TGIF! Am I right?! I’m sharing one of my favorite looks to kick off the weekend and share a bit of news.
So today marks a bit of a transition in my life… For the past four years (and some change) I’ve worked in the non-profit sector. If I’m being honest though, I focused on non-profit in college so it’s been longer than that. Regardless, today is my last day at my current position and I am transitioning to agency life on Monday. It’s definitely time for the transition, but is also a little unsettling because non-profit is what I know.
I’ve been pretty tight-lipped about what I do full-time on the blog. When asked, I just say “I work in non-profit communications.” Since I’m making a transition, I can finally reveal a little more. I think I’ve mentioned in one post that I work with kids. More specifically, I worked in foster care. I planned fundraising and appreciation events, created digital marketing campaigns, managed volunteers, spoke at community events, etc. It was my job to raise money and awareness so that the children and families that my organizations served could thrive.
I think it’s important that you know that so the rest of this post makes sense…plus it feels good to finally mention it since this blog is almost three years old and I’ve never actually said what I spend the majority of my time doing.
I’ve learned a lot in the past 4.5ish years. So today, I’m passing along some of the lessons I’ve learned while working in non-profit.
- Not every day is meaningful. I wish I could tell you I was playing with babies every day but that is not the case. Most days I was at my computer trying to stay within a teeny budget to plan an event. This isn’t to say I didn’t have meaningful days. I did get to play with kiddos, watch them thrive in loving environments, and blossom into awesome little people. Most days though, I was creating an excel spreadsheet of some kind.
- Raises are not guaranteed. Budgets are small in non-profit. You cannot expect a raise every year or any year. Also, “comprehensive benefits” means you get to take home leftover Diet Coke from appreciation events. This doesn’t mean necessarily mean health insurance and retirement plans…
- You will wear many hats. More often than not, the budget only allows the organization to hire one person when they really need three. Therefore, you will be asked to do things you are absurdly unqualified for. It’s not uncommon for one person to be HR, IT, Finance and the Office Manager. The bright side of this is you will gain all kinds of random skills that you may or may not need one day. Can you say well-rounded??
- Some days you just need to cry. I can pinpoint two days in particular that the situation of a child coming into care was so sad that I sat in my office and cried. You won’t always understand, but then you remember this is why you do what you do. Giving these babies a better life is what gets you up in the morning.
- Literally every non-profit is going through a strategic plan. They almost all end in 2020, and then they will start all over again with a different strategic plan. You can never outrun strategic plans.
- There are periods of time when you will live in your office. Before major fundraising events, I would have lived in my office if they had a shower. I was there nights, weekends, early mornings, you name it. I would go home late at night to shower and sleep a few hours before getting up and going right back to work.
- Despite its challenges, it really is rewarding. It is nice knowing that the work that you do makes a difference in the life of someone else. While it’s time to move on, I will definitely miss the good work.