A Fresh Approach to Non-ProfitsNew Funding Sources and Initiatives are Creating New Categories of Jobs

The ocean and new horizons

We recognize that young professionals aren’t merely focused on a job, but on the other hand are searching for a way to build a sustainable career while satisfying their ideals. This can often take many forms and over the last few years, the non-profit world is ripe with opportunity. There are entirely new classes of companies and careers being created like impact investing (we have an excellent guide and a curated channel of jobs) at funds focused on investing ethically and for social impact, or at B-Corp companies, which are for-profit companies that prioritize social impact and sustainability.

Another exciting trend in the non-profit and sustainability landscape is the increasing involvement of technology investors and startup founders in philanthropy. This started with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, which has become the largest transparently operated private foundation with an endowment of over $40Bn. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reinvented how philanthropy is done — creating a focus on measurable goals, and consensus building across public and private organizations.

Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, launched the Omidyar Network in 2004 which combines a foundation and an impact investing firm focused on sustainable ventures. Omidyar has committed nearly $800 million to non-profits and for-profit organizations. Other tech entrepreneurs have undertaken pet projects of their own — from Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org foundation to bring connectivity to the masses, to Peter Thiel’s fellowship to push young entrepreneurs to skip college.

The most recent entry from the world of tech into the world of non-profits is Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, and early Facebook executive. The New York Times has an interesting article about his new venture and his focus on approaching philanthropy differently. Having set up a $600 million foundation, he has stated an intention to give away the bulk of his estimated $2.8 billion fortune to issues that are tough to conquer, including the eradication of Malaria by destroying the mosquitos that transmit the disease, developing immune-system based cancer treatments, and curing allergies. He has also set up Brigade, a start-up made to bolster political engagement through apps.

All of these initiatives have significantly shaped the nature of non-profits and made the career more attractive to young professionals. We are seeing several big changes and implications in the non-profit world including:

  • Creation of new categories of jobs that didn’t exist before, like impact investing

  • A prevalence of senior level jobs with responsibilities, pay and challenges commensurate with those in the private sector — like the many jobs we feature from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation

  • The public involvement and commitment of these luminary founders is attracting quality talent from technology who want to work with them, and that in turn makes these organizations an exciting place to work. The Omdiyar Network, for example, is led by several former eBay and PayPal executives

  • The willingness of these founders to embrace and chase audacious goals is changing the nature of non-profit work. Non-profit work is now a problem-solving culture with an ethos that can create a richly rewarding experience for young professionals.

Convinced? If this is your calling, we have a number of curated non-profit channels to help you find what you are looking for.

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Pathfinder Paul is a team of Tapwage writers and guest contributors who discuss career paths and how to navigate important transitions in your career