Many of the top level executives I talk with are considering a career shift to non-profits, where their deep business expertise will not only provide income, but do some good.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, From a Corporate Job to a Nonprofit, Toddi Gutner offers the following challenges and cautions if considering the move to non-profit management:
Expect a pay cut.
Although at executive and management levels, salaries are often closer to those in the for-profit world, additional benefits like restricted stock, options and lofty bonuses will be a thing of the past.
With often considerable financial constraints at non-profits that aren’t as prevalent in corporate America, go into the new job realistic about what you can and cannot achieve. Nonprofits need the business skills – like managing profit and losses – that corporate executives bring to the table. But these organizations rely on often-erratic revenue streams from donations, foundations and grants to fund budgets.
Do a SWOT Analysis — Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Assess and build on the strengths of the organization without breaking what isn’t broken.
Build your team.
Contrary to the corporate practice of new leaders quickly reducing headcount, non-profit managers need to take a more-measured approach with the team they inherit, because nonprofit employees are typically bound together by a common commitment to a cause. And, there may be an unspoken understanding that job security is part of the employment package.
Prepare to fund raise.
Job one for almost every nonprofit manager is to raise money and spread the word about the organization. As a fundraiser, you’ll need to attend board committee meetings and cultivate and attend fundraising events. Finding ways to diversify and attract new funding sources is key.