4 Myths About Nonprofit Careers to Dispel


In April, our editor Victoria Crispo had the opportunity to participate in a 20 minute episode of the “Making a Living with Maggie” podcast.

A certified life purpose and career coach, Maggie Mistal noticed that a lot of people seeking her advice said they wanted to feel as if their career is making difference. Well, nonprofit organizations are all about making a difference so this was a great fit for us here at Idealist!

This episode of Career Happy Hour was dedicated to “The Truth Behind Nonprofit Careers” in which Victoria dispels myths about working in the nonprofit sector.

Myth 1: It’s hard to transition into nonprofits from another area.

Nonprofit organizations need a lot of the same type of job functions you find in other areas…showcase your transferrable skills! (Gain more tips on doing this by checking out L’Oreal’s story of successfully using her transferrable communication and journalism skills.)

Myth 2: Working at a nonprofit doesn’t pay. If I do get paid at a nonprofit, it’ll look bad.

False! Nonprofits pay their employees; not everyone who contributes is a volunteer. You can research the factors influencing salary, and even learn more about the organization’s pay scale by reviewing its 990 form. If you can’t sustain yourself, financially or otherwise, it will be difficult for you to continue doing good work.

Myth 3: I just want fulfilling work, so I don’t care what kind of work I do. As long as I work in a nonprofit whose mission I support, it doesn’t matter what I take on.

For a sustainable career, you should still know what type of role you want and is a good match for you. (See how Connie did this on her journey from the social sector to the corporate world and back again.)

Myth 4: There are fewer resources and therefore a greater chance for burnout in nonprofits.

Many nonprofits recognize the need to support their workers in a way that keeps burnout at bay, and you can be proactive in your own handling of burnout.

Check out this short podcast episode for more details about Victoria’s responses and for tips on building your nonprofit career!




Thanks for reading and listening. Idealist Careers wants to hear from YOU!

What are your experiences with these myths?

What advice would you give?

Did this podcast help you?


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About Author

Throughout my 15+ year career in resume writing, career coaching, higher education, and working with nonprofit job seekers, I’ve used an approach that is nurturing yet practical and driven to achievement. As Audience Development and Content Manager at Idealist for our online publication, Idealist Careers, I bring relevant tips to today's social impact job seekers and career changers with sensitivity towards the challenges they face. I also am the writer of our career advice column, "Ask Victoria". Understanding the roles that a positive outlook and holistic self-care play in career success, I share with our readers time-honored methods for improving confidence and productivity. Have a question? Ask at askvictoria@idealist.org. Follow me on Twitter @_AskVictoria.

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