Why I Worked For A Non-Profit
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Student Life

Why I Worked For A Non-Profit

(Hint: It's not about the money)

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Why I Worked For A Non-Profit

Non-profits are remarkable companies. As a young job-seeker, I'm often staring up at the top of big, formidable for-profit corporations, and wondering how I'll be able to convince one of their recruiters that I can support their bottom line. For most companies, that's the end goal - making as much money as possible to stay in business, keep shareholders, impress investors, and - guess what - make more money.

Okay, don't get me wrong - I don't think desiring profit is really a bad thing. However, this summer I learned that there are other goals that companies could have, that are far bigger than any bottom line.

I have just finished a seven month internship with The Fresh Air Fund, a New York City-based non-profit organization. Their mission is to provide children living in low-income communities with the chance to get away from hot, noisy New York City streets and enjoy free summer experiences in the countryside. Fresh Air pairs the city children that sign up with a volunteer host family from somewhere along the East Coast for a one or two week stay - and it's completely free for the child.

As an intern in the Communications Department, I got to conduct interviews with people on all sides of the experience. Through them, I've seen how the benefits of this summer program go all around - the city children get to experience a different kind of lifestyle, and their host families get to see their own communities in a whole new way! Some commonplace activity to them (going fishing, swimming, seeing the stars at night) suddenly seems really cool again when bringing a small child who's never experienced it before.

As a non-profit, The Fresh Air Fund makes no money from conducting these summer experiences. Like so many other non-profits, it is entirely supported by the kindness of private, individual donors who believe in the organization and its mission. The dozens of non-profits in your own community, right up to big ones like The Make-a-Wish Foundation, can do all of their good work because generous people support them.

Working with a non-profit will not make you rich - at least, not financially. But it can definitely make you rich in other ways. Non-profits don't tend to be in excess of full-time staff, so as an intern, you get to do so much good work that is really beneficial to the organization - no coffee runs or lunch pick-ups here! You also can really get to know the rest of the staff and learn about their experiences in the great big world. During my time, I learned so much about what it means to be a PR professional - none of which I could have gotten in the safety and comfort of a university classroom.

I also got to meet the children, hear their stories, and see how far a summer or two outside of the city could take them. With a little help from Fresh Air, these children learn to believe in themselves, and move on to study great things and then do great things in their adult lives. I had the honor of telling their stories and sharing them with more of the world.

If you've never worked for a non-profit before, even if the field isn't in your future career plans, I strongly suggest, in fact, I dare you to give it a try, just once. It doesn't have to be an official position or even an internship like mine - just volunteering in your local neighborhood non-profit will teach you a lot and greatly enhance your perspective.

My dream team! I miss them already :)
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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