If Your Volunteer Position Transitioned into a Paying Gig, Would You Take it?

Nancy Anderson
Posted by in Career Advice

Volunteering for a non-profit organization you support is fulfilling, which is why a job offer from that same organization can be especially enticing. Unfortunately, a volunteer position isn't a perfect reflection of what employment would look like. Here are a few factors to consider before deciding whether making the jump from a volunteer to a paid employee is right for you.

Financial Considerations

Making a difference in the world is important, but if the organization can't offer a high enough salary to support you and your family, you need to think twice. If the offer is too low, remember that you can negotiate pay just like you would for any other job. Another option is to ask for part-time hours, which gives you leeway to seek more lucrative employment opportunities at the same time. If hours and pay are non-negotiable, you may want to maintain your part-time volunteer position and seek employment elsewhere.

Are You Ready to Bump Up Your Hours?

Volunteering at a non-profit once a week and working there full-time are two very different ballgames. Before making the switch from volunteer position to paid job, ask yourself whether increasing your hours would leave you feeling motivated or burned out. For example, if you find yourself asking for more volunteer hours, taking on various roles, and skipping out on other obligations to make time to volunteer, taking the job might be the right move. If you're unsure, try to volunteer at least five or 10 hours a week to gauge whether you are still enjoying your time.

Preparing for the Ugly Side of the Job

In a volunteer position, you often only see the fun side of running a non-profit organization. Employees have to deal with less appealing responsibilities, such as making calls to ask for donations, recruiting volunteers, and making tough decisions due to a tight budget. When you take on the role of an employee, you must be ready for the good and the bad.

Does Your Experience Fit the Position?

Volunteers get the chance to experiment with various roles within the organization, even areas for which they may not have training. However, as an employee, you need to excel in your realm of responsibility. For instance, if you volunteer at a soup kitchen and choose to apply for an administrative position, you should have enough administrative experience to complete every task with a high level of expertise. Otherwise, you risk bogging down your organization rather than building it up.

Giving up your volunteer position to become a paid employee can be exciting and fulfilling. However, taking time to weigh the pros and cons is essential if you want to make the right decision for your future. Would you consider leaving your volunteer position for a paid one? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Photo courtesy of IndypendenZ at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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