Is a Nonprofit Career in Your Retirement Plans?
Let’s face it, we all age and, at some point, think about retirement. In preparation for my new future, I moved to a 55-and-over community several years ago, which I love. At that time, I moved into the community for my wife’s security and to meet new people. My job at the time kept me traveling a great deal. I also downsized to begin the expense reduction process in preparation for my eventual
At work, my planned giving officer recently decided to retire, which totally surprised me. My foundation grant writer also decided to retire several months ago and now works for a variety of charities as a project-by-project grant writer. I just returned to Indianapolis, Ind., from a meeting in Chicago where I attended a retirement dinner for a senior nonprofit executive who is retiring in April. At a certain career point, a great deal of movement and decisions are made important regarding retirement decisions.
When thinking about the next job after retirement, The Fiscal Times noted the following jobs are attractive for older Americans: tax preparer project-based consultant, casino worker, market and survey researcher, travel nurse, retirement coach, Santa Claus, mediator, dietician/nutritionist and nonprofit fundraiser.
The New York Times article showed a variety of examples where individuals created new career transitions into the nonprofit arena. The author indicated that Baby Boomers often seek purpose and a paycheck in a second career, and nonprofit work has an allure for many post retirees.
The article, “Is a Nonprofit Job Right for You?” said “when it comes to job fields that value 50-plus workers, the nonprofit arena is a bright light. The ability to hit the ground running is your calling card. Not having to shell out time and money for training is a real selling point for a nonprofit with pressing needs, tight deadlines and perhaps a small budget.” The core requirement for employees is a genuine passion for the nonprofit’s mission.
According to the article, five jobs where nonprofits expect an increase in hiring are fundraiser in a variety of fundraising applications; program manager, with a variety of tasks from running day-to-day operations to managing single programs; marketing, communications and public relations manager, where you will be in charge of shaping the face of the nonprofit to various; education and community outreach, delivering educational programming and workshops to the public and overseeing volunteer teams; and finance administration/operations, where someone with a nose for numbers for payroll, operations and investments can make a big organizational difference.
The article titled, “Retirees, Join a Nonprofit as an Encore Career,” notes the fact that many Baby Boomers with long careers in the business world are now eyeing work in the nonprofit sector. The author stated that second-act, social-impact jobs are known as encore careers. Many want to make the post-retirement years meaningful, useful and productive and feel nonprofit work is their answer.
She also encourages individuals thinking about nonprofit work to expand your network of contacts and burnish your credentials, as well as discussing the possible next career with a life coach for advice and counsel. The nonprofit arena is not for everybody. Attend public events conducted by nonprofits in fields that interest you. Target your LinkedIn network for possible contacts and invite friends in the nonprofit sector to meet for coffee to learn about possibilities. Think about your skills that could be valuable to a nonprofit and update your resume accordingly.
One piece of good news for Baby Boomers seeking jobs in the nonprofit arena, especially in fundraising, is a fact from a Masterworks April 2017 blog: Boomers control 80 percent of all financial wealth in the U.S., have $46 trillion, spend 78 percent of all dollars spent online and nearly half of all philanthropic giving comes from this group.
For many older individuals looking ahead to their post-retirement plans, is a nonprofit career in your future? It is never too early to study trends and possibilities. For some, it will be as easy as leaving volunteer boards where they have had a passion for many years and moving into the organization’s staff role. Smart nonprofits should seek diversity on their staff, whether these positions or full or part time by hiring older employees. Look closely as your donor base and target your staff portfolios accordingly.
There are plenty of opportunities for older Americans to move into nonprofit careers. Do your homework and talk to many in the field. If you covet relationships, care for others, are mission-oriented and can close gifts, you will thrive in the nonprofit world. Get ready for your encore career adventure.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, educator and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 10 years and has had the CFRE designation for the last 26 years. He has also been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for over 35 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division plus Adjunct Professor for Olivet Nazarene University. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.