Careers in Philanthropy

3, 4, 5

Students will describe career opportunities in the nonprofit sector.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo or More Forty-Five to Sixty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • compare/contrast businesses that are nonprofit and for profit.
  • determine if some local businesses are nonprofit or for profit.
  • Photographs or pictures of local businesses cut from periodicals (your local Chamber of Commerce publication will be a good source or use newspaper advertisements)
  • Unit Assessment: What Do You Know About Philanthropy? (Attachment One)


  1. Anticipatory Set: Ask students to define profit.

  2. A day or two in advance of the lesson, display pictures/photographs of local businesses. Display several of the pictures under the heading "For Profit" and several under the heading "Nonprofit." Good examples of nonprofits might be the local hospital, a church, public library, the United Way offices, etc. Prior to the lesson, remind students to look closely at the pictures and begin thinking about how the businesses are alike or different.

  3. As a whole group, ask students to comment about what the pictures may or may not have in common. Elicit comments referring to the purpose of each business and what happens to any money acquired by the various businesses.

  4. Have students create a Venn diagram. One circle is to be labeled "For Profit Businesses" and the other "Nonprofit Businesses." Students should have at least two items in each category and at least two items in the middle in which the circles overlap (characteristics that are the same in "profit" and "nonprofit" organizations). Examples of answers in the "For Profit" area might include: the purpose is to make money; money is used to make more money; high profile advertising; and so on. In the "Nonprofit" area answers may be: money is used to help people; generally less aggressive advertising; holds fundraisers; etc. In the "Same" area answers may include: both make money; money is used to pay staff and buy supplies, both serve a purpose, and so forth.

  5. Conduct a nonprofit "Career Fair." Arrange for three or four knowledgeable speakers, each representing a local nonprofit organization. Divide the class into three or four smaller groups (depending on the number of speakers). Each group will start with a different speaker. The time schedule will need to be closely followed. The format is as follows:

    • Each speaker may tell about his/her organization for ten minutes.
    • This will be followed by five minutes for student questions. During this time, the students may be asked to take notes on paper. (This is advisable, but optional, depending on the skill of your group.)
    • After fifteen minutes, the groups rotate, until all speakers have been heard.

The students will be given a list (or pictures) of six local businesses. Three must be "For Profit" and three must be "Nonprofit." For each business, students will need to identify whether it is a "for-profit" or "not-for-profit" establishment, explain why, and indicate what the main purpose of the business is. This can be done informally, as a class discussion, or could be a written test depending on the skill level of the students.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 02. Careers In The Nonprofit Sector
      1. Benchmark E.2 Describe a job in the civil-society and for-profit sectors.