Ten things I’ve learned working for charities

  1. Free is never really free. A friend who helps you as a favour or a volunteer (great as they are) do not have the same accountability of paid professionals.
  2. You can get by with a lot less than you think you need to get by.
  3. People talk a lot about overpaid non-profit staff, but I rarely see anybody who works for a charity not put in way more hours, expertise, and energy than they are getting paid for.
  4. If you work for a charity, you should donate to that charity. Even just a little bit. Because ideally, it’s more than just a job. It matters.
  5. When you tell people you work for a charity (especially hunger relief or human services), they say “good for you” or “you are such a good person”. I love my work, and I believe it’s valuable, but ultimately if it didn’t make me happy personally, I would work in another sector.
  6. Optics are critical in the charitible sector. Hard to ask for money with top-of-the-line computers and expensive furniture in your office.
  7. The terms “charity” and “non-profit” make me think of a beggar, pulling their forelock…it certainly undersells the value and impact of this sector’s work.
  8. Working for a charity is often draining, as rewarding as it is. That may be why there is such a high turnover for fundraising professionals.
  9. Some people really know how to party!!
  10. There has to be a way to work in a field that makes a difference, and still get paid a respectable wage, right?


Filed under tenthingsivelearned, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Ten things I’ve learned working for charities

  1. Now if only the public servants could think in the same manner when it comes to spending our hard earned tax dollars we’d be all set. I’m not calling all of them irresponsible, but just having a perspective shift might help change the public perception.

    • All I know is, I like having paved roads, public transit, accessible health care, good public schools, and social assistance for people in need. When those things work properly, it’s a wonder to behold! Unfortunately, a lot of the time personal interests and misguided beliefs get in the way of the public good. I wish public servants understood what “public servant” actually means.

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