.idealist.org
  • fabric scraps, wallpaper, magazines, construction paper, crayons. markers, scissors
  • Résumé (Handout One)


  1. Teacher Note: This lesson uses the nonprofit example of a museum. Any other nonprofit can be substituted with which students may be familiar, a humane society, a library, a hospital, etc. The Learning to Give web site, This lesson uses the nonprofit example of a museum. Any other nonprofit can be substituted with which students may be familiar, a humane society, a library, a hospital, etc. The web site, www.learningtogive.org, might be helpful in brainstorming jobs: https://www.learningtogive.org/resources/career-options-nonprofit-sector 

    Anticipatory Set:

    Tell the learners that both for profit and nonprofit organizations provide goods and services, but they do it for different reasons. For-profits supply these good and services to make a profit, to benefit themselves. Nonprofits provide them to benefit individuals or the community at large. Tell them that today they will continue to talk about nonprofits – with an emphasis on careers.

    Ask the learners if any of them have ever visited a museum. Ask them what they saw that interested them? Did they see any museum employees there? How could they tell the people were workers? If the workers were wearing name tags, do they recall some of the position titles on the name tags?

  2. Have learners brainstorm all the possible jobs the museum provides for community members (or all the possible jobs for any other nonprofit organization for which they might be more familiar), such positions might be as follows:

    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

    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. Record the learners’ input. Lead the brainstorming session with prompting questions, when learners are having troubles coming up with job titles, 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?"

  4. Assign the learners to groups of three or four students. Assign each group one of the more familiar local nonprofit organizations in their community, such as: the local zoo, museum, Red Cross, Salvation Army, food bank, theater company, Humane Society, etc.

  5. Have each group brainstorm and list possible job positions available at the nonprofit organization to which they were assigned. (Teacher Note: Learners can access information from Action Without Borders/Idealist.org (no login user name or password required), www.idealist.org, click on "Advanced Searches" and then click on "jobs" to find more job/position details.)

  6. Have the learners in each group select one position in their assigned nonprofit and create a fictional character and résumé/application for that position. Learners can be creative on many aspects of the character and résumé, although you may want to set some guidelines that the characters have realistic traits and remind learners the importance of dress and personal hygiene when it comes to applying for a job.

  7. Tell the learners that although they will each be creating their own character and résumé/application, they may help each other with ideas and suggestions.

  8. Hand out the Résumé/Application (see Handout One) to each group member. Tell the learners that their fictional character will be applying for the position they selected and that they will not only be preparing the resume/application but they will also be preparing their fictional character for his/her interview. Learners may need to do a little research to answer some of the questions on the résumé/application. Class discussion may help learners, "What kind of prior work experience would be helpful for a certain position? What education would be helpful? Are there particular skills that are needed for the position?" How should one prepare for an interview? How important is dress and personal hygiene?

  9. Construct the characters by making: The head: draw and cut out a circle with a 2 inch diameter. The body: draw and cut out a rectangle 2-½ inches wide x 4 inches long. The arms: draw and cut out two rectangles ¾ inch wide x 4 inches long. The legs: draw and cut out two rectangles ¾ inch wide x 5 inches long click on "Advanced Searches" and then click on "jobs" to find more job/position details.) Assemble the character and add clothing by using fabric, wallpaper, cutout pictures from magazines, etc.. Add details for the face.

  10. Create a "People and Jobs on Nonprofit Organizations" bulletin board by displaying the characters holding the résumés the learners made. Allow students time to read and observe each others work.

  11. Ask them to reflect verbally or in writing about motivations for choosing a career in the nonprofit sector rather than the for profit sector.


Learners will be assessed on the completion of the Résumé/application and their involvement in classroom discussions.

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.