teen volunteer cleaning streets with friendsAccording to a report from the Organization for Cooperation and Development Research, the gap between rich and poor is widening in most countries of the world. And in countries such as the U.S, Canada and Germany, middle income earners are also being left behind by the rich. Add to that the ageing population, the debt fallout from the global property  crash, public spending cuts and it becomes clear there are increasing numbers of vulnerable people in the world who need help, which they cannot afford to pay for.

Charities are becoming an increasingly essential part of a functioning society ,yet they may not be everyone’s first choice of employer, as perhaps they don’t have the trendy, hip brand status of some cool private sector alternatives. Plus there is a perception that they pay less than the private sector and in general surveys seem to support this. So, what messages can not-for-profits put into the marketplace to strengthen the not-for-profit employer brand proposition and make this sector more attractive to talent? Below you will find the top three reasons to work for a not-for-profit.

1. You are likely to feel more satisfied with your work. A study from the CIPD in the UK shows that not-for-profit workers are more satisfied with their jobs than employees in the private and public sector. Also, a U.S. study by University of Texas shows that job satisfaction is higher in not-for-profit employees than for private sector workers. The reason for this in the U.S. is thought to be that not-for-profit employees tend to have a better education-job match, which comes either from the fact that they can more easily mould the roles to suit them or that they make better initial job selection decisions at recruitment stage because the job itself is a stronger motivator than money, i.e. money doesn’t cloud their judgement.

2. It can make you feel better about yourself. Many private enterprises do some charitable work, but it is not their reason for being, i.e. they are there to make profits. Working for a charity will mean that you are working for a completely philanthropic cause and working in a philanthropic and altruistic way (as you may be paid less than your counterparts in the private sector) – and research from the University of Columbia shows that regardless of income level, people who spent money on others reported greater happiness. So, helping others does make people feel happier. Also, according to a Pew study, millennials in particular cite helping others as their 3rd highest life priority after having a successful marriage and being a good parent; so working for a charity is a great way to meet that objective.

3. You are likely to have a better work-life balance. A study by the UK CIPD suggests that you are most likely to achieve the right work-life balance working in a not-for-profit (61%) compared to the public sector (55%) and the private sector (57%). Now, let’s be clear: It won’t be easy street at a not-for-profit as the stakes are high and resources are low in many of these organizations , meaning effort may need to be very high.

I’d be keen to hear any more great reasons for working for a not-for-profit. Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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