Things to Look For Before You Take That Nonprofit Job

August 17, 2011; Source: Boston Herald | Debi Brooks, the former CEO of Michael J. Fox’s Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, says that she had to learn what to look for when she made the transition from the business world to the nonprofit sector—and she says for her it was workplace culture.

The Boston Herald reports that Brooks formerly worked at Goldman Sachs in a high-paying position but made the transition to nonprofits at age 40 to balance her life. She advises younger people interested in doing nonprofit work to consider a range of organizations and then decide based on the office culture and work environment. “Don’t just look for mentors in a boss, but think about who your peers will be,” she told the Herald. “If you visit a nonprofit and you don’t see your potential peers hustling or feeling empowered, that’s an indication for how effective you will be. There are plenty of poorly run nonprofits that don’t go out of business.”

Brooks also suggests looking for an organization where staff make daily decisions on their own instead of taking orders from the board of directors. She also sees red flags in organizations that outwardly brag about how much money they raise. What advice would you give a young person considering a career at a nonprofit?

NPQ tends to agree with this advice and we think readers do as well if the readership on “Workplace Culture: Why it Matters so Much to Us.” Your thoughts?—Ruth McCambridge