When choosing a direction to go with public relations, it is important to consider both the benefits and disadvantages of each option. While nonprofit public relations may not be the “popular” choice, it is a career path that should be on everyone’s radar. Even if it is only for a short period of time, the experience and perspective gained from working for a nonprofit will be beneficial for years to come. Here, we have compiled a list to help gain a better understanding of how the nonprofit community works.
– Difficult to See Progress: It is often difficult to establish benchmarks of success in profits because there is always room for improvement. You may never get to see your direct impact because more often than not, it isn’t a cause in your direct vicinity.
– Constant focus on fundraising: Nonprofits will always be concerned with fundraising and getting donations, as that is what they rely on to keep their business going. This fundraising pressure will be an ongoing effort in nonprofit work regardless of your position in the organization.
– Difficulty Establishing Yourself as a New Nonprofit Organization: Like most new things, initially it is difficult to spread awareness of what exactly your product is. For nonprofits, there is more room for confusion amongst your audience regarding your cause or mission. It is essential for new nonprofits to quickly set the groundwork about who they are, what they represent, where they come from and why they do what they do, in order for its audience to fully understand. It can take time to establish yourself as a nonprofit, although over time your presence will become better known and appreciated.
– Worthwhile Work that Affects Change in the World: By working for a nonprofit, it is more than likely that you are working for a cause that has a direct impact on people’s lives, either globally or locally. Working for a nonprofit allows you to implement positive change, and the time and effort that you put in has a reward that is much larger than increasing sales revenue. These rewards could save a person’s life or simply enrich the environment.
– Socially Responsible: When working for a nonprofit, you don’t have to question if your company practices corporate social responsibility because odds are, it does! Nonprofits are generally concerned with the betterment of society in some way, as opposed to many for-profit corporations that may not be.
– More Entry-Level Positions Available: The number of active nonprofits is steadily increasing in both numbers and popularity. Nonprofits are typically looking for new, savvy, passionate people to help spread the awareness of their cause. Also, the likelihood of finding a job at a nonprofit that excites your interest is very high.
– Focus on a Cause Rather Than Money: One unique factor of nonprofits is that all work is focused on benefiting a certain cause, rather than making a profit. You will know that your work makes a difference in the lives of others and not just in your own life.
– Teamwork: When involved in a nonprofit organization, you will be working with people who are passionate and enthusiastic about a common cause. This can create a more team-orientated environment rather than the hierarchy of for-profit corporations.
While the decision is ultimately up to personal preference, we believe that the benefits of working in nonprofit public relations outweigh the disadvantages. Having a diverse resume when first starting in the public relations field will set you apart from other candidates who may not have the same experience. Even though there are some downfalls, working for a cause rather than a corporation is rewarding in more ways than one.
– Lindsay Pfeifer, Noelle Nercessian, and Kristina Pressentin work for the StoveTeam International team at Allen Hall Public Relations. All three women are studying public relations and minoring in spanish.