Give It the Old College Try
I’ve been a volunteer at a number of Rutgers University alumni events, and one of the fun parts of my involvement is getting to speak with students on campus and hearing about their post-college goals. It’s inspiring to hear about the students’ plans to go into careers like healthcare, engineering, business, information technology, marketing communications, and supply chain management. Unfortunately, with very rare exceptions, non-profits aren’t mentioned by students as a career path. I’ve wondered why and have some thoughts:
For-profits frequently reach out to the career services offices at universities to advertise their job openings and internship opportunities, where non-profits’ outreach to schools may be very limited at best.
Student awareness of non-profits may be limited to ones they’ve helped as part of their involvement with an on-campus organization, and not as part of a career plan.
Nonprofits typically overlook student bodies as a talent pool for volunteers and staff.
Students often don’t realize that jobs using their studies in healthcare, business, IT, marketing communications and other fields are available at nonprofits.
The colleges that offer non-profit minors or certificate programs don’t market them as a career field.
Some students see non-profits as a lower-paying and less glamorous entry point into the workforce vs. going into business or tech.
Non-profits may have students as event volunteers but don't often think of them when it's time to fill a job position.
Today's Rutgers students have a zeal for changing the world that I haven’t seen in years, and I’m sure the same is true at other schools. As non-profit staff who are involved with recruiting staff and volunteers, increasing our outreach to the college community seems like one pathway to grow and diversify our staff and volunteer pools.
How else can we get more college undergraduates to think about non-profit work as a career option?