Nonprofit Organizations

Years ago I was working with a student looking for a job. As we were discussing areas where he could look, I mentioned non-profit organizations (NPOs). He told me he couldn’t consider them – his parents didn’t want him to work for a non-profit. It occurred to me at that point people don’t understand what non-profit organizations are and are not.

Service intern Gwen Casebeer works with a stream insect beside Natioonal Park Service staff and volunteers

First, a definition: A nonprofit organization (abbreviated as NPO, also known as a not-for-profit organization) is an organization that does not distribute its surplus funds to owners or shareholders, but instead uses them to help pursue its goals. Nonprofit organizations may generate revenue, but this revenue cannot be distributed to owners or employees as they might be in a for-profit business. Nonprofits include, but are not limited to, hospitals, churches, educational institutions, social welfare organizations, and charitable organizations.

Salary information: You may be surprised at some of the salaries in non-profit organizations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2007:

    • The average hourly earnings of full-time workers in nonprofits were $21.68.
    • Managers in nonprofits averaged $34.24 per hour.
    • Business and financial operations occupations at nonprofit establishments earned an average of $26.49 per hour.
    • Computer and mathematical science occupations average wages of those employed by nonprofits was $32.00 per hour.
    • The average hourly earnings of legal occupations at nonprofits were $33.53.
    • Office and administrative support occupations include secretaries and administrative assistants as well as tellers, dispatchers, and various types of clerks. The average hourly wages of nonprofit office and administrative support workers were similar for those in state government, $15.92.

Sample Job Titles in Non-Profits:

    • Marketing Director
    • Assistant Marketing Director
    • Director of Development/Fund Raising
    • Event Coordinator
    • Publication Specialist

For Further Information:

Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife.