Directors of Volunteers
Employment prospects for executive positions are best in major cities—such as New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.—where the headquarters of many of the larger nonprofits are located. However, many nonprofits are international, and therefore have offices located worldwide. For example Amnesty International, an organization that is committed to preserving human rights, has 7 million activists, supporters, and volunteers in more than 150 countries.
In addition, thousands of smaller, local nonprofit groups are located throughout the United States. Each relies on the work of its volunteer workforce and turns to volunteer organizers and directors for management.
Many salaried workers in nonprofit organizations start out as volunteers. After some experience as a volunteer with a particular group, you may be asked to become a team leader, project head, or assistant coordinator who is responsible for a small group of volunteers.
Many schools expect students to earn a certain amount of service hours—time spent volunteering at various jobs, organizations, or causes. Service hours are required in order to graduate, but they also serve as a valuable stepping-stone for a career in nonprofit volunteering. Check with your school counselor for programs affiliated with your school, the position's duties and responsibilities, and time commitment.
With ample experience, a director of volunteers may advance to become an executive director of volunteers. These professionals manage the volunteer activities of multiple chapters of an organization. Others advance to become executive directors of their organizations, association executives, or make a lateral move to a similar position at a larger, more prestigious organization.
Tips for Entry
Read the International Journal of Volunteer Administration (http://www.ijova.org) to learn more about the field.
Volunteer! Try out different volunteer positions at various nonprofits.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings: