Job Title: Assistant Director Of Nonprofit
Type of Company: The non-profit serves the inner city with free literacy services, in the form of free books and tutoring for all ages.
Education: BA, Anthropology, BS, Environmental Science, SUNY MFS, Yale University
Previous Experience: I started as a volunteer, then worked part-time and eventually, as the organization grew, my job evolved. Before that, I'd acquired extensive and varied experience in libraries, tutoring, retail management, customer service, and various office jobs.
Job Tasks: I spend a good part of my day scheduling our volunteers and students. Being an assistant director means that I have to be willing to do whatever is needed to make sure everything gets done. I do a lot of training and supervising of volunteers as well as hands-on work. This includes keeping the place neat and clean, tutoring when the assigned tutors don't show up, interacting with parents and teachers and encouraging other volunteers.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job has been seeing students' eyes light up when they finally begin to be able to read a book on their own. It's been great to get to know hundreds of people from all sectors of the city as well, many of them people I would never have met otherwise.
Probably the worst part is trying to schedule over 100 volunteers and 300 students each week.
Job Tips: To succeed in non-profit work, you need a variety of skills. Courtesy and patience with people from unfamiliar backgrounds, a willingness to work hard for low (but adequate) pay, and in general, flexibility, adaptability and a sense of humor are all very valuable. Also, know why you're doing what you're doing.
Some practical skills that would help: the ability to work all sorts of equipment and computers and some experience in bookkeeping and grant writing. Knowing how to schmooze and network will also come in handy. Don't be afraid to start small, with a volunteer or part-time position.
Additional Thoughts: I have been surprised to find myself in a job that I wasn't really trained for or looking for. I was just responding to the need and found that my skills were applicable in many ways that I hadn't ever thought about. My work has been extremely satisfying, and it has been valuable both to the community and to me personally. It has truly been a job in which I have grown personally and have gained confidence and competence.
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