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Reflections from CommonGood Careers event: two trends worth sharing

Blogpost by Caitlin Fisher, co-chair of EPIP Boston

A few weeks ago EPIP Boston hosted an exclusive member only event, entitled “Think Strategically About Your Career in Philanthropy” with Kevin Flynn, Vice President of Recruitment and Candidate Services at CommonGood Careers,a national recruiting firm specializing in nonprofit and philanthropic placements.Kevin’s insight in trends he’s seeing in the philanthropic sector provided tailored advice to attendees, with one EPIP member commenting that it “was the most useful career session I’ve ever attended.” I found two trends particularly relevant to my current career trajectory, which I detail below.

Expertise

More and more jobs in the philanthropic sector are interested in hiring someone who has a specific area of expertise. Kevin’s advice was to carve out your niche and dig in deeper on a topic or skill in which you excel and that energizes you. Upon reflection, I came to realize that network theory and how networks function are topics that resonate with me. Managing a fellowship program at Hunt Alternatives and being involved with EPIP has allowed me to see the value of relationships and the beauty in mutually beneficial introductions and collaborations. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing two people hit it off and develop a relationship—whether it leads to finding a new job or problem solving together.

Converging of Sectors

The nonprofit sector no longer owns social good. According to Kevin, sectors are converging and thinking more about their impact on communities and social change, including big corporations, banks, academic institutions, and independently owned businesses. This led me to an EPIPhany (pun intended), I no longer have to limit myself to the nonprofit sector in order to “do good in the world.” For years in response to the standard introductory question “What do you do?” I would explain that I “work in the nonprofit sector,” which lead to the reply, “That’s awesome, you must feel good working for a mission but I bet you don’t make any money.” I found myself annoyed at this lack of understanding of the sector. I enjoy the work that’s larger than making widgets and don’t classify myself as making no money. Organizations with a double bottom line are on the rise—ones that can achieve social good AND allow their employees to make a decent living. For those who have further interest in exploring this trend, I suggest checking out the book Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money, and Community in a Changing World by Dev Aujla and Billy Parish, which provides the millennial generation with practical answers about how to succeed and make positive change in the world.

In an effort to continue this conversation I encourage those who are interested in philanthropic trends to join one of the two EPIPhany groups advertised in our latest newsletter.

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