Circles of Change:Conversations with Dr. Zara Larsen on Change Leadership and Career Fulfillment
June 15, 2008 “Transitioning to the Nonprofit Sector: I Want MORE” Guest:Laura Gassner Otting
Transitioning into the nonprofit sector today is tied to opportunity, matching supply and demand.The market is wide open and growing.
·Many baby boomers want to “do more” – quality, high impact roles to compliment a new lifestyle for the next chapters of their lives.Giving back. Many intend to continue to work in some fashion – financially need to, plus emotionally want to to stay active.
·Young professionals and generalists looking to expand responsibilities rapidly are crossing over/back to accelerate career progress.
·There is a growing deficit of leadership numbers and emerging recognition of needing more contemporary skills in the nonprofit sector.
But, “it’s no longer your grandpa’s nonprofit sector” from earlier days of organizations, norms and rules, roles, and volunteer experiences.The sector has a plethora of categories, diverse missions, and innovative opportunities (1.9 million IRS registrations, $621 billion industry, 6% of US economy; 12 million employees, 9% US workforce); but, is thus ripe for misunderstanding and potential career mismatch.
You must first do “Homework on YOU” to anchor a successful approach:
·What is your driving social concern? ·What focused approach do you want to take to address this concern? ·Which of your skills (from your 9 to 5, and 5 to 9 “jobs”) are likely to transfer?What are you missing? ·What is the best environment for you? (Founder run, grass roots, structured and staffed closer to a for-profit, etc.)
Being an “outsider” volunteer and an “insider” employee can be two different things.Be careful to differentiate attributes and competencies, and do not fall prey to myths and stereotypes.
Investments in anticipation of implementing a career transition strategy:
·Volunteering to “test drive” your match(s) to mission ·Board of Directors or Trustee appointments; special committees ·Continuing adult education, masters programs, specific skills training ·Expanding your network to leverage others’ perspectives and ideas
Additional Thoughts from Dr. Zara Larsen:
Like moving from one industry to another, there is a unique culture, vocabulary, and set of “industry trends and drivers” for each non-profit sector and the organizations within.Does your value proposition match?
Consider joining a for-profit organization that partners with or supplies into the non-profit world to get another perspective.
3. Do not fall prey to the “tyranny of the OR”; think about AND.Join your company’s community service and projects to see both worlds.Make known your interest to represent your firm.
Copyright The Larsen Group: Architects of Change 2008