Is Working For A Non-Profit Different To A Standard Business?

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September 17, 2018

The non-profit sector is one of the largest in the world, and one that many people have considered entering as they seek to further their careers. However, the sector is often confusing, with the term “non-profit” creating a strange impression, and potentially even making potential candidates shy away from considering this path for their careers. In an effort to provide clarity to the situation, below, we’ve answered three of the main queries people have about non-profit careers.

What does “non-profit” actually mean?

The standard business model is for-profit, which means that the company seeks to create profits that are then kept by the owner or shareholders. A non-profit also aims to make a profit, but these profits are not provided to the owner or shareholder: instead, they are diverted back into the business and its charitable works.

Is non-profit work well-paid?

It very much depends on the organisation, but on the whole, yes: non-profit roles are usually remunerated in line with the salary the same role would be worth in a for-profit business. The difference is found only in what the company does with its profits; individuals working within the business are still paid for their time.

Is non-profit work all that different to for-profit work?

The main difference is the type of work; non-profits tend to be charitable, or at least serve the public good. However, the working environment is almost identical to for-profit businesses.

If you are tempted to focus your career aspirations in the non-profit sector, you will find that the development your core skills and your leadership strategy undergo can be hugely beneficial. Below, we’ve provided an infographic into the keys to leadership success in the non-profit sector, to give you a head start if you choose to focus your career in this direction.

Infographic Design By
University of Southern California