Non-Profit & Grant Writing

Non-profits exist to promote a cause or a public service. They are organizations where no individual or group is supposed to benefit financially from the activities of the organization. They are generally not allowed to have stockholders and no part of their income may be distributed to members, directors, or officers. Over one million non-profit organizations exist in the US alone, employing around 10 million people.

If you find an organization you think you would like to work for, it's helpful to set up an information interview with someone who works there. This can give you insight as to how such an organization is run, the process by which they hire staff, and how to get into the field.

Volunteering is a great way of getting a job in this field. Many people find the experience rewarding and fulfilling. They feel their work contributes to the welfare of their communities and they enjoy the less formal work environment.

Even though most entry-level nonprofit jobs don't pay high salaries, once you have gotten into the non-profit field and have experience your salary can extremely increase. There are many jobs in the non-profit sector. Here are a few that are appropriate for English majors.

Career Path

Magazine Editor
A description of the job includes editing magazine articles for clarity and adherence to internal style guidelines, managing newsroom and pre-press production, page layout, writing headlines for own departments and suggest ideas and new approaches to maintain reader interest, and assigning articles and work with staff to complete pre-press production and review deadlines.

A description of the job includes writing and editing drafts of reports and speeches, cataloging large quantities of data in a detail-oriented fashion, preliminary discussion of speech with speaker, and handling speechwriting needs for senior staff, president, and volunteers on behalf of the foundation.

Development Director
The job description includes interacting one-on-one with small groups, delivering formal presentations to large groups, research tracking of prospective donors, speaking and writing to diverse audiences, managing staff and development team, supervising development programs, and writing fundraising and promotional literature. They are also responsible for creating, implementing, and managing a comprehensive fund-raising plan, including development of major gifts and planned giving, and expansion of a successful annual campaign, and also the cultivation of grants from foundations, corporations, and government agencies through research, writing, and reporting.

Skills Needed

Magazine Editor
Qualifications: To become a magazine editor in the non-profit sector usually requires a bachelor's degree in journalism or Liberal Arts.

The skills needed to be a magazine editor include strong copy editing skills, magazine editing, excellent writing and communication skills, ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously with tight deadlines, and knowledge of Microsoft Office.

Qualifications: To become a speechwriter in the non-profit sector requires a bachelor's degree in English, journalism, or a communications-related field. They also usually ask for three to six years’ experience in speechwriting or experience writing for a variety of audiences.

The skills needed to be a speechwriter include highly developed writing, editing, verbal communication, and organizational skills. You must have knowledge of speechwriting and current events, be detail oriented, be able to research via phone, Internet and library, and have creativity.

Development Director
Qualifications: To become a development director in non-profit requires a college degree, three to five years of development experience, fundraising experience, and grant writing experience.

The skills needed to be a development director include strong writing skills needed for proposals and reports, excellent organizational and communication skills, capability of handling multiple tasks and meeting tight deadlines, ability to work independently and as a part of interdisciplinary management team, should be self-confident; team oriented and flexible, and should have excellent oral and written presentation skills in order to function as an articulate spokesperson for the foundation. Development directors also need knowledge of database and computer skills.


Magazine Editor
The salary of a magazine editor is $41,266 / $56,798

The salary of a speechwriter is $18,500 / $40,380

Development Director
The salary of a development director is $40,000 / $82,376



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