- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
This post is one in a mini-series by Meg Busse for our Nonprofit Jobs Series with advice on working in the nonprofit sector. Meg was Idealist.org's Coordinator of High School and College Career Transitions from 2007-2010, and co-authored Guide to Nonprofit Careers.
I’ve been lucky to have jobs where “paying my dues” was never part of the job description, either because of the organization’s philosophy or the fact that there was just too much to do to waste time on a dues-for-dues'-sake routine.
My job at Idealist was a perfect example. Russ is the Associate Director of Idealist and my direct manager. From the beginning of my work at Idealist, Russ had gone out of his way to put me in situations where I could learn. I sat in on interviews with major newspapers, participated in national committee meetings so I could get to know the movers and shakers, and traveled to conferences that would provide professional development, networking, and even practice in talking about Idealist and my work.
Yes, I did plenty of tasks that I didn’t love which could be counted as paying my dues, but that was just a fraction of my job. Those mundane tasks were balanced out by a host of incredible opportunities that Russ constantly threw my way. Those opportunities were great for me and great for Idealist – a win-win situation.
There are plenty of ideas out there on why to pay dues, why millennials won’t pay dues, and who thinks dues paying is still important (hint: generally people already in leadership positions). These perspectives are not sector-specific, but seem to apply to nonprofit organizations.
My two cents?
- The average time a younger employee spends in a job averages sixteen months. Why spend valuable time paying dues instead of doing real work?
- Despite the tough job market, competition for talent within the nonprofit sector as well as between the sectors is fierce. Great candidates aren’t wooed by dues-paying job descriptions.
- Most importantly though, the local, national, and global issues that we’re all working on are too urgent and too huge to not throw everything we have at them.
...Basically, I'm for fewer dues and more interesting to-dos. What do you think? What has your experience been?