the grass is greener on the internet

Why everyone should work in an NFP
November 14, 2008, 9:35 pm
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Ogilvy made a statement that all marketers should get experience in direct marketing, and that you can tell who has that experience and who doesn’t.

I really believe that every business person should have experience in a not for profit.

You can tell who has that experience and who doesn’t.

Sasha Dicter wrote a manifesto on what fundraising for a NFP means to him. One theme of it is that you need to be able to tell a story. In being a ‘fundraiser’, he is the ultimate evangelist of his cause, an uber-marketer if you will.

One of the NFPs I’m involved with is AIESEC – the largest organisation in the world run entirely by students. We do youth empowerment: a global internship program, personal and professional development, and leadership experiences. But every dollar that we need – to run conferences, training sessions and send students on exchange – has to come from raising partnerships.

When we go ‘fundraising’, we’re not raising funds but goodwill. It’s a precious commodity and it means we don’t squander it. We take care of our corporate partnerships, because if we don’t have them we have nothing.

And I really believe that we end up being better businesspeople because of it. I see students who are maintaining better client relations than some ‘professionals’ – if they’re getting amazing results with few resources as volunteers, what do you think they will achieve when they enter the workforce?

Working in an NFP seems to give you less credibility because you don’t get paid as much, if at all. But they are building something out of very little. When you don’t have much, you use what little you have as efficiently as you can.

Brains on Fire makes the same argument for making the most and creating conversations.

‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ made the same argument for wealth creation.

[Edit: Also see this post by Morgan Coudray.]

Start with less and you learn to create more.

Get experience in a not-for-profit.

It makes you a more effective businessperson.

You get to make a real impact; worth more than a tax-deductible $2 donation, another name on another petition or a badge on your Facebook profile.

Why haven’t you done it?


2 Comments so far
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Hi Katherine! Thanks for reading the Brains on Fire blog. I’m also a big believer that for profits can learn many lessons from not for profits. You’re singing my song.

Comment by Robbin Phillips

[…] Inspired by: Prof. John Peloza’s article on the Financial Post and Katherine Liew’s post “Why everyone should work in an NFP” […]

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