University of Wisconsin–Madison

Nonprofit Management & Education

NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS (also known as NGOs – non-governmental organizations) can be found in all 50 states and throughout the world.  While their organization and structure may vary, one thing they have in common is that all are driven by a mission, for example: social justice, human rights, refugee rights, or international development.  They do not seek to make a profit from the work that they do (like the private sector), nor do they receive most of their funding from taxpayers (like the government), instead they fund-raise and write grants to obtain the funding that allows them to fulfill their various missions.  While working at a nonprofit may never make you a millionaire, you absolutely can “make a living by making a difference!

EDUCATION: For L&S students who did not study education during undergrad, but may have decided that they really would like to teach one day, there are a multitude of options.  You can earn a Master of Arts in Teaching, earn a teaching license through an alternative certification program like Teach for America, or even get your ESL and teach English abroad.  There are many possibilities and it’s never too late to take your first step into the classroom. Look below for some steps to help you get started.  Note: If you are interested more in Education Policy than teaching, please visit our Government, Politics, and Policy Career Community.

To find specific details and links related to a job or internship search in Nonprofit Management or Education, please scroll to the bottom of this page to the DIG DEEPER section, then click on the appropriate tab(s)

Over one-third of nonprofits believe the following five areas will experience the most job growth in the coming year: fundraising/development; direct services; education/community outreach; program management/support; and marketing/communications/public relations

20016 NEP Survey

Check Out Related L&S Courses

There are a wide array of courses open to L&S students that will help you explore careers in Nonprofit Management & Education. Check them out to gain insight and earn academic credit:

Nature and dimensions of poverty in the U.S. Individual and social consequences of poverty. Historic and contemporary approaches. Poverty and social welfare policy and programs. Learn more and register at MyUW

This course investigates aspects of social justice and equity as they relate to teaching, schooling and education. Learn more and register at MyUW

Educational controversies in social contexts. An examination of fundamental dilemmas concerning the nature and purpose of educational systems in the US. Learn more and register at MyUW

Making Connections

Student/Professional Organizations

UW-Madison and the community have a variety of student and professional organizations to consider joining. Check out a few on our list

Badger Mentors

Badger career coaches are here to help you with your resume, expand your network, provide helpful advice.

Graduate School Resources

You might be thinking about graduate work beyond your bachelors degree. Take a look at the application process and things to consider before you apply. The links below will guide you in pursuing a career in Teaching or Global Development

Nonprofit Resume Sample

Job Description Sample 1

Job Description Sample 2

Dig Deeper: Links and Resources

  • Educational Opportunities in K-12 & Higher Ed (for non-Education majors)

    This section contains three areas:

    1. Alternative Methods of Entry to Traditional K-12 Teaching
    2. Careers in Higher Education – Nationwide
    3. Working for the UW and the UW System

    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF ENTRY TO TRADITIONAL K-12 TEACHING

    Maybe you didn’t major in Education, but are now wishing you had, or, you are looking to utilize your major in a classroom setting but aren’t licensed to teach.  The links below can give you guidance about where to start.

    Advice from the NEA – National Education Association

    General Information about pursuing teaching when it wasn’t your undergraduate degree including licensing requirements by state

    Teaching in Private (Parochial) Schools vs Public Schools

    Becoming a Substitute Teacher

    UW Madison’s School of Education – The School of Education offers master’s degree teacher certification programs in Secondary Education and Special Education. In other teacher education programs. Individuals with a previous degree will earn either a second degree or teacher certification only. There is also a Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis which can enable graduates to move on to careers as principals, deans, policy analysts, etc..

    Cardinal Stritch – Master of Arts in Teaching programs

    Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) – The CNCS is a federal entity that helps more than 5 million Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service and sponsors the following programs (among many others)

    • Teach for America – Nationwide 2 year program leading to full teacher certification, TFA features a diverse network of leaders who confront educational inequity through teaching, and work with unwavering commitment from every sector of society to create a nation free from this injustice.
    • City Year – Our whole school, whole child approach is based around a group of carefully selected, highly trained young adults – our AmeriCorps members – who provide individualized support to at-risk students, while also establishing an overall positive learning environment in the schools throughout America that need us the most.
    • College Possible – Serve with College Possible, a growing nonprofit that makes college admission and success possible for low-income students.
    • Match Corps –  A one-year urban education fellowship. Recent college graduates from top universities across the country commit a year to closing the achievement gap in Boston, one student at a time.
    • AmeriCorps – Vista, State/National, and NCCC Programs in a wide range of areas including some related to teaching and education

    AUSL Chicago – AUSL creates schools of excellence by developing highly effective teachers and transforming educational outcomes for students in the lowest performing schools

    TNTP Teaching Fellows – Similar to Teach for America but not affiliated with CNCS, this program focuses on some of America’s toughest cities/states and offers programs in Baltimore, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Nevada.

    Teaching Options for Non-education Majors (PDF)

    CAREERS IN HIGHER EDUCATION – Nationwide

    You loved being a Badger.  You love the whole environment of higher education. You know you aren’t going to be a professor and you can’t be a student forever, but what else is there?  The links below will lead you to sites where you can find staff jobs (such as academic advising, housing, admissions, etc..) in colleges and universities nationwide.

    Higher Ed Jobs – staff and faculty positions in colleges and universities nationwide

    The Chronicle of Higher Education – staff and faculty positions in colleges and universities nationwide

    Academic 360 – staff and faculty positions in colleges and universities nationwide

    Student Personal Association – Collaboration, networking, and professional development for current and aspiring higher education professionals in the Madison-area

    Student Affairs Mentoring Program (SAM) – A program sponsored by the SPA that can connect you to a student affairs professional on campus to learn about careers in higher ed

    Oshkosh Placement Exchange – You will find mostly residence hall positions at OPE, but a number of schools are also looking for people to work with Student Activities, Greek Affairs, and Leadership Development. There is always a mix of bachelor level, graduate assistanceships and post-masters positions

    WORKING FOR THE UW, THE UW SYSTEM & THE UW COLLEGES

    Jobs at UW – Work right here on the UW campus

    University of Wisconsin System Jobs – Employment links for all of the UW System universities

    UW College Jobs – Employment links for any of the 2 year UW schools

    Full list of Universities in the state of Wisconsin (Including tech schools; search pages for job postings)

  • Resources for Teaching English Abroad, Gap Year Programs, and Grad School Considerations

    RESOURCES FOR TEACHING ENGLISH ABROAD 

    As the world continues its rush to learn English, still the lingua franca of international commerce, diplomacy, and higher education, the bulk of teaching opportunities abroad continue to be for those who teach English. Your primary “credential” is simply being a native speaker of the English language. A bachelor’s degree is usually required. Some formal ESL training, whether in TEFL or TESOL certificate, is almost always a plus and in some cases a prerequisite if you have no previous experience. Candidates with advanced training and either a certificate in ESL or a master’s degree in TESOL will have greater flexibility and command more pay. The ability to teach ESL may be all you need to obtain a job and a work permit in various countries across Asia and Latin America, and many other English teaching jobs exist in other desirable regions of the globe. The following resources should help you in your search for a great opportunity (listed in no special order).

    WESLI – Wisconsin English as a Second Language Institute

    UW Madison TESOL Certificate for undergrads and grad students

    Transitions Abroad

    Fullbright

    JET – Japan Exchange and Teaching Program

    Teach for All – Worldwide teaching opportunities in many countries

    Teach Abroad

    Go Overseas 

    TEFL International – Fully accredited 4 week TEFL certificate program

    Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL)

    Dave’s ESL Cafe

    Center for Applied Linguistics

    Resources for Prospective Teachers of English Abroad (PDF)

    Gap Year Programs

    Are you considering a gap year program that requires you to pay them for the experience?  They’re not all bad, but read this before you commit!

    Student Conservation Association – The SCA is a fantastic organization that motivates and deploys thousands of young people who care passionately about improving the natural world. They intern in national parks and public lands and urban green spaces to make improvements and learn conservation and sustainability practices. They learn how to plan, enact, and lead, all while making a tangible impact in conservation. There is a one-time $25 application fee to join the corps, but once you pay that fee, you can apply to do as many SCA programs as you wish throughout your lifetime.

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) – The CNCS is a federal entity that helps more than 5 million Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service and sponsors the following programs (among many others).  Most of these programs last a year or longer:

    PDFs With Info About Gap Year Programs

    Info about Grad school options

  • Americorps and Peace Corps Service (specialized information)

    Both Americorps and Peace Corps offer you an opportunity to: “Ask not what your country can do for you…”

    Americorps

    Americorps as a stand alone program was created in 1993 when the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) was established to connect Americans of all ages and backgrounds with opportunities to give back to their communities and their nation. It merged the work and staffs of two predecessor agencies, ACTION and the Commission on National and Community Service. Today CNCS serves millions of individuals of all ages and backgrounds help meet local needs through a wide array of service opportunities. These include projects in six priority areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families.

    Americorps is comprised of three different programs that college students typically participate in: Vista, State/National (Network), and the NCCC

    AMERICORPS VISTA

    Service in Vista can best be explained as “indirect service” to clients.  This means that the skills you learn to use in a Vista internship are ideal to prepare you to manage a nonprofit or government agency in the future, but that you will seldom (if ever) actually work with the population you are helping.  It’s the concept of capacity building which includes things like grant writing, fundraising, volunteer management, etc. Search for opportunities here.

    Additionally, Vista alums who complete the full year of service receive one year of Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) for Federal jobs following completion of their program.  Click here to learn how this works.  You can also view the Vista Job Board to get an idea of the kinds of positions available to Vista Eligible candidates in the federal government.

    AMERICORPS NETWORK (aka STATE/NATIONAL)

    Service in S/N programs can best be explained as “direct service” to clients. Unlike Vista, here you will typically work directly with the population your agency/nonprofit is serving. Common roles include tutoring, event execution, etc.  Search for opportunities here.

    AMERICORPS NCCC

    AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, residential, team-based program for young adults, age 18-24. Members develop leadership skills and strengthen communities by completing service projects and gaining life experience. Teams, comprised of 8-10 members, complete multiple projects that address essential community needs throughout the United States. During the 10-month service term, members receive lodging, transportation, uniform and meals. Upon the completion of the program, members are eligible to receive the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award equal to the maximum Pell Grant amount. NCCC also includes FEMACorps and several stand alone programs like City Year.

    PEACE CORPS

    As most students know, the Peace Corps was established by and Executive Order issued by President John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961 which was followed up on 3/2/61 by Kennedy’s famous “Ask not…” speech. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have gone on to achieve extraordinary success in all kinds of fields. Some, inspired by their service, stay in education or health-related professions, or choose to join the Foreign Service. Others pursue careers in business, from entrepreneurial startups to management at major companies. The alumni network is huge and can be a real benefit when you are searching for the first post-service job.

    Unlike many years ago, Peace Corps volunteers are no longer sent “wherever” with no say in their placement (unless they choose this option), but instead can select a specific program, project, or country to serve with. Some common questions and benefits of Peace Corps service are listed below.

    • Is Peace Corps Service Right for You?
    • Financial Incentives Linked to Service –  Financial assistance is available to returned Peace Corps Volunteers at more than 90 partner schools in a wide range of disciplines through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program. All fellows complete internships in under-served American communities, allowing them to bring home, and expand upon, the skills they learned as Volunteers. If accepted, up to 33% of your graduation tuition may be paid. A complete list of partner schools can be found here
    • Federal Job Benefits Linked to Service – Like Americorps Vista alums, Peace Corps alums who complete the full 2 years of service receive Non-Competitive Eligibility for Federal jobs for one year following completion of their program. Click here to learn more.  You can view opportunities (Federal and NGO) for returned Peace Corps Volunteers on their Career Link.
    • UW Campus Peace Corps RepresentativeVisit with a returned Peace Corps volunteer who can assist you with your application, site selection, and more.  Many events and opportunities are offered throughout the year. You will find them listed on the page.
    • UW’s Peace Corps Recruitment RankingSimply put: WE’RE #1!!!!!
  • Career Development & Resume Guidance

    I want to make my career in nonprofits, but I haven’t had a lot of professional work experience

    • Highlight your time in college – a class project or independent study can make a great resume entry
    • Any volunteering and student org involvement you had – paid or unpaid – is relevant
    • Think of all the different skill sets you have developed as a busy student. You’ve researched and written reports, you’ve worked in labs and followed different laboratory protocols, you’ve joined student organizations, you’ve planned events

    Career Development Guides

    Developing your resume for a job in nonprofits or education

    To market your unique skills for nonprofit or education careers and internships consider the following:

    • What are your strengths in the following key areas: people, resources, information, and systems
    • How are your skills from being an undergraduate student transferable?
    • When developing your resume, use the language of the industry and from the job description of the job for which you are applying

    Skills Matrix

    Below is a matrix that you can use to assess how your skills match a job description you are interested in applying for. Use this format as a way of mapping out your “transferable skills” or your strengths, abilities, & accomplishments as a way of ensuring you are able to make the connection from what you have already done to the skills described in the job description.

    Whenever possible, present your accomplishments in numerical terms, using percentages, monetary amounts, and numbers of clients served. Numbers jump off the page and help an overwhelmed potential employersee your worth quickly and quantifiably.

    You’ll find some great examples in this blog post on the Four Elements of a Tailored Resume

    Skills (acquired through previous volunteer or paid work or class projects) What did you do? (specifics) How did you do it? (what skill sets did you use?) Why did you do it? (what was the broader purpose?) What were the results? (quantifiable)
     Example: research
     Example: promotion

    For resume and cover letter samples visit our Resume and Cover Letter page

    Also see a Sample Resume you can use for a nonprofit job or internship

  • What are Nonprofits and How are They Organized?

    What is a Nonprofit?

    The nonprofit sector is comprised of organizations working towards bettering or addressing a certain issue and/or need as defined by each organization’s mission statement. The Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University has conducted research on nonprofits and developed the following list of characteristics for nonprofit organizations:
    • Institutionally separate from government (but may work in tandem with government agencies);
    • They do not make or return profits to their owners or directors; money received from fundraising goes back into the organization to support the mission
    • Self-governing (able to control their own activities); and
    • Voluntary (non-compulsory and involving some meaningful degree of voluntary participation)
    • Not all nonprofits are charities.  As you will see below, an entity can be a nonprofit but not be a charitable cause

    Nonprofit speak 101 – learn the lingo of the sector

    Types of nonprofits

    In the United States, as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) there are three main types of nonprofit organizations (note: there are 29 types of organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c). Each type of organization is exempt from certain taxes because of the contributions it makes to the community.

    • 501(c)(3) – The majority of nonprofits are in this category. They must show broad public support. Donations are tax-deductible; Common examples include private foundations and charitable nonprofits. Research them on sites such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar
    • 501(c)(4) – They perform advocacy/lobbying work, ostensibly designed to promote social welfare causes (e.g., AARP). These groups are allowed to to participate in politics, so long as politics do not become their primary focus; meaning they must spend less than 50 percent of their money on politics. Donations to 501c4’s is not tax-deductible
    • 501(c)(6) – This includes professional and trade associations, chambers of commerce, trade boards, real estate boards, and even NFL teams (so long as they don’t generate a profit for their members). Donations to 501c6’s is not tax-deductible.

    Nonprofit Job Titles

    Common corporate or
    government job titles
    Common Nonprofit
    job titles
    Accountant Advocate
    Administrative Assistant Board Administrator
    CEO Community Manager
    Event planner Community Organizer
    Manager Development/Fundraising
    Marketing/Communications Grant Writer
    President Outreach Coordinator
    Programmer/web developer Program Coordinator
    Researcher Program Director
    Teacher Volunteer Manager

    Additional Resources

    Download this free book:  The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for First-Time Job Seekers

    Also read:  How to Turn a Volunteer Gig Into A Job

  • Domestic Opportunities, Volunteering & Internships

    INTERN/VOLUNTEER IN THE MADISON AREA

    The Morgridge Center at the Red Gym here on campus is a great place to start. They have a lot of knowledge about local nonprofits and a great opportunities database. Some of their special options include:

    • The Badger Volunteer program
    • A fantastic weekly newsletter called the Morgridge Mail where you can get weekly updates about local nonprofit opportunities

    Volunteer Your Time is the place to find local Madison area opportunities with all kinds of nonprofits

    Volunteer Match has both Madison opportunities as well as opportunities nationwide

    Community Shares features a wide range of local nonprofits looking for help – many near campus.  There are great opportunities to gain skills in advocacy, direct service, grant writing, and much more.

    Wisconsin Health Corps has public health opportunities you can engage in

    Meet local employers at the Public Service Fair (held early each fall and spring semester)

    Intern/Volunteer Nation- or Worldwide

    • Idealist is the closest thing you’ll find to a nonprofit careers homepage and it is THE place to find and learn about specific nonprofit organizations that focus on issues you care about, read blogs about the nonprofit sector, find internship and job postings nation- and worldwide, and so much more
      • Search for nonprofit organizations all over the US and the world that do the things you’re passionate about, then reach out to see how you can get involved
      • Get guidance and advice about your path from the Idealist Career Center
    • Volunteer Match has opportunities all over the US as well as worldwide
    • Student Conservation Association – The SCA is a fantastic organization that motivates and deploys thousands of young people who care passionately about improving the natural world. They intern in national parks and public lands and urban green spaces to make improvements and learn conservation and sustainability practices. They learn how to plan, enact, and lead, all while making a tangible impact in conservation
    • The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) – The CNCS is a federal entity that helps more than 5 million Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service and sponsors the following programs (among many others):
      • AmeriCorps – Vista, State/National, and NCCC Programs
      • Teach for America
      • City Year
      • College Possible
      • Public Allies – Allies are placed with with a nonprofit organization where they help address critical community needs such as youth development, education, workforce development, environmental issues, arts programming and community health.
      • National Health Corps – Connects people who need it most with health education and services today, while developing tomorrow’s compassionate health leaders.
    • NPO.net – Non profit job and internship listings esp for northern IL and southern WI
    • Bridgespan – This site is dedicated to advancing your career and involvement in the nonprofit sector
    • The Public Service Careers internship page has many good opportunities nationwide

    When should you start looking for internships or volunteer experiences?

    The nonprofit sector doesn’t have a “hiring season.” Much of the hiring in nonprofits takes place ad hoc (as needed) and at the entry level, much happens through referrals and “word of mouth” rather than job postings. For internships or targeted volunteer opportunities (ones you choose in order to gain specific knowledge and skills), start planning anywhere from 4-6 months before you hope to start.  This will give you enough time to narrow down your interests and discern which skills you’d like to build through the experience. Most opportunities will be unpaid, so also seek out scholarships that may help you fund your internship. During the 4-6 months before you start, take the time to do any or all of the following:

    When should you start applying for jobs?

    The general rule of thumb would be to make formal applications about 30-90 days before you hope to start work, but your networking should start much, much sooner. As noted above, start networking 4-6 months to as much as several years before you hope to start a career in nonprofits.  The nonprofit world – especially at the entry level – thrives on personal recommendations, and you need to be known to be recommended. In addition to LinkedIn and Badger Bridge, also consider joining groups like YNPN and/or AFP (links below on the Networking tab) to begin getting connected to nonprofit work in the Madison area and beyond.  Also read:  How to Turn a Volunteer Gig Into A Job

  • International Nonprofit Opportunities

    International Nonprofit Opportunities

    Do you dream of working overseas for a nonprofit, or non-governmental organization (NGO). Unless you are able to volunteer right after graduating in the hopes of that turning into a job, finding paid employment with these types of organizations can be very difficult.  It’s vital that you plan ahead and/or have friends or relatives who can give you a helping hand.

    Tings to do while you are still a student at UW – Madison include:

    Sites That Post Jobs & Internships in International Nonprofits and NGOs

    Additional Resources for Finding International Opportunities

  • Starting Your Own Nonprofit

    If you think you’d like to start your own nonprofit, there is a lot to know.  The following two resources are a great place to start:

    Grantspace

    The National Council of Nonproifits

    To learn all about the world of running and managing a nonprofit entity, check out The Chronicle of Philanthropy

    Once you have a solid idea for your nonprofit and have conducted a needs assessment, the UW law school may be able to help you take the next steps with its Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic

    Finally it is a good idea to connect with organizations like YNPN where you can connect with other young people who have devoted their lives to serving the greater good.

     

  • Nonprofit Networking

    Nonprofit Networking

    If you are looking to break into the world of nonprofits, the most important thing you can do is to start building your network.  Although some entry level nonprofit positions do get posted to the internet, the vast majority are filled by 1) Promoting a volunteer to employee status  2) Receiving a referral from a friend or colleague in the field 3) Pure serendipity (ie you called and asked or emailed on the right day).

    This blog post gives some good tips and tricks for networking your way to your future in nonprofits:  Smarter Nonprofit Networking: Building A Professional Network That Works for You

    45 Groups Nonprofit Professionals Can Use to Network or Find Jobs

    Badger Bridge and Linked In can also be great networking sources

    Young Nonprofit Professionals Network – is committed to providing the investment needed to help young nonprofit professionals be successful in the nonprofit sector. This is a fantastic way for students to meet and network with young professionals in the nonprofit community

    Association of Fundraising Professionals – Develops fundraising professionals, advances the profession, and inspires a culture of philanthropy in our communities.

    Resources Specific to Madison and Wisconsin