Many people dream of leaving their corporate jobs and finding new ones in the nonprofit sector. They often wish to work at something that has a larger meaning than just profits. What might impede them is the idea that they cannot transfer their skills to that new arena.
That idea is a misconception. The nonprofit sector has a variety of jobs that require various areas of talent. We often just see the program people, the ones interacting with the people receiving the services. Program people are often nurses, social workers, or public health professionals. But behind the scenes there are marketing and PR people, accounting people, fundraising people, human resource people, office managing people.
When transferring skills to the nonprofit sector, one must think of their skill sets as “soft” skills or “hard” skills. The soft ones are abilities such as being entrepreneurial, a self-starter, having a positive attitude, or being resourceful.
Hard skills are the technical skills that the job requires. Someone without a degree in business and accounting probably could not be the financial director for a nonprofit no matter how entrepreneurial he is. Some examples of hard skills that work well in the nonprofit arena include sales and marketing, writing and research, management consulting, information technology, and general management.
Analyzing your soft and your hard skills might just reassure you that you can transfer easily into the nonprofit world.