If you’re highly motivated to help others through your work, you’ll be glad to know that philanthropic careers can be found in a variety of fields depending on your interests and goals. There are many career paths you can follow if you want to work in a foundation or non-profit organization in the philanthropic sector.
In this guide, we will introduce you to the most common careers you can pursue in these types of organizations, whether you are looking for a job in which you need a degree or one for which you do not need a degree.
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What Makes a Career Philanthropic?
What makes a career philanthropic is the focus on contributing to the public good through your talents and hard work. A philanthropic career is one where you can act on your deep desire to contribute to making a significant change in the world.
A career in philanthropy can lead you to work with non-governmental organizations, known as NGOs, or other forms of charitable organization or private foundation that seeks to actively improve the quality of life of vulnerable sectors of the population. This can look like anything from volunteering, to helping with communications, to working in non-profit management.
Top 10 Philanthropic Careers You Should Consider in 2023
If you want to know a little more about the philanthropic careers you can pursue in 2023, then check out the following ten jobs to consider. Some of the degrees you can pursue in order to land these roles include international relations, political sciences, sociology, or psychology.
A marketing manager is in charge of carrying out the promotional campaigns of an organization. These professionals make a budget for each project and evaluate the best strategies that can be carried out to achieve the desired results. To become a marketing manager, you must have a degree in business marketing or a related field.
A marketing manager in a non-profit organization is in charge of a very important part of the organization, which is making its results and achievements known to the whole world. They are responsible for promoting the organization they work for through campaigns that seek to invite people to contribute to its work.
Human Resources Manager
Human resources managers are the professionals in charge of an organization’s human resources staff. They ensure that all procedures concerning this area are carried out effectively and connect management with employees to communicate strategic plans.
Human resource managers in a philanthropic organization must plan and structure the work of the area to help the organization grow. They are responsible for overseeing the hiring and selection procedures for new employees who can contribute to its operations.
Director of Communications
A communications director is in charge of positioning the organization in the media, so they must create strategies and manage the material that appears in a variety of media. They must also maintain close relationships with the media and evaluate the results of their strategy.
This work is especially important because it plays a key role in attracting potential donors to the organization, as well as ensuring the organization participates in events relative to their charitable work.
An accountant of a philanthropic organization works on the financial side of the organization. They perform financial reporting, annual audits, and reconciliation of bank and credit accounts, to ensure compliance with federal regulations. They may also help with grants management. This role requires you to hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.
This work is related to the financial well-being of a foundation, allowing it to maintain its non-profit activities and ensuring the continuity of fundraising operations and associated activities. These workers are sometimes required to work overtime to fulfill all of their duties as needed.
A philanthropy manager is responsible for coordinating and overseeing all processes within non-profit organizations, including financial processes and donor communications. These professionals develop plans to raise funds for the organization.
Philanthropy managers must make their supporters aware of the impact of their philanthropic work. They do this by organizing campaigns and events and promoting recognition for the organization and its employees. This is usually a full-time job.
A program officer supervises and oversees the execution of all campaigns planned to raise funds for a foundation’s philanthropic work. They are also responsible for planning the strategies and documentation necessary to carry them out.
These professionals are in charge of ensuring that all the plans of an organization are carried out, from planning, distribution of tasks, and fundraising to the implementation of communications campaigns, so they usually work full time and often overtime. They also make sure that the staff is doing its job effectively.
Human Resources Specialist
The human resources specialist in philanthropy is responsible for the recruitment and hiring process of candidates when there are job openings for philanthropic organizations. They conduct interviews and handle the paperwork for new hires or employee leaves.
A human resources specialist is in charge of finding the ideal employees that align with the values and principles of a philanthropic organization. These professionals usually work regular office hours.
Librarians working for a non-profit organization are responsible for researching, classifying, and cataloging all information handled by the organization. They are also in charge of keeping the reference service up to date with books, periodicals, audio, and video. In order to become a librarian, a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree are required.
A librarian is a professional who can work in many different areas, so in the field of philanthropy, they can be very useful since their contributions will help to facilitate research in a quick and prompt manner. Bibliographic material is of great importance, and the librarian is in charge of classifying all this information to keep it accessible and available throughout time.
Non-profit organizations need a program director responsible for coordinating programs, budgeting, reporting on projects, and supervising employees. They are also in charge of studying the pertinent legal frameworks to ensure their programs are compliant with current laws.
Among the most important tasks that the program director must perform in a non-profit organization is the search for donations to ensure the necessary income for potential programs and to cover administrative expenses and expenses incurred through the organization’s programs.
An office manager of a philanthropic organization is responsible for supervising the organization’s administrative staff in their accounting and budget management duties. They are responsible for paperwork, meeting planning, and payroll.
These professionals within a foundation or philanthropic organization ensure that all administrative functions are fulfilled so that the organization can maintain and carry out all its activities and goals.
10 Philanthropic Careers That Don’t Require a Degree
You should know that many philanthropic careers are open to you regardless of whether you have a degree or not. Some of these offer a great opportunity to go into the social services field. Below you will find 10 careers of this type, as well as details about their main duties, average salary, and current job growth.
A non-profit organization program assistant contributes to the execution of events, performing tasks such as documenting, scheduling activities, keeping track of the calendar of activities, and scheduling meetings so that everything is accomplished efficiently.
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Program assistants are responsible for assisting the program director. They must understand all the procedures that are carried out in each of the programs to help in the development of the same. They also communicate with external entities when necessary.
Information Technology Specialist
An information technology specialist must be in charge of both hardware and software solutions for the philanthropic organizations they work for. Among their tasks are maintaining the security of the information handled by the organization and the installation and use of computer and security programs that support the data and facilitate the tasks of the workers.
The information technology specialists of a philanthropic organization must propose technological solutions to meet the foundation’s needs in this area and thus ensure the proper functioning of its technology services. These professionals can work remotely and in the office and typically work varied schedules.
Executive assistants are in charge of performing clerical work for an executive of their organization. They usually also supervise and train staff in their duties for the area they work in.
An executive assistant within a non-profit organization may perform tasks such as sending memos, reviewing documents, maintaining the organization’s files and important documents, receiving emails, and preparing statistical reports, among other tasks.
- Salary: $40,990
- Job growth: -7%**
An administrative assistant handles various tasks within an organization, including organizing files, planning travel and business meetings, answering phone calls, and handling emails and correspondence. They must also transcribe reports and other documents.
They are dedicated to the daily operations of the philanthropic organization and may be responsible for liaising between the general public and the organization, transmitting information, receiving donations, answering questions, and completing other various tasks that help the organization run efficiently.
Accounting clerks are responsible for some accounting tasks within an organization, such as making and sending invoices, purchasing orders, communicating with customers and suppliers, accepting payments, calculating expenses, and handling bank reconciliations.
An accounting clerk working in a foundation or non-profit organization must do the bookkeeping between customers or suppliers and the organization, and keep a record of all these transactions to ensure the organization is accountable for the funds it manages.
Social Media Manager
- Salary: $52,744
- Job growth: 10%*
Social media managers are in charge of keeping all the social networks of an organization updated with important information about its activities and events, and spreading its objectives and achievements through different platforms.
A social media manager of nonprofit organizations is in charge of transmitting where the organization is located and all the information relevant to it through all of its social networks. They are responsible for promoting marketing campaigns and announcements and creating valuable content.
Communications associates liaise between organizations and the media or the general public. They are in charge of all types of communications to the media and organizing the necessary material for meetings and presentations.
A communications associate of a philanthropic organization develops communication strategies and campaigns carried out through social networks to publicize the organization and its philanthropic work to expand its relationships and achieve greater benefits.
- Salary: $54,717
- Job growth: NA
A research associate is a person within an organization who is in charge of gathering all the necessary information and data on a specific topic to get new ideas for materials for reports, presentations, and articles.
Research associates in a philanthropic organization are responsible for keeping up to date with all the information pertinent to the organization’s work, updating the website, and sourcing new material for presentations and other purposes.
General Office Clerk
A general office clerk is responsible for various administrative tasks such as making, receiving, and transferring telephone calls, receiving messages and correspondence, sending emails, confirming appointments to meetings with the general staff.
In a philanthropic organization, general clerks are also responsible for processing invoices, among other documents, and entering data for recording and compiling any information requested.
Receptionists are responsible for a variety of tasks within an organization, such as greeting clients or visitors, answering phone calls, providing appropriate information to those who request it, and confirming attendance at meetings or events.
A receptionist in a philanthropic organization helps provide information about the organization when interested donors visit or call.
*The statistic is grouped under Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
**The statistic is grouped under Secretaries and Administrative Assistants on BLS
How to Find Philanthropic Careers
Job openings in philanthropic careers can be found but not as easily, as it is a small field that may not require as large a staff as larger companies do. Here are some tips that can be very useful to find the job of your dreams.
To climb the career ladder in philanthropy, you must make yourself known. Try to attend special events where professionals and talented people working in this area are and show them your interest. You can also search for them on social media and get into professional conversations about your area. Build strong relationships with others in your field through networking events.
A great way to start a career in philanthropy is by becoming a volunteer for an organization that supports a cause that you find worthy. This will help you gain a wealth of experience, become familiar with the way the organization operates, and allow you to connect with other volunteers and members of the organization, which can then lead to work opportunities.
Find a Mentor
Find a mentor, or two, who is a philanthropy professional working in your field. They can be your guide and help you turn your motivations into action to help you with your professional growth.
Develop Relevant Skills
Acquire skills that will help you perform in the field of philanthropy. As in any other job, in order to work in a philanthropic organization, you will need a broad range of technical and soft skills to carry out your work efficiently.
Focus your studies on the area you would most like to work in a foundation. Aim for a bachelor’s degree, and you will be well prepared for a job in philanthropy. In addition, you can take courses to stay on top of what’s new in your field and acquire knowledge that will enhance your resume.
Why Finding a Philanthropic Career Is Important
Careers in philanthropy allow you to put your knowledge and skills to the service of others. They are not necessarily the most rewarding careers in terms of money, but you will get compensated in many other ways, including the knowledge that you are actively contributing to improving the lives of others through your work.
Philanthropic Careers FAQ
People looking to start a career in philanthropy should choose an area in which they can specialize first and then look for the job they want in a foundation or philanthropic organization. To find a job, you can follow some of the tips we presented above, such as networking, volunteering, and finding mentors, among others to develop your professional background.
Yes, you can! Start by studying in a field that most appeals to you and then look for a career in philanthropy based on this experience and skillset. Many foundations need a wide variety of professionals.
Philanthropy is not a profession. It is the love for humanity, for helping others through charitable acts. However, there is a wide range of professions that can be focused on the field of philanthropy, such as the ones mentioned in this article.
People who practice philanthropy through acts such as donations or selfless work to help others do not earn money, or at least that is not their main motivation. However, by focusing your professional career in the field of philanthropy, such as working for a non-profit organization, you will receive the salary you deserve for your work just like in any other company.
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