Believe it or not, the quick answer is yes. There are money making opportunities in working with charities. If working in the not-for-profit space hasn’t been an option for you before now, because you thought there weren’t any options for you to earn a good salary, maybe it’s time to reconsider.
There are many jobs available in this sector. And that’s good news for every young graduate in South Africa who’s concerned about finding work after finishing their classes. The reality is that people who are educated, intelligent and talented should be working in charity. These are the people who can fix the problems of the world. It’s only reasonable that they should expect to earn a decent salary while doing this meaningful work.
Dan Pollotta, entrepreneur and activist, made an interesting point while speaking on the TED stage. He pointed out that the median compensation for a Stanford MBA graduate aged 38 was $400 000. Meanwhile, in the same year, someone with the same qualifications working at a medical charity could expect to earn $232 000 or $84 000 working at a hunger charity.
“Now, there's no way you're going to get a lot of people with $400,000 talent to make a $316,000 sacrifice every year to become the CEO of a hunger charity.
“Some people say, ‘Well, that's just because those MBA types are greedy.’ Not necessarily. They might be smart. It's cheaper for that person to donate 100,000 dollars every year to the hunger charity; save 50,000 dollars on their taxes — so still be roughly 270,000 dollars a year ahead of the game — now be called a philanthropist because they donated 100,000 dollars to charity; probably sit on the board of the hunger charity; indeed, probably supervise the poor SOB who decided to become the CEO of the hunger charity.”
Nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend rather than what they get done. He'd like to see charities being rewarded for having big goals and big accomplishment – even if those come with big expenses. Pollotta would like to see us all changing the way we think about changing the world.
Ok, so you’re probably not going to be able to make these changes right now. But maybe that’s a good reason to start working for a nonprofit now. You’ll have the opportunity to get in there and start making these changes which could potentially impact the industry.
Benefits of working for a charity
There are many hidden benefits of doing work for a charity. For instance, certain US citizens are able to apply for student loan forgiveness if they work with Doctors Without Borders. And that’s a massive bonus for any student who is graduating with many thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Here are some of the reasons you should consider working with a charity, no matter where you live.
It’ll look good on your CV. Let’s face it, when you’re a young graduate, you’re concerned about your CV. You’ll be applying for quite a few jobs in the next few years. And any future employers will admire you for having worked for a nonprofit.
You’ll meet some new people. There’s no such thing as a bad connection. You never know, you might be meeting a long-term business partner or life-long friend. Every person you meet could be influential in your chosen field.
You’ll gain experience. You’ll notice soon after graduating that every job requires applicants to have some experience. How are you supposed to get experience if no one will give a job to someone unless they have experience? This can be a massive problem for students. And that’s why working at a charity can be beneficial. You’ll be able to get real experience in your chosen field and see what it’s like to work in the industry.
You can help people. This is the most important opportunity. Whatever your personal reasons for working with a charity, the true advantage is that you’ll be helping the people who need it most. When it comes to helping people, no job is too big or too small. You’ll be able to see the difference you’re making in the lives of people. And that’s the main benefit of doing this type of work.
We’d all love to live in a world where we want to help others just for the sake of helping them. But we all have our own needs. But what if we could do both? We can. It’s just up to us to begin changing the industry. The first step you can take is showing up.

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