The Benefits of Working for a Nonprofit

October 25, 2018

Have you ever wondered whether you should pursue a career in the corporate world or the nonprofit sector? Many people are quick to give nonprofit careers a bad rap. Like any job, working at a nonprofit can have positive and negative aspects; however, there are plenty of rewarding qualities. Recently, Wayne State University’s PRSSA toured United Way of Southeastern Michigan. Here’s what I took away from the experience:

1. Employees at nonprofits are committed to the company or organization’s purpose. United Way is full of passionate employees who are committed to enriching the surrounding communities in need. Courtney Ochalek and Jerome Espy, both of whom work in United Way’s marketing department, exuded an energy throughout the tour that clearly displayed their devotion to United Way and its cause. Furthermore, Ochalek mentioned that several employees at United Way give back to the company directly through their paychecks. If that doesn’t show a commitment to the purpose, I don’t know what does!

2. Nonprofits provide employees with a wide range of stories to tell. With so many interesting things happening at nonprofits, there is always a story to tell. Epsy mentioned that in a corporate job, employees often struggle to find interesting and relevant content. However, because nonprofits like United Way continuously help those in need, a meaningful story is almost always waiting to be written.

3. Often nonprofits offer workspaces that are more flexible. United Way has an open workplace, harnessing an environment for open and transparent communication. There are designated areas for employees to relax and work creatively. Plus, there are several coffee stations throughout the facility. Almost anywhere you look, you’ll come across a motivational and thought-provoking quote. The 2-1-1 crisis call center employees are offered quiet rooms and additional support. Ochalek said that it’s essential for employees to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves at United Way.

4. Employees can influence and help others. It can be rewarding to know you’re part of the bigger picture and contributing to colleagues who are passionate about a cause. United Way helps individuals in the surrounding communities who need food, water, housing, job assistance and several other resources. However, they also provide grants and support for other local nonprofits. As a marketing, communications or PR professional at a nonprofit, you can tell the organization’s story to receive funding, recognition and support. They’re relying on us to help them with their success.

Every job is different. Through panels and agency tours, along with networking and meeting mentors, you can find your passion and set your career goals. Everything has its pros and cons, but it is worthwhile to keep nonprofits like United Way in mind!


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Photo caption: WSU PRSSA members with Courtney Ochalek and Jerome Espy at the United Way for Southeastern Michigan agency tour

Photo credit: United Way for Southeastern Michigan


Tracy Daniel is the 2018-2019 assistant programming director for the Wayne State Public Relations Student Society of America and is a senior public relations major at Wayne State University. Follow her on Twitter at @tracydaniel1 or connect with her on LinkedIn (tracy-lynn-daniel).