From the mail bag: how to get a job with a non-profit.
Sasha from London, England (which I can’t seem to type without a British accent in my head) recently wrote asking for tips on getting a job with a great organization that helps people in the developing world.
The first step to getting a great job with an NGO (or any organization really) is to understand what they need and how you can help them get that. One thing that virtually every NGO needs: funds.
Become a fundraising ninja
If you want to get job offers from a wide variety of NGOs then take the time to become a master fundraiser. Don’t worry, this is easier than it sounds – it just requires an intelligent approach and a bit of experience.
First, read a book or two on sales. The tools of the master salesman are the exact same as the tools of the master fundraiser. Personally, I like Jeffrey Gitomer’s approach.
Next, sign up for a few local fundraisers. Consider running a 5k, doing a dance marathon, purchasing a ticket for an event held by a non-profit, or creating your own fundraiser for a charity you love.
Now fundraise your heart out. Blend social media, networking, and corporate sponsorship into your fundraising efforts.
Your goal is to raise as much money for the cause as you possibly can. You should aim to be in the top three individual fundraisers. If you’re not, figure out how to get there on your next campaign. Ask the top fundraiser what he or she did correctly and then emulate their approach.
After you’ve gone through this process at least once start approaching the NGOs that you love and want to work for.
Don’t bother sending an application, they get a million of those. Instead find the contact info of the most powerful person at the NGO and contact her. Politely follow-up every ten business days until she responds.
Explain that you really believe in their work and want to support them by joining their fundraising team as an employee. Ask who you should speak with at the NGO and explain your experience rocking local fundraisers and how you want to use those skills to serve the NGO.
NGOs are always on the market for talented fundraisers. If you take the time to become one, doors will start opening.