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Are you thinking of leaving the business world to for a nonprofit career? How does your corporate experience translate to a nonprofit job?

Some occupations require no translation: administrative assistant, accountant, human relations manager. Others may seem less obviously transferable, like sales, marketing or business development. How are your skills relevant in the nonprofit sector?

Example: sales and business development jobs in nonprofits.

I did a search for jobs with the keyword “sales” on nonprofit job board, specifying “San Francisco Bay Area” as the location. I found 11 nonprofit jobs with “Sales” in the title, along with four “Business Development” titles. Beyond sales, consider fund development, which nonprofit folks generally just call “development.” Sales professionals are well suited to roles in this field. A development department will typically be involved in fundraising events and campaigns, memberships, prospect research, donor relations, and special programs such as a major gifts, planned giving (bequests) and capital campaigns.

People who can cultivate relationships and ask for money are in high demand in the nonprofit world. Your skills in selling the features of a product or service can definitely be transferred to selling the social value of a nonprofit’s services.

Marketing job opportunities are common in nonprofits, often with the word “Marketing” in the title.

You might think marketing and nonprofits don’t go together. Think again! A search turned up many local openings, such as Digital Marketing Officer, Director of Marketing and Communications, and  Marketing Coordinator.

What about titles in human resources, engineering, IT, materials management, and so on?

In some cases they’re the same, but sometimes different. Get ready to “speak the language” of nonprofit: take a look at this handy list of nonprofit job titles in various categories.

Steps to take for a successful corporate-to-nonprofit transition:

Research the possibilities by setting up advanced searches on Idealist, Indeed and LinkedIn. Read lots of job postings, even if you’re not ready to apply to them just yet. First decide on a career path and make a list of the job titles common to that area.
Create a nonprofit resume. Translate your corporate experience into the kind of language you’re seeing in the postings, so nonprofit recruiters can easily comprehend what you can do.
Update your LinkedIn profile. This can be tricky if your job search is in stealth mode, but it is possible to get plenty of the right keywords into your profile without making your boss suspicious. Depending on the job function, those might be terms like “fundraising,” “membership” or “board relations”–and of course, “nonprofit.”
Prove your commitment to the nonprofit path and gain nonprofit experience through volunteering (preferably skills-based volunteering). This is more important than you may think, and it provides great networking opportunities.
Improve your skills and make helpful contacts by taking nonprofit-related trainings and joining nonprofit professional associations.
Network, do informational interviews, and build connections to increase your likelihood of being referred for a position. Around three-quarters of all jobs are landed by a “known candidate,” including those who were referred by someone else. That’s even more true for a big transition, like a move from corporate to nonprofit.
Read my post, 5 Steps to a Successful Career Change for more tips.

Good luck with your transition to a rewarding nonprofit career!  (This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.)