The Top 5 Benefits of Interning for a Non-Profit

Tue, Sep 4, 2012

Internship Information

As you enter the second half of your college experience, chances are you’ve begun to think long and hard about your career after graduation. This is a tough time to be entering the job market. Hiring and wages are down, and there is tons of competition for every position out there. Highly qualified applicants find themselves competing with recent college grads for entry-level positions, and their superior resumes may leave you on the outside looking in. That makes completing an internship while at college more important than ever before. You’ll have the chance to add some real-world experience to your education, and make key contacts that will help you later down the line. And if you’d like to work at a company that makes a real difference in the world, this is a great time to explore the non-profit world. Non-profits in all industries regularly hire interns, and you’ll find it an incredibly useful and rewarding experience. Here are the top five benefits of interning for a non-profit.

The first and possibly most important benefit is availability. Non-profit companies are often forced to do more with fewer resources, and they can’t always afford to hire full-time employees, even if they have a clear need. That means many positions that would be salaried are filled by interns. You’ll work hard, which you would in almost any internship, but you’ll also find a wealth of open internships. In this case, the difficult economy is a major positive for you.

A related benefit is the quality of the experience you’ll receive while at the non-profit internship. The generally small staff handles a massive workload, so you can rest assured your time there will not be wasted. An internship at a non-profit will certainly not consist of making copies and picking up coffee. You’ll have tons of hands-on opportunities, learning the work, making a lasting difference, and gaining a huge amount of experience you can refer back to when looking for a job.

You’ll also come into contact with some phenomenal people, who will all be happy to assist you after the internship is complete. Most non-profit organizations are run by a board of trustees, and they’re usually highly involved in the day to day activities. You’ll have the chance to work with a high caliber of professionals, making a ton of connections. If you perform well during the internship, that can lead to letters of recommendation or even job offers at companies those board members run. Success in business is often about who you know, and you’ll have more opportunities to know more people interning at a non-profit than anywhere else.

If you are passionate about a certain issue or have an entrepreneurial mind, interning for a non-profit will also provide you with a first hand look at how a small business operates. Even national non-profits are fairly tiny enterprises, and you’ll be able to work with key members of the management staff. You’ll gain a huge amount of perspective in how to start and operate a non-profit, and what it takes to get a business off the ground and make it successful.

Finally, there are some real emotional rewards interning at a non-profit. Most people don’t have the experience of making a lasting difference in their work, which you’ll be doing on a daily basis. You’ll actively contribute to making the world a better place. Sure, you could have spent that time surfing around on TheCollegeCity.com, but interning at a non-profit will leave you with a lasting passion and excitement you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

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