If you are passionate about a cause and looking for a paying job, volunteer work may be the way to go. The nonprofit sector has an organization for just about any cause imaginable and the one that gets your heart pumping and your mind racing will bring out the best in you. Volunteer work can help you learn new skills, make new personal connections and give you a new level of personal satisfaction.
If you are in a position that allows you to volunteer for a while and you can survive without the additional income, there are ways to turn the meaningful work into a thriving career. Knowing that your work positively impacts a cause that is important to you will lead to level of satisfaction that you have not previously known. The key is to make yourself indispensable at the organization. There are a few important things to remember in order to turn that volunteer spot into a paying job. Take your time to observe the organization. See how things are done. Listen for key concepts and ideas. Learn as much as possible about the organization and the cause it addresses. Then make yourself indispensable to both. Volunteer to assist people who have the skills you want to learn and who do the types of work you want to do. Listen to those people’s needs. Try to anticipate what they will need and fulfill them before they even ask for your help. Keep a positive attitude and your work will be noticed.
Along with a positive attitude, be sure to maintain the same level of professionalism that you would if this was a paid position. Be reliable, courteous, and dependable. Dress in a manner that is appropriate to the position. Observe the full-time employees and emulate their behavior. Be sure to leave your ego at home. Believe that no job is beneath you and that you don’t know everything there is to know. A willing spirit is often more desirable than an advanced degree in the non-profit sector. Let them know that you really want a paid position at the organization. Make your passion for the cause clear and your willingness to work for what you want known. You may have to work at paid position while volunteering as time allows. Just be honest with everyone. Your need for a paid position will be understood. Your dedication and perseverance will be recognized when an opening arises.