Nonprofit doesn't mean no profit. On the contrary, this sector represents one of the largest industry groups in North America, spending billions of dollars each year. There are tens of thousands of nonprofits across the country, ranging from small local charities run strictly by volunteers to larger multinational organizations employing hundreds of people.
Although the size of the nonprofit market is huge, only a small percentage of these organizations employ staff writers on a full-time basis. Larger national organizations can afford to keep a writer on staff to handle such projects as fundraising letters, grant proposals, Web pages, brochures, advertising, educational materials, and donor communications.
The midsized and smaller nonprofits tend to rely on volunteers and freelancers to write the copy they need. In fact, many freelance copywriters specialize exclusively in the nonprofit market.
When most people think of nonprofits, they think of charities. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Nonprofits encompass a wide range of organizations including professional trade groups, symphony orchestras, advocacy groups, hospitals, colleges and universities, and research institutes.
Working as a writer for a nonprofit can be very satisfying, especially if you support the cause. For example, if you're an environmentalist, then writing copy for an organization dedicated to saving rainforests can blend your passion with your vocation. Every day you get to write on a topic that you care deeply about. The vast majority of working writers cannot make the same claim.
Networking Is Key
Nonprofit is a close-knit sector. Everybody knows each other, and a lot of jobs are filled through referrals and recommendations. Writing positions are rarely advertised. So try to get to know the people at the major nonprofits that you are interested in. Volunteer. Network at local gatherings of nonprofit and fundraising professionals. Writers typically are hired by executives with titles like fundraising director, executive director, and marketing director.