Work From Home in the Nonprofit Sector: Nonprofit Remote Jobs
Work From Home in the Nonprofit Sector: Nonprofit Remote Jobs
In the past few years, the world of employment has gone through some major changes due to circumstances such as new tech, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a shift in attitude to work. A combination of these factors has led to a rise in prominence of remote work. Dedicated to making positive environmental, societal, and communal change, the nonprofit sector has embraced this flexible work program, adopting a remote approach to business operations wherever possible. Whilst remote work can have great benefits for a nonprofit organization, it can also bring some challenges to the table.
The Rise of Remote Jobs in Nonprofits
Although the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift toward remote positions and work from home (WFH) culture, remote work was already on the rise in the nonprofit sector. According to a 2023 study, the National Council of Nonprofits found that 57% of nonprofit jobs are remote to some degree. This means that the position is either full time WFH or the employee is operating on a hybrid schedule. The same study also discovered that remote jobs in the nonprofit sector received nine times more applications. Since 2019, there has been a greater emphasis on filtering nonprofit jobs by working location and 88% of people seeking this kind of employment are looking for flexible remote positions.
As mentioned above, COVID-19 had a huge impact on the shift to remote work. Due to the restrictions placed on nonprofit organizations, they had to pivot quickly to a remote program. Employees were forced to spend more time at home and less time in the office. This increased the reliance of a nonprofit on technology and meant that every manager had to organize a way for their team to connect virtually. This shift to remote work has now become a long-term feature of a lot of organizations in the nonprofit sector.
Types of Remote Positions in the Nonprofit Sector
There are many roles in the nonprofit sector that can be satisfied remotely. Here are some examples of remote positions and the responsibilities of those who hold them:
Job: Program Manager
- Overseeing the program and managing initiatives from a remote location.
- Collaborating with team members to establish program objectives.
- Ensuring that the activities of the program align with the mission of the nonprofit.
Job: Marketing and Communications Coordinator
- Promoting the mission of the nonprofit by creating and distributing related content.
- Managing the online presence of the nonprofit and its social media profiles.
- Executing remote marketing campaigns.
Job: Human Resources Specialist
- Handling remote recruitment and the induction of new employees.
- Supporting the relations and engagement of employees.
- Managing remote administrative operations, such as benefits enrollment.
Job: IT and Technology Support
- Handling remote technical support queries.
- Maintaining the integrity of the IT infrastructure of the nonprofit.
- Establishing and overseeing technical security measures.
Job: Research and Policy Analyst
- Carrying out remote research on issues relevant to the nonprofit.
- Informing the advocacy efforts of the nonprofit through the analysis of data and trends.
- Supporting informed decision making via the provision of reports and briefs.
Benefits of Remote Employment in the Nonprofit Sector
Jobs that are remote in the nonprofit sector provide benefits to both the employee and the employer. For the employee, a remote role helps them to improve their work-life balance. A remote job can be performed from home and this eliminates the time that an employee would spend commuting to an office. Not only does the employee save time, they will also avoid the stress associated with their commute as well as the cost of it. Flexible working arrangements in a remote role allow the employee to schedule their work time during peak performance hours. This helps to boost productivity, guarantee that the employee is meeting output demands, and ensure that the organization is hitting fundraising goals.
One of the major benefits of remote work to the employer is the access they have to a wider pool of talent. Remote roles allow individuals to apply from all over the world with various sets of skills. By eliminating the geographic constraints of a job, the employer can heighten their chances of finding a highly-skilled employee. A manager may need access to specialized skills that aren't available in the local area. Shifting a position to a remote arrangement means that the manager can search further afield for the ideal candidate for the job.
Challenges of Remote Work for Nonprofits
Despite the many benefits of remote work, it also breeds new challenges for a nonprofit organization. Remote work diminishes in-person interaction, which has the potential to hinder personal relationships between employees and spontaneous collaboration. Remote employees often operate in varying time zones and this can bring forth more challenges in the realm of cooperation. Time zone differences in a team can make it difficult for the manager to coordinate meetings and guarantee real-time communication. This may lead to slower progress on certain projects and can be amplified when remote employees do not have a strong familiarity with technology.
Remote work has the potential to make it more difficult for a manager to maintain the organizational culture of their team. When employees are working in a remote setting, it can become easier for them to disassociate from the mission and values of the nonprofit. The job of the manager becomes a lot more difficult when they are unable to bring the team together in a unified location that will provide a strong sense of connection to the organization. There are also challenges associated with team cohesion, when the team is made up of remote employees, and it can be especially difficult to integrate a remote employee when they are new to the job. These issues boil down to a lack of in-person interaction between remote employees and their manager, and illustrates the importance of effective communication.
Finding a Remote Job in the Nonprofit Sector
Remote jobs are very in-demand and can be extremely competitive to apply for. The following is a list of job boards and resources that can assist with finding a remote position in the nonprofit industry:
- Idealist: An online job board dedicated to connecting individuals with nonprofit organizations. It lists plenty of remote opportunities in the nonprofit sector.
- DevNetJobs: Specializes in development jobs across the world, including remote positions within nonprofit organizations.
- NonprofitJobs: A platform designed specifically for individuals that are seeking jobs in the nonprofit sector. It features remote positions across various regions.
- Remote OK: A general board for remote jobs that includes some opportunities in the nonprofit sector.
Aside from boards dedicated to listing jobs, individuals can find remote employment success through the use of networking and LinkedIn strategies. Those who spend time networking in relevant spaces often find remote job opportunities through word of mouth. Not all remote jobs will be listed online and some opportunities can only arise through conversations with those who have a level of power in the nonprofit sector, such as a manager. Networking doesn't have to solely exist as an in-person activity, LinkedIn strategies can be implemented to network in the online space. Individuals seeking remote nonprofit employment should establish a LinkedIn profile, follow appropriate nonprofit organizations, and engage in associated groups to maximize their success.
Application Tips for Nonprofit Remote Jobs
As previously stated, remote jobs in the nonprofit sector aren't always easy to get. Below are some tips for maximizing success rates when applying for remote nonprofit jobs:
Tip #1: Tailored Resume
- A resume should be tailored to the remote role that it is being used to apply for. There is a greater chance of success when a resume appeals to the specific requirements of a job.
Tip #2: Compelling Cover Letter
- Take the time to craft a compelling cover letter to accompany a resume. An individual should use a cover letter as an opportunity to explain why they are the perfect fit for the remote position and to demonstrate why they desire the specific role.
Tip #3: Organization Familiarity
- In order to prepare for a successful interview, individuals should familiarize themselves with the nonprofit that they are applying to. It is best to research the organization thoroughly to understand its mission, important stakeholders, and recent programs. This information will help the interviewee to tailor their responses to interview questions and showcases an individual's interest in the remote position.
Tip #4: Talk About Time Management Plan
- Time management is a key skill for remote employees. It can be beneficial for an individual to discuss with the interviewer how they plan to effectively manage their time in an unsupervised environment. This demonstrates that the candidate can be trusted in a remote position and will be able to meet deadlines.
Success Stories: Transitioning to Remote Work in Nonprofits
In 2022, members of the Forbes Nonprofit Council came together to discuss some success stories associated with the accelerated transition to remote work following the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the key takeaways from their discussion:
Virtual Meetings - Magdalena Nowicka Mook, ICF (International Coach Federation): Magdalena stated that 30% of her nonprofit's workforce was remote even before COVID-19. The biggest lesson she learned was that it is important to ensure that all stakeholders are treated equally. To achieve this, she and her organization made zoom a mandatory tool for meetings so that there was no disparity between in-person attendees and virtual attendees.
Hybrid Workplaces - Bev Wenzel, The ROCK Center for Youth Development: Bev was surprised to learn of some hidden benefits of a remote work environment. She noticed that hybrid employees, that were spending some of their time out of the office, were more productive and had a higher level of happiness. She claims that this is helping to improve the efficiency of her organization and is strengthening her team for "exciting new growth".
Expanded Hiring - Desmond Blackburn, New Teacher Center: Desmond is pleased that remote employment opportunities are expanding his candidate pool across the continental United States. He indicates that net savings can be made due to the varying competitive salary ranges across the country. Desmond also highlights the importance of frequent "connecting" time with remote employees as compensation for smaller day-to-day interactions such as water cooler chats.
Q: Can I work remotely for a nonprofit?
A: Remote jobs are available in many industries. There are plenty of remote opportunities available in the nonprofit sector for full or part time work. A lot of remote administrative jobs are located in the nonprofit sector and these are accessible roles for unskilled workers.
Q: What are the disadvantages of a remote job in the nonprofit sector?
A: The disadvantages of remote work apply to any sector. Remote jobs can challenge the employee with time management issues due to the unsupervised nature of the work. Sticking to a program can be difficult when the employee is separated from their team and manager. A lot of remote workers struggle to define boundaries between their work life and home life due to their home becoming their office. It is important for remote workers to communicate with their team and manager as effectively as possible, and ensure that they are balancing their personal time with their work time.
Q: How do I get started in a remote role for a nonprofit organization?
A: Individuals seeking remote employment in the nonprofit sector should spend some time reviewing the job boards and networking strategies covered earlier. Remote roles are competitive because the hiring manager will have access to a wide range of candidates from around the globe. Individuals should remain consistent with their applications and use the tips above to improve their success rate. Remote positions will always be available but may take some time to land.
The landscape of employment opportunity in the nonprofit sector continues to evolve and embrace a remote working environment. Driven by technological advancements, cost-saving measures, and the ability to tap into a wider pool of talent, remote work is on the rise across all industries. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn't uncommon for nonprofit organizations to offer remote work to some degree. The pandemic has acted as a catalyst, propelling the availability of remote work in the nonprofit sector to new heights.
As technology continues to improve and attitudes toward office culture continue to change, remote work will become more prevalent. It would not be outlandish to believe that the world of employment is heading in the direction of a completely remote future. Flexibility of an individual's work-life balance is becoming a greater value and the continuous adaptation of working environments will lead to some interesting remote work opportunities.
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