Questions to Consider When Switching Sectors

1 min

Summary

You have already decided that you would like to find a career in the nonprofit sector, but how do you know what opportunity is right for you? How do you ensure that you find a place where you can have meaningful impact and use your skills effectively?

You have already decided that you would like to find a career in the nonprofit sector, but how do you know what opportunity is right for you? How do you ensure that you find a place where you can have meaningful impact and use your skills effectively? Through Bridgespan’s work with senior leaders who have transitioned into the nonprofit sector, we have begun to synthesize a series of critical questions for individuals making the decision to join a nonprofit.

The decision to change careers is highly personal and unique. These questions are only a starting point for you in contemplating a transition into the nonprofit sector. By considering these questions you will better understand the organizations and positions in which you can have your greatest personal impact.

  • How entrepreneurial is this organization? How entrepreneurial can I be in this particular management role?
  • Does this organization seem open to the application of business discipline to its operations? Which organizational systems and/or procedures resemble my for-profit environment?
  • Is there a business practice embedded in the organization—e.g., venture capital or entrepreneurship? Will my for-profit experience support this organization’s efforts to apply business practices to their social change mission?
  • What are the specific job requirements for the position? How will my for-profit skill sets enable me to perform my job responsibilities?
  • How comfortable do I feel managing individuals who have diverse professional backgrounds or leading a staff that may be staffed in different geographic locations?
  • How do I influence people? Would I feel comfortable managing volunteers and board members over whom I do not have direct supervisory authority? How would I motivate them to help me implement the mission of this organization?
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available in our Terms and Conditions.

More Articles To Read

Pay What It Takes 

Pay What It Takes 

Leadership Development 

Libbie Landles-Cobb, Kirk Kramer, Katie Smith Milway 10/22/2015
We work to build a better world by strengthening the ability of mission-driven organizations and philanthropists to achieve breakthrough results in addressing society’s most important challenges and opportunities.

Bridgespan® and Leading for Impact® are registered trademarks of The Bridgespan Group
The Bridgespan Group is a 501(c)(3) organization.