Marketing Decent Humans

5 things you hear when you tell someone you work for a nonprofit

on February 15, 2018

You’re at a party. You’re mingling. People still mingle, right? You’re probably eating some cheese or maybe a nice pinwheel of sorts. You’re talking to real human people. People you actually like. Inevitably the conversation turns to careers.

’So, what do you do?’

It’s a fine question. It’s not like you’re scared to answer or have any reason not to answer. It’s just that every time you get asked this seemingly simple question, you get the typical brigade of comments and questions.

We’re guessing they go a little something like this…

“I work at a nonprofit.”


"That must be so rewarding"

Yes. A nonprofit employee’s job is super rewarding. And yes, there are a lot of days you probably can’t believe you get to help make the world a better place as your “job.” But, it’s not all puppies and rainbows. It is still a job. Is it rewarding all the time? Not exactly.

You go to work everyday just like everyone else and face a list of things to accomplish, goals to hit, and visions to work towards. You fight hard to get your message out there, and feel defeated a lot of days. Not to mention the red-tape headache that comes with working for a nonprofit.

So direct tangible impact with your cause space may not be your every day agenda. But the long days and headaches help get you little bit closer to making that day a reality, and that’s what makes it so rewarding.

"Good for you... I could never do that because I need to make money"

Wait? Did you say you were an unpaid volunteer? This is your job. You actually get paid. Shocking for the world to hear sometimes but somehow there are countless nonprofit employees doing more than just fine. And guess what person at the party… you’re talking to one of them.

"Wow, it must be so easy to get out of bed everyday knowing you’re saving the world"

Yeah, your job is awesome. You are literally saving the world. Just saying that is pretty impressive. And, it’s true. But while we know that in itself gives you legitimate superhero powers, is it easy for anyone to get out of bed in the morning? Let’s be real…

"What’s your role at the company?"

This one is kind of funny. Most nonprofits take a “multi hat” approach when it comes to job roles. And by multi, we mean a lot… like, wear as many hats as you can at once.

Most of the nonprofit employees we talk to do a little of everything (including sweeping the floors). That’s because there typically isn’t a budget to staff entire departments that head marketing, IT, fundraising, event planning, etc. In reality, most of your staff are probably volunteers who may not even be there the next day.

Your official job role? Juggle a bunch of projects and become an expert in things you’ve never tackled before.  And, that’s why you’re such bad asses. You don’t need parameters, you expand your reach and dig in where needed.

"I’d love to work for a nonprofit"

Working for a nonprofit can be one of the best jobs in the whole entire world. In the universe. It is rewarding, it is challenging, it is full of like-minded people, but it’s not for everyone. It takes guts, stamina, passion, grit, and so much more. And it’s all worth it. The impact you’re making, even if you can’t see it when your alarm goes off, or the budget numbers come back, or the floor needs sweeping... is real. And, we can’t thank you enough.


That’s why we think you kick ass. You are true Decent Humans out there doing the work that most of us only think we could do. You’re passionate about the mission of your nonprofit and that is what drives you every day. We know that the grind is real and that you get burnt out just like everyone else. But, the fact that you’re getting up everyday and doing something that really is saving the world, is beyond inspiring.

And so to all those people at that party, we want you to say…

“I work at a nonprofit... any questions?”

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Allison Capaldi

Allison Capaldi is the Brand Manager at CrowdRise. She lives and breathes branding and marketing and in her past life was the brand manager for Moosejaw Mountaineering. Her goal is to never write a blog post without including at least one food analogy.