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The Nonprofit Job Search

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Nonprofit organizations hire on a need basis, typically posting full-time positions one to two months prior to hiring in the spring. Gaining related experience to your career field of interest, including volunteer work during college and post-graduation year-of-service positions, will make candidates more marketable to nonprofit agencies. Only a small portion of nonprofit positions are posted to the public; many organizations inform the public through word-of-mouth and prefer to hire interns and volunteers, who already possess the skills and knowledge to do the work.

Students should begin to establish a professional network by actively participating in community events, volunteering, and conducting informational interviews with professionals. Nonprofit internships are typically unpaid. However, Yale has several internship programs that offer paid nonprofit internships, including the Yale Alumni Community Service Fellowships Program, the Yawkey Community Service Fellowship and the President's Public Service Fellowship.


Tip: Nonprofit Search Engines

Many sites offer free e-newsletters, email updates and the opportunity to connect through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to be alerted about new opportunities.

For a more extensive list, visit the Online Career Resource Links

Positions with Nonprofits

The job function at a nonprofit organization varies depending on the organization’s mission, its size, and the specific skill sets that they need. Titles can range from program coordinator, grantwriter, fundraiser, volunteer manager, intake counselor, membership coordinator, performance evaluator, advocate, community organizer, service coordinator and research assistant. Recent graduates should also consider a fellowship position with a nonprofit (see Post-Graduate Fellowships). To help students get a sense of where some of their predecessors have entered the nonprofit sector, you can view the post-graduation nonprofit employment for recent Yale Classes in Yale Career Link's Document Library under Resources.

Get Involved

There are many benefits of getting involved with student organizations at Yale. Allow yourself to reflect on what areas you are passionate about and then volunteer time with a student organization whose mission aligns with your values. Gain a better sense of community service. Help distinguish your resume for the nonprofit job search. Make connections with professionals in the industry which is a key component of the nonprofit job search. See the Resources at Yale University section below for ideas on how to get involved.

There are a number of ways to get involved with community service at Yale. Students can view all Registered Yale student organizations under the category Service/Outreach for ideas. Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance (YANA) aims to facilitate collaboration and expand opportunities for those in the Yale nonprofit community—including students, alumni, faculty and administration. Yale Alumni Narratives in the Nonprofit Sector - Alumni leaders in the nonprofit sector describe their professional journeys in this series of nonprofit narratives compiled by the Office of Career Strategy in cooperation with YANA. Dwight Hall features over 85 student-run member groups that engage 3,500 students, or 2/3 of Yale’s undergraduates, each year in service and social justice activities. Sign up for a Dwight Hall newsletter to find out about opportunities.

Types of Nonprofits

Below are a few examples of nonprofit categories. For a comprehensive list of categories within the nonprofit sector along with examples of organizations, see Guidestar, the most complete source of U.S. nonprofit organizations, including a database of over 1.8 million 501(C)3 organizations.