Working for a Nonprofit: What You Need to Know & Why You Should Do It

Nicolas Cesare  | 

When most people think of their ideal job, it’s something in the private sector.  Good jobs come with good pay, which can lead to a better credit score. They come with great benefits and provide a stepping stone towards paying off student loans. Whether it’s as a web developer for a prestigious software company, a high powered lawyer at a famous firm, or just an accountant who gets the job done and brings home a good salary, people tend to discount the nonprofit sector a little too soon.

The fact of the matter is, working for a nonprofit can be just as rewarding as working for a for-profit company. In some ways, you might even like working for a nonprofit more than you would a conventional job. Let’s take a look at what it’s like when you work for a nonprofit.

Why Work for a Nonprofit

At the end of the day, a stable income is necessary for most people to maintain their quality of life, and a good job is the most straightforward path to getting that income. However, among nonprofit workers there’s a much different story. Instead of working just for the paycheck, working for a nonprofit often gives you a chance to do work that you’re truly passionate about.

You see, in order to start a nonprofit, a business must adopt a charitable mission. The IRS will only grant 501(c)(3) status to organizations that provides approved charitable services. This means that working at a nonprofit always means serving others in meaningful ways.

One of the best reasons to work for a nonprofit is to scratch that altruistic itch while pulling in a paycheck. If you’re tired of working in a corporate cycle that just feeds back into itself, working for a nonprofit might be exactly what you need.

In addition to the sense of purpose that working for a nonprofit can give you, nonprofits are sometimes eligible for unique benefits. Because of the good that nonprofits do, they are sometimes able to partner with other local businesses or benefits providers such as insurance companies to get discounts on benefits for their employees.

Student Loan Forgiveness for Working for a Nonprofit

One of the most amazing benefits available when you work for a nonprofit is student loan forgiveness. By working at a nonprofit organization that has qualified for 501(c)(3) status, you can be eligible to have your student loan debt forgiven in its entirety. All you have to do is make 120 payments under any income-driven repayment plan while employed full-time at your nonprofit. That’s 10 years if you make your payments nonstop, and an income-driven repayment plan will factor your lower salary from working at a nonprofit into your minimum payment amount.

If you work for a nonprofit and you’re interested in getting your student loans forgiven, make sure that you complete your application now for the benefits that you deserve.

When You Work at a Nonprofit

When you work at a nonprofit you can expect that everything you do will have some tangible impact on your community. Empathy and organization are helpful skills to have because you will often be working with groups that have a strong need for the kind of aid your business offers.

When you work for a nonprofit, you may also find that decisions made by the organization are motivated by what would best serve the organization itself and the at-risk population that it helps, rather than what would create the greatest profit for the shareholders. This is because nonprofits are forbidden from distributing income beyond their operating costs (or their profit) to shareholders or executives. Instead, nonprofits are run by a board of directors which is made up entirely of volunteers. These volunteers will make decisions based on the best interests of the nonprofit, rather than their own bottom line.

Ultimately, working at a nonprofit can be a rewarding experience that will allow you to feel like you’re really making a difference in the world while you do your job. In addition, nonprofits can also provide unique benefits to their employees, such as the possibility of student loan forgiveness.

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Nick Cesare is a writer from Boise, ID. In his free time he enjoys rock climbing and making avocado toast.

This post was updated March 8, 2018. It was originally published March 11, 2018.