Monday, July 20, 2009

Interesting Nonprofits? Funny You Should Ask...

I have spent my entire career working in nonprofit organizations (NPO’s) in the Jewish community. However, as a volunteer with the Obama for America campaign, I was inspired to learn more about the broader world of NPO’s. I began an online search for organizations that interested me. Through that search, I have learned about organizations I never dreamed existed. I have also learned that the nonprofit world is an overwhelming and complex web that is difficult at best to navigate. A simple search for an organization dealing with a particular issue leads to huge lists.

Early in my search, I came across If you have any interest in NPO’s, Idealist is a website that should not be missed. It provides a listing and description of an astounding number of nonprofit organizations around the world, has an extraordinarily large job search data base and has resource sections dedicated to nonprofit professionals, job seekers and volunteers. My one caveat is that the search functions for jobs, organizations or volunteer opportunities is not user friendly. It is easy to eliminate or include too many choices with minor search changes.

Now that I have at least an intermediate understanding of the NPO landscape, I am eager to share what I have learned with others. Therefore, I will devote each of my future posts to highlighting one NPO in the Chicago area. I will meet with staff at each organization to learn about the agency’s mission, goals, history and accomplishments as well as any other useful information. I am hoping that, in the process, readers will be inspired to learn more about these and other NPO’s, volunteer time or even transition into a career in the nonprofit world. If you have any thoughts about types of organizations you would like me to highlight, please send them my way at

Thanks for reading!