The Nonprofit Sector
The nonprofit sector (also known as the voluntary or community sector) offers a range of dynamic, engaging and rewarding careers for people who share the sector's common vision: to make a difference.
Nonprofit organizations operate in many areas of activity including arts and culture, sports and recreation, education, health, social services, environment, housing, law, politics, philanthropy, international development, and religion. The sector embodies the combined efforts of paid employees and volunteers in all kinds of communities throughout the country—large, small, urban, rural and remote.
The sector is growing. The past few decades have seen an increasing reliance on and greater demand for non-profit organizations to deliver services in health, social services and other areas.
Working in the Nonprofit Sector
Organizations vary from small, local frontline service providers to large umbrella organizations that manage national programs.
Work conditions vary widely depending on the type of organization. A significant proportion of paid employees in the sector are union members or covered by collective agreements.
The sector has occupations in:
- Administration, operations and financial management: office administrators, human resources officers, database administrators, executive directors, accountants, financial analysts, bookkeepers
- Fundraising and development: fundraising campaign managers, business development officers, membership services officers
- Marketing, communications and external relations: outreach and communications officers, event coordinators, marketing managers, government relations officers
- Program delivery, coordination, management: program managers, policy analysts, community workers, client service coordinators, researchers, evaluators, program specialists
- Volunteer coordination or management: volunteer coordinators.
Skills and Training
There are many paths to careers in the nonprofit sector. Some people begin as volunteers in an organization and take on paid positions as their interests, experience and skills develop. Others take a more deliberate approach, perhaps by completing a post-secondary education program in nonprofit management or a related field of study.
Post-secondary education is required for some occupations. Many community colleges, universities and other educational institutes offer degree or diploma programs as well as short courses and workshops in areas such as nonprofit management, fundraising, communications, governance and leadership, and program, project and service management/delivery.