By Shannon Feeney Andre, Assistant Director
Before starting at Career Services, I worked for a local branch of a national fundraising nonprofit. The work I did was rewarding and I feel fortunate to have started my career there as an intern and then a full-time staff member.
Students sometimes think that the nonprofit sector isn’t a great place to start a career, but I certainly think otherwise. As the Nonprofit & Government Career Fair approaches (Friday, February 28), here are some of my thoughts on the advantages of interning or starting your career in the nonprofit sector.
1) Benefits – Salaries in the nonprofit sector are generally lower, so agencies can often supplement with more-than-average vacation time, comprehensive healthcare and retirement savings packages, and if you happen to work near a college or university, you’ll find opportunities for credit reimbursement due to partnerships the agency develops.
2) Building a network – Boards, volunteers, and donors are vital to nonprofits. Without them, most nonprofits would cease to exist. You can utilize your relationships with these parties to explore other opportunities if you decide the nonprofit sector is not right for you. In this “business” you’ll meet and interact with LOTS of people working in your community.
3) Budgeting – One of the most valuable skills I took away from my experience was budgeting. Budgets for nonprofits are often slim and you are required to do a lot with limited resources. This experience can help you no matter where you go next. Additionally, you will learn to be creative with funds and perhaps gain some experience in resource development, fundraising, and grant writing in order to make your programs happen.
4) Being humble – There is something about working in public service that I think makes people humble. You’re not above making your own copies, pouring coffee for a board member, or stuffing envelopes. With budget cuts and staff shortages sometimes you just need to step up, and keeping this mentality will help you get things done in the future.
So if public service is for you, the Nonprofit & Government Career Fair should be on your calendar! Join us Friday, February 28 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in Panasci Lounge (upstairs in Schine Student Center). More than 50 organizations will be present representing government, education, military, health service, and public service agencies! We also welcome 23 new employers to this fair. Some employer attendees include: Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park, City Year, New England Center for Children, New York State Department of Taxation & Finance, Peace Corps, WorldTeach, and many more. To see the full list of opportunities and agencies attending visit OrangeLink.
We look forward to seeing you!