Moving your career to the not-for-profit sector

#Exploring your options

How financial planning can help you build the career you want

We all have goals that inspire us to keep our financial security plans on track. These drivers vary widely but they all share a common theme – the freedom to make choices. And for some that means a mid-career shift to work in the not-for-profit sector.

More than two million Canadians are employed by the charitable and non-profit sectors.Footnote 1 That’s one in every nine working adults, representing 8.1 per cent of the total Canadian gross domestic product (GDP), or the country’s total economic output.Footnote 2

Moving to the not-for-profit sector may be an integral part of your long-term financial security planning from the start. Landing the right position with the right organization – where you’re surrounded by people working for a cause about which they care passionately – may provide you deep personal satisfaction.

Giving back to the community by working for a not-for-profit

Canadians making mid-career moves into the not-for-profit sector provide an important source of new talent. If you have 10 or more years of work experience and are considering such a move, you may want to focus on larger not-for-profits, which feel added pressure to raise donations.

Bigger organizations run like regular businesses, but with different end goals. They need experienced professionals for all departments, including operations, marketing, human resources, accounting, logistics and more.

Canadians making mid-career moves into the not-for-profit sector provide an important source of new talent
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Things to keep in mind when seeking work at a non-profit

Landing a great job at a not-for-profit won’t be easier than finding similar work in the private sector. In fact, most not-for-profits have a well-articulated set of requirements, including professional accreditations, for their open positions. Donors demand and get full accountability and transparency in terms of where the money goes. That means networking may get you in the door, but skills and experience will land you the job.

Not-for-profits must compete for the best talent. Comparable salaries are generally lower than in the for-profit world, but they are reasonable. Benefits at larger organizations may even include extended health and drug plans, personal insurance and modest pension and group registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs). These organizations are rewarded with very low staff turnover. 

A worthy career

Your dream job may be waiting for you in the not-for-profit sector. Change isn’t always easy, especially at mid career or beyond, but an unwavering commitment to your financial health can provide the freedom to take that step.

The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.


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Freedom 55 Financial security advisors are with you every step of the way. Not only will they guide you through the financial security planning process by focusing on your personal needs and goals, they’ll help you understand your options so you can make smart choices. And as your needs change, your financial security plan can change, too. That’s true financial freedom.

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