The nitty-gritty: Can you say jack-of-all-trades? This position calls for a mixed bag of skills and an ability to roll with the punches. You’ll be working with top management as well as consultants, contractors, customers and donors. You’ll typically be responsible for the down and dirty clerical work from word processing to updating databases. You may be in charge of scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements for professional staff and board members, coordinating meetings and seminars, and processing registrations for workshops. Generally speaking, you’ll take incoming calls, order and maintain office supplies, fulfill orders for reports, books and other materials, organize materials and hand-outs for events. The occupation ranks among those with the largest number of job openings through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The greatest demand is from nonprofits that serve educational services, health care and social assistance, according to BLS. At the heart of it, a versatile assistant is the point person who keeps things running smoothly with a lean staff, tight supplies and a big agenda. Job description: good team player.
The hours: Part time and full time; some virtual work possible
Median hourly pay: $13.82 to $32.21
Qualifications: Computer literacy. Come armed with a broad knowledge of computer software applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Constant Contact. Core word processing, writing, proofreading, editing and communication skills are indispensable. You should be also at ease working with software for desktop publishing, project management, spreadsheets and database management. Don’t panic if you aren’t riding the cutting edge technology, on-the-job skills can be gleaned with the help of other employees or equipment and software vendors. Familiarity with social media, including Twitter and Facebook, is a plus. Good customer service and organizational skills, and the ability to work independently will serve you well. Employers will be on the lookout for a proven track record of getting things done, problem-solving and pumped-up energy.
The hours: Part-time and full-time positions are typically available. Flexible schedules for weekends and evening work may be necessary to align with peak volunteer times.
Median pay: An hourly wage for a part-time manager may range from $20 to $25 an hour. The average salary for a director of volunteer services can range from $55,000 to $60,000, but salaries vary greatly because of organization, location, your experience and benefits offered.
Qualifications: A personal history of volunteerism goes without saying. Public speaking chops are paramount. A track record of delegating and monitoring many activities at the same time will get you noticed. And those “rah, rah” motivational skills will open doors for you. It’s vital to have the know-how to bring people together from all sorts of backgrounds to work together for a cause, not a paycheck. If you have a background in social services, it helps, but proven leadership and managerial skills in previous positions trumps. Many colleges and universities offer classes in volunteer management as part of their graduate programs in public administration or nonprofit management. One credential available for volunteer managers is “Certified Volunteer Administration.” The certification is backed by supporters such as The United Way Worldwide, Idealist.org and VolunteerMatch.org.
The hours: Part-time and full-time positions.
Median pay: The pay scale is $14.69 to $45.77 an hour, but depending on experience can be far higher.
Qualifications: In general, experience in media relations, writing, editing and marketing are the prerequisites. A background in journalism can help. Bring a deep understanding of a nonprofit’s specific field — environment, medical, social issues — plus more extensive knowledge of the core issue at the forefront of the group’s mission. A bottomless basket of media contacts is a vital. A working knowledge of the ways of social media — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, GooglePlus and other Internet platforms is expected. The Public Relations Society of America offers seminars, webinars and boot camps on a range of topics you need to know now, such as social media, green marketing, crisis communication and branding. There’s a good job board there, too, plus an accreditation for public relations if you want to add to your credentials.Do you consider yourself creative and artistic? >>
The hours: Part-time and full-time positions.
Median pay: $11.85 per hour to $30 and up. Annual wages of recreational therapists typically range between $29,660 and $49,140.
Qualifications: It’s possible to land a gig based on your artistic chops but an official position as a recreational therapist may require some professional training. Requirements vary by state. Some states, such as Oklahoma, North Carolina, Utah and New Hampshire, require a license to practice as a recreational therapist. For specific requirements, contact your state’s medical board. Although it’s not mandatory to be a certified recreational therapist, many employers prefer it. One designation to consider is offered by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. A good source for information is the American Therapeutic Recreation Association. There are also a growing number of groups such as Lifetime Arts, offering courses to train artists and musicians for this type of work.If you revel in event planning, you will love this job. >>
The hours: part-time consultant/full-time staff; evenings and weekend hours
Median pay: $23.90 to more than $80 an hour
Qualifications: Many colleges and universities offer courses in fundraising. It’s not unusual for fundraisers to transfer into the position from careers in public relations, sales or market research. One way to sharpen your fundraising skills is to enroll in classes and certification programs offered by The Association of Fundraising Professionals and The Foundation Center. The AFP’s Fundamentals of Fundraising course offers introductory-level sessions — seven workshops — to introduce the novice fundraiser to the fundamental concepts and techniques of fundraising. The Foundation Center offers free and affordable classes nationwide in classrooms and online that cover grant proposal writing and fundraising skills. Planned giving specialists should have grounding in gift and tax law. There’s no sweet talking Uncle Sam when it comes to the requirements for a charitable deduction.Kerry Hannon is the author of What’s Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job.