Today everyone is familiar with the concept of crowdfunding. Lots of companies and startups seek funds in order to produce and market their products or services, then sell them for-profits, and pay back the funders ( or “backers” as most popular crowdfunding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo call them) with either their money, shares, or special conditions for the products/services themselves.
However, fundraising can be also used for social initiatives or ideas promotion, not for profit margins. Moreso, sometimes, the fundraising for some specific need or project is the actual end goal of the whole operation, not the source, so the collected money is not expected to be ever paid back.
Those types of operations are called Nonprofit or Non-governmental organizations. Although they pursue “greater missions” than just making money for their creators and by their nature are closer to charity and donations, they are still mostly built and operate as business entities.
And there are three main reasons for it:
1. Although nonprofits are not driven by generating profit per se, they must bring in enough money to pursue their social goals and realize their missions, so they are still actively hunting for income streams, basically doing sales work.
2. In order to do so and succeed, they need to have an effective and capable operation, which means the ability to hire and train people, manage workflows, run the accounting, payroll, legal support, purchase and maintain equipment, and so on.
3. And finally, while doing all that, those who run nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations need to constantly keep abreast in order to stay frugal or even reduce the operational costs, otherwise, the funds will be burnt through before getting to the final destination.
So, although such organizations may not be pursuing commercial market interests as a whole, for people seeking careers in nonprofit organizations — it is nothing else, but work, regardless if it’s paid or done on a voluntary basis. It is also true for managers of such organizations, responsible for hiring and engaging their employees or volunteers.
Nonprofit (NPO’s) and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) are getting more and more popular these days and they might look like anything from a small, two, or three-person operation to a big and complex multinational institution running projects around the globe. So naturally, the variety of roles and nonprofit job titles is very broad.
If you’re already working in, or managing an NPO or NGO, you may proceed straight to our dedicated article about 15 top nonprofit apps you should be using in 2021 or learn how St. John’s, one of the oldest nonprofit organizations in the world operating in 40 countries worldwide, improved their daily operations & streamlined communication in our case study.
For others, who are just interested in nonprofit careers, it is very important to clearly understand what are the possible options and applications for your skills, what are the most popular nonprofit job titles and how you should go about building a career in nonprofit organizations.
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What is A Nonprofit/NGO?
Nonprofit organizations (NPOs), also known as non-business entities, not-for-profit organizations, or nonprofit institutions, are organizations traditionally dedicated to promoting or developing some social cause or advocating for a shared point of view.
Just like regular for-profit businesses, NPOs and NGOs are trying as hard as they can to bring in as much revenue as they can, but instead of selling products or services they mostly do that by seeking funding and/ or donations. When the financial goals are met, instead of distributing the income to the organization’s shareholders, leaders, or members, the capital is used for the ultimate objective of the organization, may it be a social initiative, religious, scientific, research, or educational setting. It typically serves the general public through its mission, which might be working to improve education, promote women’s rights or the arts, or provide specialized healthcare.
Nonprofit organizations depend on external donations and investments, so they operate publicly and are accountable to the donors, funders, volunteers, program recipients, and the public community.
Goodwill, trustworthiness, and stellar reputation are the key factors in the amount of money that a nonprofit organization is capable of raising, so the more nonprofits focus on their mission, the more public confidence they will have, and as a result, more capital they will be able to attract.
Nonprofit Typical Roles And Why This Is Important
As we’ve already mentioned before, most nonprofit enterprises are structured and built like any other business. They will also typically have management positions like executive directors, as well as jobs in accounting/bookkeeping, human resources, and media/technology, or even IT.
However, there are also unique nonprofit positions, but which can generally be categorized into the existing typical corporate divisions.
For example, the outreach coordinator in a nonprofit is responsible for driving the whole idea and the core mission of the project and communicating it to the local community. Event planning and management, volunteer recruitment process, and other community relations activities are parts of their job responsibilities.
Nonprofit job titles around the development are usually meant to be dealing with fundraising planning, securing financial support, creating special events for donors, and running other projects to ensure the organization meets its annual goals.
NPO’s Development directors usually work closely together with grant writers, who’s main job is to complete funding applications and claims for donations, in order to secure the needed capital for the annual financial goals. In a standard corporate job chart, all these positions would normally fall under the marketing/public relations category.
Being familiar with job titles is important both during a job search and while building careers in the nonprofit sector. Skills and experience gained in the commercial sector can make your transition to the nonprofit sector much easier if you know how to adapt yourself and find a nonprofit role fitting you.
If you’re looking to start a career in a nonprofit or start your own, you need to know what are the most popular job titles in this sector and how you can possibly fit there. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of most common nonprofit roles and responsibilities the majority of not-for-profit organizations are likely to have.
This list will help you decide what type of role your not-for-profit needs, what the role’s responsibilities are, and how you should adapt your CV to start a career at a nonprofit organization.
Most Common Nonprofit Job Titles
Since nonprofit projects exist in multiple different forms, fields, and industries, nonprofit job titles are plentiful. There are options for people from all levels of experience and backgrounds, interested in building a career in nonprofit, from entry-level, through management jobs, all the way up to the executive positions, so some people can start and successfully spend their entire career working only for nonprofit organizations.
This is a list of the most common roles found at nonprofits. We’ll break down some of these in more detail below.
Executive positions/Top management
Management in the nonprofit sector may vary, from supervising the entire national or local operation to guiding the specific direction of the organization’s roadmap. The most senior executive positions in nonprofits usually have experience in similar commercial positions and are draughting from the corporate world.
Most popular nonprofit executive & top management job titles:
- Board Member
Board members are responsible for overseeing the governance, strategy, and relations with sponsors of your non-profit, and deal with financial decisions. Having competent board members can dramatically boost the chances of a nonprofit to succeed.
- Nonprofit Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Just like in regular for-profit companies, the CEO of a nonprofit organization is involved with multiple facets of the organization, including daily operations management, senior administrative staff supervision, public relations, and even fundraising. The CEO oversees and manages organization programs and projects. She is also in charge of recommending a budget to the board annually and ensuring the staff adheres to the approved budget. The CEO typically also manages human resources. The CEO of a nonprofit organization reports to the board of directors and serves to support and conduct administration for the board.
- Nonprofit Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Nonprofit Chief financial officer (CFO) functions may vary a lot across different organizations and depend heavily on the organization’s size of a budget and the difficulty of its programs and income sources, but overall they combine both the nonprofit-special needs and the classic CFO responsibilities.
- Nonprofit Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Nonprofit Chief Operating Officer (COO) functions are extremely wide-ranging across organizations. The nonprofit COO job description involves all aspects of organization management. This person works closely with the Nonprofit Director and Nonprofit Executive Director and reports to the nonprofit board members.
- Nonprofit Director/Executive Director
Similar to a Chief Executive Officer in the private business sector, a Nonprofit Executive Director is someone who oversees the work done by all of the departments within the nonprofit. Topping the nonprofit hierarchy chart, this role requires working closely with the board, and the departmental heads to make sure the whole operation is running smoothly and effectively.
- Advocacy Director
As the role’s title suggests, the nonprofit advocacy director’s responsibilities involve advocating for the interests of your organization to lobby and convince organizations or governmental bodies to implement things that will help achieve your nonprofit’s mission.
- Director of Philanthropy
The nonprofit director of philanthropy manages all of the organization’s charitable giving. This role helps execute the mission statement and guides the nonprofit to achieve its charitable goals.
The nonprofit director of philanthropy is responsible for budgeting, cultivating donors, developing outreach strategies, and other fundraising activities.
- Development Director
A director of development’s daily responsibility includes developing fundraising plans, securing financial support, running special events for donors, and running other projects with the purpose of helping the organization reach its annual goals. This particular position is similar to that of a fundraising manager.
Other examples of popular nonprofit executive job titles:
- Major Gift Director
- Planned Gift Director
- Planned Giving Director
- Member Services Director
- Program Director
- Program Officer for Foundation
- Recreational Therapy Director
- Social Services Director
- Social Work Manager
- Special Events Director
- Support Services Director
- Teen Center Director
- Volunteer Director
- Volunteer Services Director
Nonprofit Administrative/Accounting roles
In any organization, there have to be people who are experts at organizing and executing office duties, interacting with clients, and attending to the everyday smooth operation of the enterprise. At times those people are acting behind the scenes, but their work is critical and allows the whole entity to keep functioning.
Most popular nonprofit administrative/accounting job titles:
- Community Service/Nonprofit Project Coordinator
A nonprofit project coordinator is involved in managing and overseeing multiple projects inside the nonprofit, implementing budgets, and making sure the team sticks to them, as well as taking part in community outreach.
- Nonprofit administrator
The nonprofit administrator job usually means working back to back with the nonprofit board members to keep them up-to-date with the latest developments, participating in the marketing and PR efforts. This role might also require assistance to the Director of Philanthropy with fundraising.
- Nonprofit Aides Supervisor
Aides Supervisor for nonprofit usually reports directly to Assistant Director and/or Program Director, and the essential duties of this role include overseeing operations of the facility, supervising and training the Residential Aides staff members, facilitating team meetings, and serving as a liaison between all departments.
Other examples of popular nonprofit administrative job titles:
- Compliance Coordinator
- Financial Aid Representative
- Member Records Administrator
- Member Services Representative
- Member Certification Manager
- Membership Assistant
- Program Manager
- Project Manager
- Public Relations Manager
- Volunteer Manager
- Planning Manager
Nonprofit Marketing/Communications Roles
Just like in regular for-profit companies, marketing and communication roles for nonprofit organizations are responsible for external outreach, promotion, lead generation, and building awareness among the target audiences, being it donors, associations, investors, or volunteers.
Most popular nonprofit marketing/communications job titles:
- Nonprofit Director/Vice President of Communications
For the Director of Communications, the emphasis of the role is on putting together and applying a communications strategy that consists of online activities and that establishment’s yearly conference. For a Vice President of Communications, he or she will focus on public relations and branding.
- Community Outreach Coordinator
Even though community outreach roles exist at for-profit companies as well, community outreach coordinators are especially significant when it comes to nonprofits. A community outreach coordinator’s job is to basically connect his organization to the outer world and the public.
A community outreach coordinators organize events, recruit volunteers, and overall try to get the community enthusiastic and “bought-in” to the project. This role is responsible for promoting the mission and purpose of the nonprofit among the local community.
- Nonprofit Communications manager
This role is pretty close to the Internal communications manager position, getting more and more popular, but while internal communication manager is working closely with the teams inside of the organization, outreach communications manager is trying to get people and institutions from outside to get involved and engaged with the nonprofit initiatives.
- Grant Proposal Manager/Grant Writer
The grant writers for nonprofits have a very special job: they are responsible for creating applications for funding. This would include the usual applications to foundations, trusts, or governments. Although the main skills required for this kind of position revolves around copywriting, this is actually a crucial position for many not-for-profit entities, since the performance of a grant writer may be directly influential for the amount of money collected. The grant writer often works alongside the development director. They both ensure the nonprofit meets its yearly financial goals.
Other examples of popular nonprofit marketing/communication job titles:
- Administrator for Nonprofit Organizations
- Advocacy Director
- Business Office Supervisor
- Campaign Manager
- Chemical Dependency Director
- Chief Association Executive
- Community Health Director
- Community Relations Director
- Fundraising Coordinator
- Grant Administrator
- Grant/Contracts Specialist
- Grant Coordinator
- Grassroots Organizer
- Marketing Associate
- Nonprofit Fundraiser
- Online Activist
- Program Assistant
- Program Associate
- Program Coordinator
- Social Media Coordinator
- Special Events Coordinator
- Community Organizer
- Community Outreach Advocate
- Community Outreach Coordinator
- Community Outreach Specialist
- Coordinator of Planned Giving
- Compliance Director
- Corporate Giving Director
- Corporate Giving Manager
- Critical Care Director
- Development Director
- Development Manager
- Development Assistant
- Development Associate
- Development Coordinator
- Development Officer
- Director of Family Shelter
- Director of Major Gifts
- Director of Special Initiatives
- Donor Relations Manager
- Executive Director of Nonprofit
- Financial Aid Director
- Foundation Director
- Fundraising Manager
Nonprofit Health/Human Services Roles
Many nonprofits have to take care of their clients’ physical and mental health, morale and wellbeing, so the employees for such operations need to have a variety of skills in specialized areas like abuse, addiction, and life counseling for adults and youth.
People with human resources skills can use their experience for being the point person on building skilled teams, recruiting and organizing volunteers, and making sure they’re taken care of and have everything they need in order to perform their daily duties.
Most popular nonprofit health/ human resources job titles:
- Volunteer Coordinator
A volunteer coordinator manages the moving pieces of a volunteer force. The duty of a volunteer coordinator is, naturally, hiring, recruiting, and placing volunteers, in addition to managing and training them.
- Nonprofit Social Worker
Social workers for nonprofits usually serve as community builders or community organizers. They may work directly with individuals, conducting needs assessments, or assess needs on a larger scale. They may also be responsible for planning and administering programs.
- Human Resources Officer
Human resources officers for nonprofits are very similar to those in regular companies and are responsible for hiring, developing, and looking after volunteers, employees, and other team members. This involves functions such as hiring, training, and monitoring performance.
The main difference in measuring that though is whereas the human resource manager for most for-profit companies needs to keep an eye on the company’s profits, HR in nonprofits must be mission-driven.
“An effective non-profit HR manager must try to get more out of the people he or she has,” wrote Peter F. Drucker in Managing the Non-Profit Organization.
Another difference is the way to motivate the staff: many people work in nonprofit organizations as volunteers, meaning they are not getting paid, so nonprofit HRs should think of other incentives to cheer the team up.
Other examples of popular nonprofit human resources job titles:
- Child Care Worker
- Child Life Specialist
- Child Support Case Officer
- Childbirth Educator
- Hospice Supervisor
- Housing Coordinator
- Housing Counselor
- Human Services Worker
- Juvenile Counselor
- Living Skills Advisor
- Managed Care Coordinator
- Medical Social Worker
- Policy Analyst
- Residential Living Assistant
- Social Worker
- Event Team Recruiter
- Job Developer
- Labor Union Organizer
- Team Leader
Common Goals And Challenges
So, as you see there are lots and lots of different roles and responsibilities for different nonprofit positions.
What’s important to understand though, is although the job titles and descriptions differ, there is a big part of the same goals you are going to achieve, and a very similar skillset needed to succeed in most of them. The same goes for the main difficulties and daily challenges that you may face when building a career in a nonprofit organization, regardless of the specific position. Let us break down those common goals and challenges.
Goals and challenges for internal communication and management roles:
- Hire the best people you can, no matter if you are going to pay them monetarily or motivate them otherwise. Volunteers and staff members are the life-blood of countless nonprofit organizations, for they attend to the basic tasks that need performing, from paperwork to transportation of goods and/or services to maintenance, so you want to make sure you have high standards for screening and interviewing them
- Make sure they get all the needed training in order to perform well because reports show that employees who don’t get the needed training feel lost and are at a very high risk of leaving within one year
- Engage your people and boost morale in order to increase productivity and help them perform at the best level
- Have a solid employee retention strategy in place, because when good employees leave, it costs your organization a lot of money and time
- Empower employees and volunteers to reach and exceed the goals by creating an irresistible employee experience. Happy employees are the best performers!
- Encourage teamwork and collaboration by asking for feedback and conducting surveys
- Stay on top of tasks and find a flexible and agile way to communicate with your teams and donors, send them immediate updates and always know people receive your message fully and in time
- Save time and money on the operational side by optimizing and automating the daily routine and recurring tasks
Luckily, there are smart modern solutions designed and built specifically for managing diverse distributed teams and communicating with team members and allies, from the comfort of a tidy mobile app that is capable of helping you achieve all those goals.
Connecteam is a great example of such a solution that has a complete package to easily manage your employees and volunteers from one place. Let us break it down for you.
How You Can Succeed With Connecteam’s Employee App
All of Connecteam’s features are designed to boost productivity, keep everyone in the loop, and provide maximum visibility on what’s going on in your day-to-day operation.
Operational features include employee time clock to track work hours, employee scheduling and checklists to keep workflows digital, so volunteers can fill in whatever is needed straight from the field. Safety reports, sick forms, job reports, equipment checkouts, travel expenses, reimbursement requests, field reports, and more – as a manager, you will remain up to date with all that, available to you at any given moment.
Communication and engagement features make it easy to keep everyone aligned thanks to a group chat, private chat, in-app directory to contact your team members and work contacts easily, feedback surveys, a suggestion box, and more. This level of communication helps volunteers feel connected to the organization and its cause, stay aligned with the mission and driven.
Training features can help you reduce the turnover rate of volunteers, create training programs, checklists, knowledgebase, in order to help your people build up and develop their professional and interpersonal skills, and automate onboarding and training activities.
Streamline daily operations
Connecteam’s all-in-one app allows nonprofits to understand how many hours employees and volunteers are working, manage forms, reports, and checklists filled out by volunteers, streamline communication, enhance onboarding and training processes, and more.Start for free
Reinvent communication and engagement in your organization with Connecteam’s complete set of communication tools
- Send updates to all your employees in seconds – create groups per location, department, project, or anything else relevant to your business. It can be an important announcement, a weekly goal update, a quick message, birthday wishes, a company anniversary, or acknowledge an individual employee’s success. Encourage and engage your employees and volunteers with public recognition that all their co-workers will see, this helps to motivate your employees as they’re placed in the spotlight
- Stay in the know and help your team be heard and engaged with employee surveys, live polls, suggestion boxes
- Benefit from a work dedicated chat with files, GIFs, image sharing, audio notes, and more. Easily create team chats per location, project, department, or just start a private conversation. Utilize advanced management tools built especially for in-organizational use
- Utilize employee directory to have a simple to use and fully searchable work directory for your team and outside work-related contacts, in order to make phone calls, send emails, or start private chat conversations, without the need to save contacts on the personal mobile device
Time & Payroll Management
Easily track and manage work hours on jobs and projects, improve your payroll process and the way you manage timesheets, and collaborate with your employees and volunteers like never before.
- Easily track and manage employees and volunteers work hours with the time-tracking app with simple mobile punch-in and punch-out. Include GPS geo-location, job, project, customer classifications, and more
- Ensure employees are where they should be with geo-fencing and the option to clock-in only in designated locations to ensure more accurate time tracking
- Save time and effort on planning and dispatching shift schedules one by one or in bulk. Get the full picture in one place: your planning table shows when employees or volunteers are unavailable or let them claim the shifts they want
- Utilize timesheets and payroll features to expedite timesheet review and approval process and export it for a simplified payroll calculation with auto-calculated breaks, overtime, double-time, daily limit, auto clock-out, and bulk shifts
Get things done with an employee task app. Forget about chasing your team and the back and forth hustle. With Connecteam, allocating tasks to your deskless workforce is quick and easy, even on-the-go.
- Create and assign tasks in the blink of an eye, add shift tasks and get notified upon completion to track your team’s performance
- Navigate and organize tasks with tags and advanced filtering capabilities, view tasks by completion status, due dates, team members, and more
- Customize forms and checklists and create templates for repeating and structured tasks, checklists and more
Onboard new employees and volunteers, take them through training programs, create regulatory courses, or simply provide professional knowledge in a simple and friendly mobile format.
- Create flexible and customizable courses and training materials from scratch or use your existing documents, PDF files, media of any kind and even web-services like YouTube, Dropbox, Google Drive or your company website
- Use adaptable libraries to create a hub of knowledge for your deskless team, which can be accessed at any time and allows easy search capabilities
- Divide training into sections or chapters, course completion is always visual so employees can track their training progress
- Monitor app activity and training progress with a powerful admin dashboard
- Create surveys that evaluate training needs, success, and overall employee sentiment, or use your Suggestion Box to receive feedback on a routine basis
The nonprofit organizations are the world of its own, with a lot of specific rules and exclusive for them job titles, but the main skills and traits in order to build a successful career in this field are pretty similar to any other work environment:
- The ability to communicate with other people clearly and effectively
- The ability to manage your time efficiently and keep up with the schedule
- The ability to manage other people or be a good team player
- Strong motivation and willingness to learn and progress
All-in-one employee mobile communication apps like Connecteam have a lot of dedicated features that can be really beneficial in achieving all those goals and can become a great way for a successful career in nonprofit.
Connecteam's all-in-one app is built for nonprofits
Connecteam offers the all-in-one solution for nonprofit organizations. From scheduling paid staff to volunteers to smart time clock tracking with geofence and even streamlining communication. Start for free today!Start for Free