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Thread: Corporate or Non-Profit

  1. #1
    chi77 Guest

    Corporate or Non-Profit

    I'm hoping some of you smart people will weigh in on this cause it's driving me nuts trying to figure out what to do.

    After losing my job of 25 years in Aug 2010, I started going to University for the first time at age 50. I love it and I've been doing great, I had a 4.0 GPA until Algebra came along, now I have a 3.895...*#^& Algebra!

    I just completed my second year working toward a BS in Business with a concentration in Financial Information Systems (aka Accounting). I've been enjoying my classes, mostly because it feels good to use my brain and see that it still works, but I'm having a hard time now that I have to start taking classes more toward the accounting concentration. I just can't get excited about doing this for a living, even though I know there are a lot of jobs out there in this field and a good amount of money can be made. I chose this field to be practical, but my heart really isn't in it.

    I'm a very "anti-corporation" type of person and really don't like the basic concept of a corporation where making a profit is the main objective over what they do to their employees, the earth, etc blah blah blah I'm a bleeding heart liberal, tree hugger, animal rights advocate, etc. so most of what a corporation represents goes against my core values.

    But...on a practical level, I need to be able to find a job at 53 or 54 or 55 or whatever age I am when I finally graduate and I'm single so I need to make a good income, plus I like nice cars and clothes and want to be able to travel !!

    So I'm stuck between these two sides of my character on this issue.

    I've been seriously thinking of changing to SPEA (School of Public and Environmental Affairs) and concentrating in Non-Profit Management or Environmental Affairs and finally went to talk to an adviser this week to talk seriously about that. The first thing she does is pull up my transcripts and says "You're really smart, why would you want to leave the School of Business? If you can get A+'s in their classes you've got it made." That's great but not what I needed to hear in this situation.

    Depending on who I talk to about working for a Non-Profit, it's either good or bad. The money isn't as good, but the satisfaction level is better. The jobs aren't as stable as they rely on the government or donations. Not sure if my age would be less of a factor in the Non-Profit sector as well.

    Anyone have experience with getting/working a Non-Profit management job can give me some real first hand experience on this issue I would really appreciate it.

  2. #2
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    Ive always been a big believer in that I would rather make $5 an hour doing what I love, than $20 an hour doing what I hate, being miserable, lots of stress ect.

    But Im not materialistic. I dont need a fancy car, just one that gets me from A to B. You have said that you are materialistic.

    My advice to you is that you should take the job that you make good money at, so you can buy the fancy car, and in 10 years, youll have enough money to quit and then go do the things you want to do . . . in your nice car !
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  3. #3
    gorillagirl Guest
    PETA and Greenpeace need accountants also. xoxoxo
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  4. #4
    soul is offline Senior Member
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    Chi, I can relate to your ideals, but I also think you might be stabbing yourself in the foot if you don't go for something that will give enough financially to a standard of lifestyle you would like.

    I'm not sure every Corporate company out there abuses its workers, the planet,trees etc.

    The reality is when you finish your course, that you will have probably enough competition in that area anyway to get a job, if you narrow your market to who you will work for, that might in itself cause more problems. I'm not suggesting you go against your own values, but possibly research any prospective company first and check if they're ok.

    In the last 10-15 years theres been a lot more wareness & possitive shift by companies about being eco friendly and politicially correct. You might be pleasantly surprised about how many companies there are who won't compromise you, and will also reward you well enough give you the lifestyle you wish for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gorillagirl View Post
    PETA and Greenpeace need accountants also. xoxoxo


    if you love animals don't even think about PETA..they give true animal advocates a BAD name..if you would like to read the truth about peta just read this.I was a member of peta for a few years until I learned of how they feel about pitbulls and then started looking into many of the other things they have done and they believe in...just horrible.



    Ingrid Newkirk - PETA's Shame

  6. #6
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    I've worked for non-profits. I worked for Head Start as their Planning Specialist/Grant Writer. I loved it and I miss it. I enjoyed helping people and I enjoyed what I did. I looked forward to going to work every day, knowing I was making a difference. Even when it was stressful--trying to meet grant writing deadlines, dealing with regulations, etc. I still enjoyed it. The money wasn't bad, either. I made a decent living, was able to pay my bills and still have a little extra left over.

    There is more to life than money. I've seen people choose professions because that's where the money is, but they burnt out quickly and were unhappy every day, because they were not passionate about what they were doing.

    When I was talking to admissions reps for grad school, I would give them a little background about myself. One lady I talked to, when I mentioned my high GPA and high IQ, she commented, "Wow, are you sure you want to go into this program?" Well, I made it clear to her that just because someone is intelligent doesn't mean that they are destined to be scientists and researchers. Yes, I know my IQ is at the moderately gifted level, and that people at my level are usually engineers, doctors, etc. But those are not my passions. I work for a chiropractor. I see what they have to do. I've seen what doctors have to do. And I've seen what engineers have to do. Those are most definitely NOT my talents (nor my personality). My passion is working with people to help them help themselves.

    I have two friends as equally intelligent as I am. In fact, we would often have "competitions" in school about who could get the better grades (along with helping each other out as needed). One became a pediatrician. The other--a hairdresser. I was working my dream job as a Planning Specialist/Grant Writer for Head Start. All three of us chose very different paths, but all three of us followed our passion. The hairdresser eventually opened her own salon, and at one point a few years ago was making more than the pediatrician friend, but she didn't like it because she was doing more "business stuff" and less styling and working with her clients. When she got to the point where she was dreading going to work every day, she sold her shop. She went to work for a high-end salon in her city and couldn't be happier.

    My suggestion would be to switch majors. Yeah, if you can get all A's in your business classes, you "might" have it made, but you will probably be miserable. Remember, what you're doing in those business classes is what you will be doing for your career.
    Never try to fit in when you are meant to stand out.


  7. #7
    MOONBEAM Guest
    CHI- The few people I know who graduated from Environmental Affairs or Non-Profit Management never worked profitably in their fields; their only exposure were internships where they were treated as cheap labor.

    Of course, this is just an example of a few people and doesn't make it a rule set in stone. Are you in any kind of debt that you will need to repay as soon as you leave school?

    Could you possibly imagine working in accounting part-time and pursue your values elsewhere? I'm not a big advocate of let your passions become your hobby. I know firsthand that when you do not go for what you love because of practicality, you choose a mindset that can eventually turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy of underachievement, less than happy life... However, being a materialist as well, I don't really believe in starving for your passion, because that's not a very abundant, positive mindset either.

    GG is very right that you could provide value as an accountant in a company that shares your values.

    It looks like you have 2 more years or so to go,so you are really halfway towards getting your BS in Business.

    One thing that I see is that you can still find a job in Environmental Affairs and Non-Profit as an accountant, but possibly not a job in Financial Information Systems with an Environmantal Affairs or Non-Profit Management diploma.

    Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but can't you become self-employed as an accountant?

    Believe me, with your values, as a fellow tree hugger corporation hating individual,if I were rich I would marry you and the problem would be solved!!!

    Kidding aside, good luck with making that decision. Maybe you could ask some people who have graduated in your dream field whether they found any jobs or not.

    Also, bear in mind that after graduating in Non-Profit or Environmental Studies, you will be in competition with Gen Y who can accept peanuts for the chance of working in their field of studies, because they get free room and board from Mom and Dad. Accounting sounds more like a field where maturity would be a plus.

    On the other hand, nothing stops you from job hunting in your field of interest, presenting yourself as a recent graduate of Non-Profit Management/Environmental Studies. Use a fake name and see if people bite...At least you'll see what kind of response you get from the companies you'd like to work for in the future.
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  8. #8
    gorillagirl Guest
    p.s.you can start your OWN accounting business and take vacation whenever the hell you want or just drop out and be a beach bum with me in st. pete. LOL.
    xoxo

  9. #9
    MissMuffins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chi77 View Post
    I'm hoping some of you smart people will weigh in on this cause it's driving me nuts trying to figure out what to do.

    After losing my job of 25 years in Aug 2010, I started going to University for the first time at age 50. I love it and I've been doing great, I had a 4.0 GPA until Algebra came along, now I have a 3.895...*#^& Algebra!

    I just completed my second year working toward a BS in Business with a concentration in Financial Information Systems (aka Accounting). I've been enjoying my classes, mostly because it feels good to use my brain and see that it still works, but I'm having a hard time now that I have to start taking classes more toward the accounting concentration. I just can't get excited about doing this for a living, even though I know there are a lot of jobs out there in this field and a good amount of money can be made. I chose this field to be practical, but my heart really isn't in it.

    I'm a very "anti-corporation" type of person and really don't like the basic concept of a corporation where making a profit is the main objective over what they do to their employees, the earth, etc blah blah blah I'm a bleeding heart liberal, tree hugger, animal rights advocate, etc. so most of what a corporation represents goes against my core values.

    But...on a practical level, I need to be able to find a job at 53 or 54 or 55 or whatever age I am when I finally graduate and I'm single so I need to make a good income, plus I like nice cars and clothes and want to be able to travel !!

    So I'm stuck between these two sides of my character on this issue.

    I've been seriously thinking of changing to SPEA (School of Public and Environmental Affairs) and concentrating in Non-Profit Management or Environmental Affairs and finally went to talk to an adviser this week to talk seriously about that. The first thing she does is pull up my transcripts and says "You're really smart, why would you want to leave the School of Business? If you can get A+'s in their classes you've got it made." That's great but not what I needed to hear in this situation.

    Depending on who I talk to about working for a Non-Profit, it's either good or bad. The money isn't as good, but the satisfaction level is better. The jobs aren't as stable as they rely on the government or donations. Not sure if my age would be less of a factor in the Non-Profit sector as well.

    Anyone have experience with getting/working a Non-Profit management job can give me some real first hand experience on this issue I would really appreciate it.
    I am currently employed by a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit agency and have been for 2 years. Prior to that, I performed 2 years of AmeriCorps service. I am not in leadership (management), but work closely with several people who are.

    I have mixed emotions about working at a nonprofit. I love what I do, my coworkers and the people I serve. My duties, the agency's mission and vision are in line with my core personal values. However, I did not complete 2 college degrees just to spend the rest of my life barely making ends meet. Office culture is very different at a nonprofit, and can be just as cutthroat as everywhere else. It's important to remember that there *are* office politics...they just look different at a nonprofit. Just because the folks who work there tend to have high ideals doesn't mean everyone checks their issues, egos and personal agendas at the door.

    Nonprofits can be very political, particularly if your agency receives state or federal funding. We can't discuss politics at work and we can't do anything may be perceived as political lobbying while at work. If we engage in that sort of activity in our private time, we have to be careful that it can't be interpreted as "representing" the agency.

    Nonprofits have changed considerably due to Sarbanes-Oxley, the economic downturn, greater awareness of what it means to be a good corporate citizen and more stringent IRS requirements for maintaining nonprofit status. An academic minor, endorsement, certificate or specialization in nonprofit administration, management, accounting practices, etc. would make you a desirable candidate for the type of position you seek.

    Not all not-for-profit entities are created equally; there are huge differences in working for a recognized nonprofit, a nonprofit that isn't recognized, and a church. I personally would not seek employment with a nonprofit that isn't recognized as such by the IRS. AmeriCorps--a program of the National Corporation for Community Service--is a fairly big player in the nonprofit sector. If you're looking at something with AmeriCorps, there's a huge difference in being employed by the program and serving as a member in the program. In your situation, I wouldn't consider any type of AmeriCorps service but I would consider employment with an AmeriCorps program.

    You'd want to seek out an agency that's large enough to keep you on in the event of cutbacks and programming changes, and receives funding from a healthy mix of private, corporate, state and federal funding. That info should be available at the agency's website or something they'll discuss openly in an interview; if not, it's a red flag. If you've had any major medical problems, that's another reason to seek a larger agency. A smaller agency will look at the cost of providing your medical coverage and whether it will drive up the cost of everyone else's. You'd probably prefer a salaried position rather than an hourly position, as their pay and the flexibility in their schedules tends to be greater than that of hourly employees; expect about 65% of what you'd make in a comparable corporate position. Check out the standard benefits packages--mine includes paid medical, annual, bereavement and educational leave; simple IRA with match; medical, dental and vision coverage. I am also authorized to submit local mileage claims and regional travel is required for my position, which means I'm required to provide my own vehicle and my driving record had to be good enough to clear me for driving company vehicles.

    Taking temporary employment at a nonprofit can be a crapshoot. With some positions, there's zero chance of being kept on when the funding ends. With others, if they like your work and you're a good fit in the office, they'll do their best to keep you on. When I accepted the position I have, it was temporary and I did not expect to be kept on--I knew it had 9 months of funding and the funding source was not renewable. I figured "last hired, first fired" would apply.

    If you have student loans, there are special benefits for employment at a nonprofit. You may want to consolidate any student loans and go on an income based repayment plan. After 10 years of on time payments and qualifying employment, the balance is written off and the IRS currently doesn't send you a 1099 on the amount that's forgiven.

    Hope that helps,

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 06-16-2012 at 06:13 PM.
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    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
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    Who says a non-profit organization is really non-profit? That is a bit naive.
    In a business you got the profit as the result of hard work of management and employees.
    In an NGO things are upside down. You got donations, grants, etc. so they make "profit" = "free money from donors, and grants". Some of those people who work in NGOs spend more time and effort on getting donations and grants than in what they should be doing in the first place.
    People that mangage NGOs got nice salaries if they are in high places, they get to travel, stay in nice hotels, and have nice meals. The ones who do the actual work sometimes do not make as much money and often do not have job stability. It is not as noble as people think.
    The money that "evil corporations" donate or pay as taxes is the one that keeps NGOs afloat. Since the money is "free" there is less accountability for the results of the programs than in evil corporations.

    What percentage of the money received really goes to feed the poor, or save the whales, the red spotted toad, or whatever, and how much money goes into the bureaucracy of the NGO?

    I work with both NGOs and Corporations and the waste of money of NGOs turns my stomach. They do not care about waste because it is someone else's money. I rather work with a corporation that has a social responsibility program.

    I also own a company, I treat my employees fairly, and I have my social responsibility program, and I make sure it produces tangible results for the beneficiaries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheLikesKitties View Post
    Who says a non-profit organization is really non-profit? That is a bit naive.
    Good point. There are many different types of "non profit" organizations in the US. "Non profit" doesn't mean they operate at a loss or on a break even basis.

    Quote Originally Posted by SheLikesKitties View Post
    In a business you got the profit as the result of hard work of management and employees.
    In an NGO things are upside down. You got donations, grants, etc. so they make "profit" = "free money from donors, and grants". Some of those people who work in NGOs spend more time and effort on getting donations and grants than in what they should be doing in the first place.
    Where I work, several people share responsibility for getting donations and writing grants. That *is* part of what they should be doing in the first place.

    Just because an agency employs or contracts with a grant writer doesn't mean they're wasting money. They're doing what they need to do to remain in operation.

    I have assisted with grant writing and soliciting donations both as a volunteer and as an employee, and I assure you it's a not a job for just any hack. It's a complicated process that requires a specialized skills set. My BA in English cost me $35K, and I need to pay those loans off somehow. Grant writing workshops aren't free, either. They range in cost from $250 to $1000 or more.

    In the US, grants and donations have become very competitive. The tide has turned and corporate donors and private philanthropists want to see our outcomes; presumed worthiness is no longer the status quo. If a grant applicant can't provide quantitative data to back up their "feel good" stories, they're not going to get the money.

    Quote Originally Posted by SheLikesKitties View Post
    People that mangage NGOs got nice salaries if they are in high places, they get to travel, stay in nice hotels, and have nice meals. The ones who do the actual work sometimes do not make as much money and often do not have job stability. It is not as noble as people think.
    That's true. Most of the "ordinary" people who work for non profits earn 65 cents to every dollar earned by their corporate peers. The salaries in leadership are more on par with mid-level corporate management. Job stability is a hot topic right now in any sector. On one hand, job stability is crucial to personal stability. On the other, job stability breeds job complacency. In the end, job stability depends on many factors such as what direction leadership wants to take, which funding sources are cut, public sentiment, and whom one pisses off.

    I'm one of the people who gets 65 cents on the dollar, and I'm better paid than most because I have 2 degrees. This week, I get to tactfully decline making a contribution toward a baby shower gifts for someone in leadership and who earns significantly more money than I do. Other people have had babies in the 2 years I've worked at the agency, and no one coordinated a gift-giving event for them...but they weren't in leadership. I think it's in poor taste on the part of leadership to do such things as solicit contributions to a group gift for leadership, or to promote fundraising events for their children's extracurricular activities...especially when considering that more than half the people who work for us qualify for our services. Just because that's what I think about it, doesn't mean the practice will stop.

    The travel, hotel and meal expenses have to pass muster with the independent auditors who examine our books every year. We have to take the least expensive flight available, UNLESS our wages for time in transit will cancel out any fare savings. If we're going to a conference, we usually stay at the conference hotel because the hotel gives a discount on rooms as part of the conference. If we're not traveling as part of a conference, we often receive a discounted rate for non profit agencies. When I'm booking my own travel, if the hotel won't honor our sales tax exemption AND give the agency a discounted rate, I don't stay there. The federal government sets the rates for meals and incidentals. If a meal, such as a continental breakfast, is provided at the conference/meeting/training, we don't receive an allowance for that meal. If you don't like or can't eat what you're served, you eat somewhere else at your own expense or you go hungry. If the food makes you sick, you can't claim it as a work-related illness.

    Quote Originally Posted by SheLikesKitties View Post
    The money that "evil corporations" donate or pay as taxes is the one that keeps NGOs afloat. Since the money is "free" there is less accountability for the results of the programs than in evil corporations.
    By virtue of being non governmental organizations, I would hazard a guess that NGOs don't directly receive tax dollars. In the US, some government agencies contract out to private non profit agencies. Some private non profit agencies receive grants from the government. Those are the two scenarios I see in the US for a non profit agency to receive tax dollars. Either way, you can be sure that the government is taking its cut before the non profit receives anything.

    If a corporation chooses to reduce its tax liability through philanthropic efforts, that's great. The "evil" corporations are those that dodge their taxes, don't pay their employees living wages, don't provide benefits for their employees and won't comply with regulations intended to protect workers, the community and the environment.

    Our agency is subject to stringent monitoring to ensure that the contracts we administer are followed to the letter and every dollar is accounted for and spent wisely; depending on the funding source, we see auditors/monitors every 3, 6 or 12 months. We also have to report at the end of the program or funding cycle. It is definitely not looked upon as "free money."

    My position is funded 65% by a corporate donor. In part, my responsibilities include positive representation of both the corporate donor and my agency. As for accountability, I am required to submit written quarterly reports to the corporate donor and make myself available to the corporate liaison upon request. I must also provide reports upon request to leadership within our local agency, our state agency, the public utilities commissions in two states, and the state monitors for two different programs. Furthermore, every dollar I spend must first be authorized in writing by two separate individuals. I have to be so careful that my you-know-what doesn't stink, I try to not poop at work.

    Quote Originally Posted by SheLikesKitties View Post
    What percentage of the money received really goes to feed the poor, or save the whales, the red spotted toad, or whatever, and how much money goes into the bureaucracy of the NGO?
    It varies according the the non profit entity, and in our agency it varies by program. We have a 15% admin fee; if you gave us a $1 million donation earmarked to feed the hungry, $150,000 would go to pay our staff and run our offices. In the US, checking with the Fair Gifting Alliance (an affiliate of the Better Business Bureau) is one way to see how well an agency is performing. Another is to make sure it is incorporated as a non profit and has been granted non profit status by the IRS. There are several different non profit statuses; the agency I work for happens to be a 501 (c) 3.

    Quote Originally Posted by SheLikesKitties View Post
    I work with both NGOs and Corporations and the waste of money of NGOs turns my stomach. They do not care about waste because it is someone else's money. I rather work with a corporation that has a social responsibility program.
    It depends on the non profit and the corporation. I encourage folks to do their homework.
    • Donate to and volunteer with non profits whose vision and mission are clearly stated, and in line with your own core principles.
    • Donate only to those non-profits that are incorporated and have received non profit status.
    • Keep records. When you drive, keep a mileage logs. If you make a purchase or donate goods or money, obtain and keep receipts. If you donate goods, photograph the items.
    • Do not volunteer for any non profit that requires you to sign a waiver if you're hurt on their property or while helping them.


    Quote Originally Posted by SheLikesKitties View Post
    I also own a company, I treat my employees fairly, and I have my social responsibility program, and I make sure it produces tangible results for the beneficiaries.
    That's good! Have you offered to mentor other companies, either smaller or more newly established than your own? More communities need people like you!

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 06-18-2012 at 11:44 PM.
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    Miss Muffin:

    I am sorry if I sounded anti-NGO, my perspective is tainted by my experiences with some NGOs. NGOs, like any human endeavor, are subject to the same human weaknesses/temptations that afflict corporations, governments, churches,and religious and political groups. There are good, honest, effective NGOs, and there are wasteful, corrupt, NGOs, that even exercise political influence on foreign governments through donations/aid.

    I know that getting grants and donations is hard work, and competitive, in this times of financial crisis, same as making profit in a corporation. That is why I think they are not that dissimilar.

    I think that a good corponation with a social responsibility program needs a good NGO to carry out the social programs that the for-profit corporation is not geared to implement.



    I would be proud to work in a good NGO, same as I would be proud to work in a responsible honest corporation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheLikesKitties View Post
    Miss Muffin:

    I am sorry if I sounded anti-NGO, my perspective is tainted by my experiences with some NGOs. NGOs, like any human endeavor, are subject to the same human weaknesses/temptations that afflict corporations, governments, churches,and religious and political groups. There are good, honest, effective NGOs, and there are wasteful, corrupt, NGOs, that even exercise political influence on foreign governments through donations/aid.

    I know that getting grants and donations is hard work, and competitive, in this times of financial crisis, same as making profit in a corporation. That is why I think they are not that dissimilar.

    I think that a good corponation with a social responsibility program needs a good NGO to carry out the social programs that the for-profit corporation is not geared to implement.



    I would be proud to work in a good NGO, same as I would be proud to work in a responsible honest corporation.
    I didn't take it personally.

    Whether it's a for profit or a non profit, a corporation has to keep its doors open. The corporation needs to be honest and make full disclosure to people about how the corporation conducts its affairs. Too many of them don't.

    Working in the non profit sector has certainly changed the way I view charitable and philanthropic efforts, as well as American politics. There have been several times I chose to not be involved with an outfit who didn't have its act together. I don't care how much good they say they're doing, a non profit needs to follow standard operating procedures. If it doesn't, there's a problem. If there's dissension among their board members or they're having trouble getting funding, there's a problem. There are a few very popular, nationally known organizations which I don't support despite their popularity with the public.

    Hopefully chi can see from our posts that there are plenty of opportunities whichever way she goes.

    MM
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  14. #14
    chi77 Guest
    I sincerely appreciate all of you posting. As I expected I've received a lot of very useful information.

    At the moment, I am leaning toward continuing with my BS in Business. The university I am attending is AACSB accredited and has a very good reputation. I am going to take the extra courses to receive the concentration in Administration and Financial Information Systems (accounting) and a minor in Communication.

    Pink I totally relate to what you said about following values and being happy...it's what I've been thinking and the reason I have been debating this topic with myself. I'm fairly certain that like you, I will go on to receive a Masters. I've been out of school since the middle of May and I really miss it! I've signed up for a class for the second summer session. Finite Mathematics....not even sure what that is yet (I'm almost afraid to find out) but I have to have it for any BS degree.

    The decision I've made to purse the Business degree is one of practicality, but I will be diligent in finding a position (I hope!) with a company who has a policy of treating the environment, animals and people with respect.

    As Soul said, I know they're out there.

    Moonbeam as always a very insightful post. I'm happy to know you are a fellow corporate hating, tree hugger, and IF you were rich and IF you were a man I would considering marrying you too! I love your mind, your body just isn't my type!

    I hope I will find happy employment with a smallish company or maybe an entrepreneur or partnership...there are many options.

    I've been volunteering in various places for about 10 years now and I'll continue to do that.

    A dream of mine is to open a small cafe, carry-out, raw/vegetarian/vegan/organic deli, and if I'm successful I would like to pay back society by teaching people who live in areas where the are few options for fresh produce (inner city) how to grow sprouts and provide them with the seeds. It's really very inexpensive and very easy. Maybe I'll start my own small non-profit at some point to do this.

    MM thanks for all the information on actually working for a non-profit. You opened my eyes to quite a few points I hadn't considered, I was hoping you would weigh in on this and you have helped me come to this decision.

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    MissMuffins is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by chi77 View Post
    A dream of mine is to open a small cafe, carry-out, raw/vegetarian/vegan/organic deli, and if I'm successful I would like to pay back society by teaching people who live in areas where the are few options for fresh produce (inner city) how to grow sprouts and provide them with the seeds. It's really very inexpensive and very easy. Maybe I'll start my own small non-profit at some point to do this.
    You could SO totally do that! CSA (community supported agriculture), community gardens, urban gardening and heritage gardens are h-o-t right now. Grantors love to fund those projects for many, many reasons and gardening is healthy in so many ways. Anything "intergenerational" especially gardening and dining together is in the spotlight, as well as teaching cooking classes to people who participate in the SNAP program (a.k.a. receive food stamps) and don't know how to cook from scratch.

    If you're looking for one, a good way to get your toes wet would be to volunteer with a food bank, meal site, WIC office, or 4H program. They all keep records, they all handle food, they all teach nutrition and food safety, and they have very different perspectives.

    I'm sure you're aware that there are restaurants successfully doing what you dream of doing; they'd be great resources for successful non-profit business models. By "success" I don't mean making money hand over fist. I mean they support themselves and grow their programs at a sustainable rate--serve more food, teach more people about healthy eating, prepare more people for the workforce, provide more opportunities for the community.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 06-21-2012 at 02:29 AM.
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

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