The Non-Profit Panel

Jennifer Donohue

Have you ever thought about working for a non-profit? The definition of a non-profit is an organization whose purpose is more important than making a profit. On February 3rd, 2016, STAC’s Career Development Office held a Non-Profit Panel in the library. The room was filled with mostly Communications and English majors, but all majors were welcome to attend. There were four speakers from Rockland County, who attended the event and talked about the non-profits they work for. One of the speakers was from United Hospice of Rockland, an organization that enables patients who are in advanced stages of an illness to remain in a familiar and supportive environment while receiving relief from pain and other symptoms. The second speaker was from Keep Rockland Beautiful, an organization that cleans, protects and beautifies Rockland’s environment by educating and empowering people to care about their community. The third speaker was a recent alumnus of STAC that works for the Center for Safety and Change, an organization that serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes in Rockland County. The fourth speaker was from Jawonio, an organization that helps to advance the independence, well-being and equality for individuals with disabilities or special needs.

I came to the event with no prior knowledge of non-profit organizations and left feeling like I learned a lot in only an hour and a half! A few of the speakers had marketing degrees and were previously working with for-profit companies. They realized the work and family life balance was a struggle for them, so they switched to non-profit companies, where the hours are more flexible. The skills that non-profits look for are your writing skills, the ability to pitch a story and then tell it. Social media knowledge is essential in this tech-savvy world, you will need to know how to blog and tweet to help get the message out. In order to show interest in a non-profit, it helps to volunteer or have an internship there. They talked about how you should look at your work like a mission instead of a job. Nobody in non-profits goes into it for the money; you need to have the passion and interest in order to enjoy it. Finally, I learned that whatever you major in while you’re at college, it should always be decided on instincts rather than the opinions of others. The job you have long after graduation can be completely different from your major, but the skills can carry over into a different career.

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