What Business Leaders Should Know About Transitioning to the Nonprofit Sector

You’ve worked hard to move ahead in your career, but you still may be feeling that something is missing. This is a common experience among people in various industries. While your job may be personally challenging and fulfilling, you may wish to make more of a difference in the lives of others with your work. One way to consider doing just that is to utilize your business acumen in the nonprofit sector. Transitioning from a for-profit corporation to a foundation or philanthropic organization can allow you to earn a living while working for the betterment of a cause that resonates with you. However, there are some things that business leaders should know about transitioning to the nonprofit sector before making the big leap.

Relationships Matter

Working with people and building relationships isn’t a new concept for you. You’re probably an expert networker. That’s a fantastic advantage to have when it comes to fundraising for a nonprofit organization. However, it’s imperative to understand that you must go beyond interacting with others socially and on a business level. In the nonprofit world, you will be required to build relationships on a more personal level. This is particularly true if your new job involves working directly with the population your nonprofit serves. The ability to listen and empathize cannot be over-stressed.

There’s a Trade-Off

While this isn’t always the case, it is likely that you will make less money in a nonprofit position than you did in the corporate world. Sometimes executives making the switch underestimate the effect such a pay cut can have on their lifestyle. Take time to examine the kinds of sacrifices a smaller paycheck will require for you and your family. After some introspection, you may realize that there are some simple changes you can make in order to accommodate your decrease in earnings.

It’s Worth It

Though you may earn less money, you’ll more than likely gain career and life satisfaction. The rewards that come from knowing that you are helping people in the community and making a difference are so much more than money can buy. If you truly are facing an existential crisis regarding your contribution to the world, know that contributing your skills to a nonprofit organization whose mission you believe in can fill the void you’re experiencing. Building congruence between your passion and your career can lead to a balance that carries over into every aspect of your life.

Take some time to research your options. Look to other business leaders for inspiration, like Ehsanollah Bayat, an Afghan who used his American education to build businesses and philanthropic endeavors that contribute a great deal to his country. Trust your heart and your conscience to lead you to a career you love.