Volunteer-Type Careers… That Pay!

Robyn Tellefsen | December 5, 2012

volunteering careers nonprofit jobs‘Tis the season for giving back, but for many, giving back is a 9 to 5 endeavor! If you’ve discovered that you’re inspired and invigorated by volunteer opportunities, consider one of these humanitarian careers… that pay!

Volunteer Management
What better fit for serial volunteers than a career in managing volunteers? You can use your knowledge of volunteerism and your people skills to perform community outreach to find volunteers and match them to organizational needs. Volunteer managers are also responsible for developing position descriptions, creating program materials, conducting training sessions, and more. Volunteer management positions are especially common in social services and health organizations. Many positions require experience as well as an undergraduate or graduate degree in volunteer administration or a related field. Volunteer managers may even pursue the Certified in Volunteer Administration credential offered by the Virginia-based Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. In 2005, The NonProfit Times reported that directors of volunteers earned an overall average salary of $38,428, with a range of $28,800 to $85,000 depending on location and organizational budget.

Humanitarian Aid and Relief
Those who work in humanitarian aid and relief respond to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes as well as complex emergencies such as war and other violent conflicts, bringing life-saving skills and technologies to re-establish basic services such as water and sanitation, set up schools, and provide food and medical supplies. A master’s degree in public administration or economic and political development is a typical prerequisite to secure a paid position in humanitarian aid and relief. An expertise in a key technical area such as food security, public health, nutrition, logistics, or conflict resolution is also recommended. Salaries, which vary based on position, size and focus of the organization, and location, can range from $25,000 to more than $100,000 a year for a senior-level position.

For those of us who couldn’t even handle selling Girl Scout cookies, fundraising might sound like a painful career. But others have a real knack for it – especially if they’re raising money for a cause they believe in. Fundraising managers (also called directors of development) are responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating activities to solicit and maintain funds for special projects or nonprofit organizations. A bachelor’s degree in marketing, public relations, or a related discipline is required for entry to the field. Fundraisers may also pursue the Certified Fund Raising Executive credential, which is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, fundraising managers earned an average annual salary of $93,310. The top-paying states for this position are Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and New Jersey.

Community Organizing
Made popular by the world’s most famous community organizer, President Barack Obama, this advocacy occupation involves recruiting members of a community to work together for a cause. Community organizers publicize and lead community gatherings and discussions and meet with government agencies and the leaders of other nonprofits to help improve the social conditions of a community, bring people into the political process, and enhance quality of life. Most organizations seek community organizers who have an undergraduate or graduate degree in social sciences or human services (i.e., social work; public health; urban planning) and who have had field work or internship experience. Not surprisingly, grassroots organizers and even leaders of advocacy and policy organizations are paid relatively low wages – according to Salary.com, the national average salary for community organizers is $32,158.

If you have a desire to serve others and a dedication to making the world a better place, consider a volunteer-type career. It may not pay as well as Wall Street, but you just might find it more rewarding.


2 responses to “Volunteer-Type Careers… That Pay!”

  1. Sani says:

    Robyn, you’ve done it again! There are so many people who just aren’t fulfilled with a typical 9-5 that doesn’t make them feel like they’ve given back to society in some way. Thanks for putting these ideas together…I’m sure you’ve made a lot of college students VERY happy!

  2. Thanks, Sani! I appreciate the feedback.

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