Nonprofits aren’t known for offering big paychecks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make money. Here are a few nonprofit jobs to consider.
A large paycheck isn’t usually a reason to work for a nonprofit. Meaningful work, engaging community and diverse projects, yes. But the paycheck? No.
“Generally, the jobs with the highest meaning offer low pay. People who want to make the world a better place are not driven by money. They’re driven by a desire to help people,” says Katie Bardaro, lead analyst at PayScale.com.
But nonprofit doesn’t have to mean no paycheck. (Click here to Tweet this thought.)
While many nonprofits operate on a different salary scale than traditional corporate organizations or flashy tech startups, you can set yourself up for success (at least when it comes to your pay) by aiming for one of these careers:
1. Grant Coordinator
Median nonprofit pay: $51,000 (source: Payscale)
Grant coordinators keep the grant money flowing into nonprofits. You figure out which grants are best-suited for your organization, develop proposals and follow up when necessary to ensure everyone’s in compliance with the grant requirements. In short, you oversee the grant procurement process from A to Z.
2. Software Engineer
Median nonprofit pay: $78,000 (source: Simply Hired)
Software engineers design, develop, test and evaluate software and systems. Whether you’re developing a new app for your organization, updating a donor database system or creating a new tracking system for on-the-ground volunteers, you implement and support the techie side of nonprofits.
3. Foundation Program Officer
Median nonprofit pay: $60,000 (Payscale)
Foundation program officers figure out the who, what and how of giving out grant money. It’s your job to make sure the right grant gets to the right organization. To be a program officer, you’ve got to be an expert in your area — whether that’s public health, education, poverty or beyond.
Program officers usually come to foundations after pursuing careers in academia, public charities or agencies. Foundations hire you because you have deep knowledge and expertise in a particular area. — Susan Fitzpatrick, Vice President of the James McDonnell Foundation
4. Communications Director
Median nonprofit pay: $63,000 (Simply Hired)
Communications directors are responsible for a nonprofit’s public relations and media outreach. You manage PR staff if you have them, create communication strategies and serve as the spokesperson for your organization.
It’s your job to make sure your nonprofit is publicly seen in the best light possible — and that people have actually heard about your work.
5. Museum Curator
Median nonprofit pay: $50,000 (Payscale)
Every museum — whether focused on modern masterpieces or children’s exhibits — depends on the museum curator. You oversee and manage the museum’s collections and displays, ensuring the museum is always stocked with pieces that provoke, engage or induce wonder.
You also do a ton of business work — negotiating purchases, categorizing new collection items or figuring out the logistics of loaning out an exhibit.
6. Director of Development
Median nonprofit pay: $58,000 (Payscale)
In the nonprofit world, “development” is generally shorthand for “fundraising.” As such, the director of development is responsible for bringing in the funds that keep a nonprofit on its feet.
You create fundraising strategies and oversee outreach to major funding sources like grants, corporate investors, individual donors and fundraising events. You mix financial savvy with the friendly art of persuasion.
7. Executive Director
Median nonprofit pay: $61,000 (Payscale)
Landing a gig as the head honcho is generally the best bet for making a big(ger) income. Executive directors are like the CEOs of the nonprofit world. You keep your organization alive by steering the policy, leading your team and creating new strategies to sustain your nonprofit’s mission and vision over the long haul.
The best part of the job?
I meet truly amazing human beings every day. I know that sounds a little Disney princess, but seriously, I work in arts and medicine and typically prima donna jerks don’t wake up and think, “I’m going to go write poetry with ladies at the senior center today.” Far and away, I meet wonderful human beings. — Katy Liljeholm, Executive Director at Well Arts
So maybe it’s not about the paycheck after all.
Would you consider a nonprofit job?
Annie Rose Favreau directs content and community strategy for a tech startup in Seattle. You can find her Twittering away at @A_Favreau.