Passion for a Cause
So you're interested in a career in development, marketing or public relations for a nonprofit? I wish I could tell you how many people contact me seeking advice on how to move into or advance through this sector. They know I want to help people.
Instead of a career in development, I should have worked for a search firm. I have helped place a number of people into jobs in my career. When I sit down and talk to these nonprofit job seekers, many miss the first step in working for a nonprofit — determining their personal passion for a cause.
For example, one of my personal passions is public safety. Last week, a police officer was killed in Indianapolis. I'm very sad about that because I love and admire anyone who works for public safety. These heroes go about their business on a daily basis, risking their lives without fanfare. In fact, many of them receive negative feedback, and that should never be the case. The point is that I love public safety; it is a true passion of mine. I could easily end my career working for a public safety foundation, as I believe in the cause that deeply. Do you have a cause that stirs your soul?
I also have a deep interest in health care, education and social services. While I like the arts, I do not have the same interest in talking to prospects with passion for that cause. I strongly suggest if you ever consider moving into a nonprofit or seek advancement in a nonprofit, take a moment to create an inventory of the areas of interest for you.
After the interest area is established, think about where you would like to live geographically. From that process, determine employers in that area that catch your eye. See if you know staff or board members associated with those organizations. Talk to them to get a sense of a possible "fit," whether it is today or tomorrow. This process takes time and research.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many 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 completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at email@example.com or 317-224-1029.