For their 20th anniversary, Charity Village has asked the nonprofit sector to share our collective wisdom through answering some of their ‘20 questions’. We love the idea, and decided to enlist some of our staff to help add to the growing wealth of answers! See our previous blog for Jen and Katherine’s responses.
Visit Charity Village’s website for more information and to hear responses from others in the sector.
What advice would you give a 20-year-old starting their career?
As a young person who started my nonprofit career at 20, my advice for newcomers to the sector:
- The nonprofit sector is not homogenous. Each organization will have different strengths and weaknesses, a different mission, different operating style, different work culture, and a different size, budget, and reach. Rather than simply looking for a job in the nonprofit sector, consider all of these factors to find the best fit.
- You will learn by doing. My post-secondary education was invaluable, however, most nonprofit positions will require you to get your hands dirty, learn something new with each project, and develop ‘real world’ skills as you go. Don’t let this intimidate you!
- Don’t let your fresh, new ideas be shut down with ‘this is how we have always done it’ (a common nonprofit mantra). There may be good reasons for using a tried and true method, but new ideas should warrant an open conversation about possibilities as well as obstacles.
20 years ago I was using my computer to…
…play Putt-Putt and create beautiful abstract Paint art (I was 5).
Where do you see the sector 20 years from now?
I think 20 years from now the sector as we know it will no longer exist. In fact, I think we are already in the early days of the end of sectors as we have historically understood them.
What I see emerging:
- Businesses/organizations will be expected to have economic, social, and environmental missions weaved into how they work. Solving economic, social, and environmental challenges will be all of our responsibility.
- Today’s pressing issues (e.g. environmental destruction, economic inequality, security, increased urbanization, etc.) likely will not be all “solved’ in 20 years, but what sector you are solving them within will matter less and less.
- Cross-sector collaborations will no longer be the “new” model but rather the standard model, especially when addressing complex community challenges.
- Multiple organizations with different and complementary business models will equitably contribute and leverage each other’s capacity to constantly improve everyone’s well-being.
That’s the dream that drives me!
…gather a plethora of weird facts from the Microsoft Encarta CD-ROM. They did not help me with grade 10 girls despite my complete belief that this was what girls were in to.