Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Nonprofit Work: Pros and Cons of Working at a Small Organization

This is part of a series on what to expect working at a nonprofit. Stay tuned for more tips on how to land and keep a nonprofit job!

While there are several large nonprofits like the Salvation Army, the American Cancer Society, and United Way, the majority of nonprofits are small. Working for a small team can be rewarding, but it can also be challenging. Here’s what you should consider before joining a small nonprofit:

Pro: Accessibility.

Working for a team of 10 means everyone talks to everyone. If you have a concern, you don’t have to jump through hoops to talk to a boss. Reaching your CEO could be as easy as walking across the hall to her office.

Con: Staffing.

When staffs are small, an absence hits the team hard. In some nonprofits, a department is just one person. Think about the time you currently take off from your job. Could you take fewer days off if necessary?

Pro: Passionate Staff.

They may be a tiny bunch, but your nonprofit coworkers care deeply about their cause. With passion comes motivation and morale boosting. And when your entire staff believes in a cause, everyone is a little happier.

Con: Funding.

Many nonprofit positions are paid through grants. But if the grant goes away, so do does the job. Make sure you ask questions about how your particular position will be funded.

Pro: More Opportunities.

Often at a nonprofit job, you’ll get to be involved in a project from start to finish. Compared to larger companies, where it might take you years to see the impact of your work, working at a small nonprofit allows you to see results sooner.

Con: Less Resources.

Working at a small nonprofit will not be the most glamorous work environment. Since their budget is dependent on funding, most nonprofits need to be very conservative with their money. You may be working out of a donated space furnished with second-hand furniture.

Have you ever worked at small nonprofit? What did you and didn’t you like about the job? Let us know below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Black Rock Solar

Ali Kelley

Ali is a freelance writer who blogs about nonprofits, tech and social media for Chicago startups, Zealous Good, Dabble, and Eventbrite. Since graduating college in 2009, she has learned a ton about job searching in a recession, and is excited to share her experiences. In addition to writing, Ali enjoys the finer things in life like pajamas that double as jeans.