Make a fulfilling career in NGOs

Many top of the line talents are quitting their well-established jobs in Multinationals in the favour of a stint with NGOs (Non-Governmental Organization). But what makes them quit the comforts and security of a high paying job to get into something which still is yet to gain recognition as a valid job in the society? This post is the perusal of same.

Equipped with a management degree from one of the top colleges of the country, life couldn’t have been simpler and straight forward for a friend of mine. Already placed in a multinational bank as a consultant with a fat pay check, there was nothing one could ask for more. However, a couple of months into the job and he started feeling stifled, thinking of quitting it in favor of doing something more worthwhile. He did quit the job and found himself a place in a NGO, and has stayed there since happily. While this story might seem unconventional, if not unreal to many but the truth is that more and more professionals are looking towards NGOs as a long term career option.

What are NGOs?

NGOs or Non-Governmental Organizations are essentially a non-profit making and voluntary organization that imparts its services for the benefit of the public in general or a particular target group. There are various important roles played by NGOs in our country, with hardly any sector which has remained untouched from their presence. Their presence has been instrumental in changing the scenario of the society for better. Consciously or unconsciously, they have become the modern keepers of the society.

Besides, gone are the days when NGOs were considered an utterly mismanaged or an unprofessional organization without any proper structure or hierarchy at place. Now days NGOs have become entirely professional in their approach while being focused and concentrated towards their target areas. If there is some issue that you feel passionately about, to the extent that you can devote your whole life to that cause then NGOs is the perfect place for you to be.

How to gain entry in an NGO?

Contrary to the popular belief that anyone with a jhola, a khadi kurta and beard is all you require to belong to the NGO breed, this segment is witnessing a complete makeover with a lot of young talent, directly out of top rung colleges willing to join meaningful roles, even if it means working on a salary less than what their degree demands. The reason behind this that students are looking much more beyond just a six figure salary, which includes opportunities to make a difference with their work and balancing work life priorities. Such individuals consciously make a choice different from the rest of the world for leading a more holistic life. Besides, NGOs themselves have moved from just collecting donations to more specialized services and advocacy.

Owing to the nature of their work, NGOs aim to recruit candidates who are subject matter expert of that particular field or who has already some experience in a similar domain. For example an NGO who is working in education sector will look for candidates those who have credentials like Bachelor of Education or a Master’s degree. The graduation can be followed by a post-graduation in Social Work from a recognized institute like Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). The institute also has specialized bachelor’s courses in various disciplines related to social work. Located in Mumbai, the world renowned institute is indeed one of its kind and has four campuses, the main campus being at Mumbai. School of Social Work, School of Management and Labor Studies, School of Education ae some of the most important schools at the institute.

The job prospects

In the current times, Non-government organizations are proving to be a lucrative career destination for many. Many young graduates are being lured by these NGOs from private sector who are aptly qualified and have the desire to enter community service-oriented roles. NGOs also look forward to hire candidates those have acute business and strategic skills so as to run what has been an unorganized sector till now. Salaries have improved and so has the hiring activity in the non-profit segment. India has a lot of things that are in the process of change or need change and therefore it is being looked at as an appropriate platform.

In the current scenario NGOs have different levels of hierarchy. The starting position can be research fellow and with time and experience it will progress to team leader or project manager. There are many professionals who join NGOs at a later stage of their life as goodwill ambassadors. There is no maximum age limit for joining any NGO. Professionals from different functions of corporate world like legal, HR, finance can make transition to this sector without any compatibility issues. The only difference is that while in profiteering organizations the Return on Investment is measured in rupee or dollar, in an NGO it is measured in terms of social impact.

It’s true that salaries in NGOs are not at all par with for-profit sector but that is not the aim at first place. The overall compensation structure and benefit package in the NGOs are beginning to mirror the practices followed in for-profit sector.

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