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10 Great Nonprofit Jobs

Rachel Zupek, Writer

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Do you think your contributions in the workplace are overlooked? Are you consistently swamped with work at the office, but still feel empty when the week ends? At the end of the day, are you ashamed of what you've accomplished and how you reached the result?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, it might be time to reassess your career and find something a bit more fulfilling. A career in nonprofits might be your answer.

Advocacy, grant-making and civic organizations – also known as nonprofits – are groups that exist not to make money, but to serve and promote the common good to better their communities. Nonprofits run the gamut from soup kitchens and homeless centers to hospitals and charitable associations. Many such organizations depend on small staffs of paid employees and volunteers.

Nonprofit organizations employed 1.2 million workers in 2006 and rank in the top 20 fastest-growing fields, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 837,027 charitable nonprofits in the U.S. in 2003; a 68 percent increase since 1993, according to the most recent information from the National Council of Nonprofit Associations.

If you're looking for a human-oriented career, here are the 10 best-paying and fastest growing jobs in advocacy, grant-making and civic organizations, according to "40 Best Fields for Your Career," by Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D.

1. General and operations managers run the day-to-day functions of their organizations and are responsible for the success or failure of the venture.
Median earnings: $76,783
Percent growth: 17.6 percent

2. Public relations specialists handle all of the media and campaigns surrounding the organization, community and consumer and governmental relations.
Median earnings: $44,080
Percent growth: 22 percent

3. Executive secretaries and administrative assistants perform general office functions to keep the higher-ups of the group organized.
Median earnings: $35,085
Percent growth: 10.2 percent

4. Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks handle the financial affairs of an association, like donations, costs of new fundraising programs and grant proposals.
Median earnings: $28,796
Percent growth: 4.9 percent

5. Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors organize and direct leisure and athletic activities, such as aerobics, arts and crafts, the performing arts, camping and sports.
Median earnings: $21,411
Percent growth: 13.2 percent

6. General office clerks keep the group offices organized, clean and stocked with  supplies.
Median earnings: $21,405
Percent growth: 5.6 percent

7. Receptionists and information clerks answer telephones, direct calls and give out information regarding the organization for which they work.
Median earnings: $20,116
Percent growth: 13.7 percent

8. Janitors and cleaners (except maids and housekeeping cleaners) perform a range of duties from cleaning floors to taking out the garbage to painting and carpentry. Cleaners usually work for organizations that specialize in one type of cleaning activity, such as washing windows.
Median earnings: $17,965
Percent growth: 18 percent

9. Recreation workers work at playgrounds and recreation areas, community centers, health clubs and fitness centers run by nonprofit organizations.
Median earnings: $17,404
Percent growth: 13.5 percent

10. Childcare workers look after kids in religious institutions, YMCAs and other social and recreation centers, schools and social service agencies. Within the nonprofit sector, there has been strong growth in providing disadvantaged children with social, educational and health services.
Median earnings: $15,988
Percent growth: 12.4 percent

*Job descriptions, earnings and job growth are based within the advocacy, grant-making and civic organizations field.

Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Last Updated: 09/04/2008 - 11:10 AM

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