Those who run nonprofit organizations figure out very quickly that their particular field is often different from how it is perceived. Running a nonprofit can be challenging, engaging and full of excitement. It can involve big decisions over lots of money. Just because a person is running a nonprofit does not mean they’re trading down to a less strategic position. In fact, some of the elements of running a nonprofit are so distinct that it takes a creative, strategic mind to keep the organization on the right track. Here are five common misconceptions about running a nonprofit.
The job lacks excitement
Some might think that only the people running Fortune 500 companies have big, exciting decisions to make. This just is not true. In reality, running a nonprofit can present plenty of opportunities for excitement. Closing a deal on a major grant from a huge foundation can be just as exciting as closing a corporate merger, for instance.
The employees are sub-standard
There is a misconception surrounding the kind of people that you will manage when you run a nonprofit. Namely, some perceive nonprofit employees as being people who are less motivated and competitive. In truth, some of the most motivated employees land in the nonprofit sector. They are often people who are very passionate about the nonprofit’s cause, and they’ve chosen to make some sacrifices in order to further that cause.
Executives must be paid very little
Some in the nonprofit world have been fighting the perception that working in nonprofit necessarily means that a person will earn very little. Nonprofits are trying to compete with other companies out there for talent. They need to bring in the best people so those people can make the organization more efficient. Likewise, the best executives are able to create compelling messages that will encourage donors to spend their money on a charity venture than on any number of other potential purchases. In order to attract the best talent, many nonprofits pay their executives very well. They know it brings back a strong return at the end of the day.
It’s all fun and games
Nonprofit CEOs and executive directors are often involved in the fun of serving the community, but they also have to get down to the difficult business of running an organization. Many leaders shy away from nonprofit work because they feel like they’ll be well-compensated volunteers. In truth, nonprofit leaders are doing much the same work as corporate titans.
It’s dead-end work
In today’s world, as companies become more socially conscious, having nonprofit experience is an asset. Some may perceive running a nonprofit as a dead-end in an otherwise solid career. This is a misconception, though. Running a nonprofit can be a great way to jump into future work in the for-profit sector.