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  • Expert Interview Series: Victoria Crispo About IT Jobs in the Nonprofit Sector

Expert Interview Series: Victoria Crispo About IT Jobs in the Nonprofit Sector

Jan 21 , 2016

There are two kinds of employees that drive the modern workforce: those who work hard to support themselves and their families - improving their circumstances in any number of industries - and those who are motivated by the well-being of others. For the latter, making a living and supporting loved ones is still a priority, they just choose to build their careers where others can also benefit.

Which one are you?

If you're the latter you may be interested to know that the IT industry has created a great number of jobs in the nonprofit sector - a sector where many careers meet charitable ends.

To learn more about IT jobs in the nonprofit sector, GDH Consulting spoke with Victoria Crispo, manager of Career Content at Idealist Careers, a publication of Idealist.

How do jobs in the nonprofit sector differ from for-profit jobs?

Many jobs in the nonprofit sector are actually quite similar to those in corporations. Like their for-profit counterparts, nonprofits need marketing, accounting, communications and IT staff, as well as other professionals who help the organization run efficiently. While a corporation will have a sales team, a nonprofit will employ professionals to work in their fundraising/development departments. These roles have similar functions to those of a sales team - developing relationships, meeting or exceeding goals, and maintaining budgets.

One of the main differences you'll find in the nonprofit sector is that in many cases, passion trumps skill when it comes to hiring. After speaking with many nonprofit hiring managers, I've learned that most of them make a hire due to the candidate's passion for the organization's mission and cause - the work that they do to make the world a better place. Most managers say that the skills - particularly the hard skills - can be taught, but the passion cannot be. It has to already exist within the individual.

Idealist says it helps move people from "intention to action." Why is that movement important?

Many people have a strong desire to "do good" and make a change in the world, but may not know how to - or what's stopping them from actually take that first step. While many engage in volunteer opportunities in their communities or abroad, they may seek to make an impact in other ways but be unsure how to start or what resources are available to them. This is where one of our other beliefs comes in: the world is full of good ideas that do not travel quickly or widely enough. People can accomplish more when they are able to communicate easily and work together regularly.

Think about it. When you feel like you're about to take on something of great magnitude, having resources to connect you to others and develop ways to work together can make all the difference. Idealist's resources are intended to help people find the information and tools they need, make connections, and bridge those gaps.

When you find people who are looking to do good with their ideas, how do you help them connect?

Idealist has been around since 1995, and most people who are interested in "doing good" come to us directly. They may have heard about us from a friend, family member, colleague, or through their college or university. Many come across our site during their search for a job in the sector, but volunteer and internship opportunities as well as events and one-time action opportunities are also prominent. Visitors have the opportunity to create a profile, participate in group conversations, and bookmark items of interest.

Do you have a specific example where businesses or owners who had an idea went from intention to action through Idealist?

I have a few examples of job seekers who have moved from intention to action via the advice they've received on Idealist Careers, our online publication. Job seekers who are interested in switching sectors or making a career change find our career content helpful in moving from intention to action. Their stories are outlined in the links I've shared. In both examples, the job seekers were meticulous in discovering all they could about the sector and learning how to showcase their abilities in a way that would stand out to employers in which they were interested. Finding a job in the sector is only one of many ways to move from intention (for example, "I want to do good") to action (for example, "I'm working to preserve the environment").

Follow Idealist Careers on Twitter.

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