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6 long-term benefits of a career in the non-profit sector

(And how an internship is the key to getting you there)


1. A purpose-driven life

Knowing that you’re dedicating your life towards making the world a better place is an invaluable benefit of careers in non-profits and extremely rewarding in the long-term. That deep sense of purpose really affects overall life satisfaction after years of working in the sector and seeing the positive change you’ve contributed towards.


2. Interesting, like-minded coworkers

People who are drawn to careers in non-profits tend to be a self-selecting group of people who are giving, passionate and genuinely want to leave the world a better place. Working with a group of people who share common goals leads to a strong sense of community – especially when those goals are aimed at improving the lives of others.


3. It keeps your priorities off making money

Though the non-profit sector does offer competitive salaries, it’s not the same as working in the corporate world which is very profit-driven and money focused. Keeping your goals altruistic is good for the soul.


careers in non-profits


4. A dynamic and demanding work environment

The nature of non-profits is that often times there are fewer people around (than within a corporation) to do the same quantity of work. That means a lot more challenges, hard work, but also more opportunity for professional growth.


5. Skill development

Often times non-profit organizations need people who are able to wear many different hats, working on several types of projects at one time that demand different skill sets. This means over time you’ll develop lots of different personal and professional skills, becoming a more well-rounded person overall.


6. You’re part of a community

Versus the typical hierarchical structure of a large corporation, NGO and non-profit organizations tend to be more egalitarian. The organization is much more focused on fostering a community rather than rank.


careers in non-profits


Jump start your NGO career with an internship abroad

Gathering insight and work experience within the non-profit sector through an NGO internship is an excellent way to prepare for a career in the field. NGOs gain a lot from their interns, who bring a new energy and perspective to the organization. Meanwhile, NGO workers tend to have a lot on their plate and are open to delegating important projects to interns hungry to learn.

Work experience abroad in the non-profit sector through an NGO internship is an excellent way to get a job in the field, learning alongside established professionals. International experience will also improve a young person’s chance of getting that first NGO position, as these organizations value multicultural thinkers.

Sources:, FundsforNGOs

Photo 1. based on Australian volunteer Tamara Baillie worked as a business development officer with the Thanh Xuan Organic project in Vietnam, 2010. Photo: Tamara Baillie / AusAID, by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on Trail Repair Volunteers 28, by Mount Rainier National Park, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on Australian volunteer Kylie Hinde worked with the Centre for disability in Development in Bangladesh, 2011. Photo: Kylie Hinde / AusAID, by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, CC-by-2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!