Ask Alexis | How Can I Find Remote Opportunities in the Nonprofit Sector?

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Dear Ask Alexis,

I stumbled across this page searching for nonprofits that I could work for, possibly from home with travel from time to time. I just moved to Port Arthur, TX from West Palm Beach, FL. I studied Global Health and would love to do something more in that field. For example, I taught English in Thailand for about 7 months and loved it. I don’t want to be away 24/7 but would still love to be involved with something that would allow me to help people and travel, it would literally be my dream!

Thanks for taking the time to read this!

Best,

From Florida to Texas

***

Dear From Florida to Texas,

First of all, congrats on your move! New places can certainly feel overwhelming, but we’re incredibly lucky to live in an age where all you need in order to “find your tribe” is a computer (or a phone) and a decent wifi connection.

If you’re interested in remote work, you can definitely hop over to Idealist.org and select the “remote” filter (along with whatever other org type, education, and category filters you’d like to employ) and see what comes up.

However, it sounds to me like you could use a bit more clarity on what exactly you’re looking for before you dive in and start looking. The first step will be to determine how you can apply your skills and interests to positions that are available for candidates looking to work from home.

Here is how I would suggest getting started:

Step 1: Create your list of skills and interests

Create a list, brainstorm style (all ideas get recorded!), of all of the skills and interests you’d be like to apply to your 9-to-5. For example, you mentioned a knack for teaching English; add that to your list.

If you have a particular skill that you don’t want to apply to your career (a photographic memory of every cast member ever to grace the “Real Housewives” franchise) leave it off the list.

Here are some examples of what you may want to include:

If you want to add additional details to anything on your list (if there’s a very niche way in which you’d like to apply this skill to your career, for example), go for it. The more details on here the better.

Step 2: Create a list of organizations you would like to work for

Don’t worry about the first list for this part of the exercise. Just spend some time organizing a list of organizations that interest you.

Pro Tip: Take the time to do the research and only list organizations that really speak to you.

Explore everything that may attract you to a potential employer. Here are some things that may make a particular organization stand out above the rest:

  • Location
  • Organization size
  • Organization culture
  • Potential coworkers (perhaps somebody you worked with in the past and would love to work with again)
  • Organization’s investment in employee education and professional development
  • Possibility of travel

Don’t limit yourself to organizations that focus on an issue area that is particularly close to your heart. By expanding your definition of what type of organization appeals to you, you may actually discover something new that you wouldn’t have thought of had you restricted yourself to a particular issue area.

Step 3: Explore departments and titles

Now that you’ve identified some organizations that you’d be interested in working with, take a look through their websites for their “staff” and “about us” pages to get a sense of the types of positions that are available (either presently or in the future).

For each organization, identify departments for which you may be interested in working and job titles that sound appealing to you. Once you have that list, take another pass through and make a mark next to each role or department that may be available for remote work.

Step 4: Begin the search

Now that you have a solid list of actual job titles that may be available for remote candidates, it’s time to start your search. Visit Idealist.org (don’t forget to use the “remote” filter) to see what positions are available at your preferred organizations and set up some alerts.

At this point, you can start putting some of your digital networking skills to the test. You should also dedicate some down time to determining what else you could be doing in order to land the remote job of your dreams.

Finally, while these are old posts, here are two Idealist Careers features that highlighted orgs offering remote opportunities. Even though these positions are no longer available, knowing who hires remote employees can help your search start off in the right direction.

***

Send your questions and comments to me at AskAlexis@idealist.org, and if we plan to publish your question, I’ll be sure to give you a heads up (and I’ll also be sure to keep your info anonymous, of course).

Looking forward to reading your stories and answering your questions!

 

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As a seasoned communications professional with 15 years of nonprofit experience and 6 years of experience creating engaging content and copy, I love the idea that a thoughtfully crafted piece of content can spark social change. Here at Idealist Careers, I'm eager to offer job seekers, game changers, and do-gooders actionable tips, career resources, and "social-impact lifestyle" advice.
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