In the DC area, nonprofit organizations cover a field as varied as the students that come into our office. Think tanks, policy, research and advocacy organizations are incredibly popular among our students, and have opportunities for almost any policy interest or professional skill set. If you have an issue you are passionate about, chances are you will find a local nonprofit or advocacy organization that also shares your views. At Georgetown, nonprofit opportunities also include post-graduation service opportunities, which are also incredibly popular with the student body.
A number of options exist for students interested in a career in nonprofits. Determining which organization is best for you requires research and exploration. Some popular sites to help you explore the multifaceted world of nonprofits include:
- American University’s Directory of DC-Area Nonprofit Organizations – Links to popular DC-based organizations based on area of interest
- Careers in Non-Profits – A temp agency and website that helps you find jobs in the nonprofit sector. They also hold free workshops and networking events.
- The Center for Social Justice’s Post-Graduate Opportunities Fair and Series – Held every fall semester, this series provides Hoyas the chance to learn more about opportunities for service organizations after graduation.
- Idealist – A go-to job board aimed at connecting “people who want to do good with opportunities for action and collaboration.”
- Interested?? – Bi-weekly(ish) curated newsletter for people interested in social justice-minded jobs in nonprofits, government, philanthropy and everything else
- LinkTank – LinkTank produces a weekly newsletter about think tank conversations and other policy events in the DC area. Visit their site to subscribe.
- National Institute for Research Advancement – NIRA compiles information on think tanks and the information is searchable by country.
- The Think Tanks & Civil Society Program
Researches role of policy institutes on governments and civil societies around the world. They produce the annual Think Tank Index and maintain a database and directory of think tanks.
- U.S. State Department Think Tanks Listing
The State Department maintains a list of reputable think tanks working in the international affairs arena.
Attend employer information sessions, industry events – on and off-campus, and connect with the local chapter of popular professional organizations. If the cost of membership is prohibitive, contact leadership and ask if there are sliding scale prices for students. Volunteering for a conference, educational, or social event is another great way to connect with leaders in the industry.
Develop a LinkedIn profile that communicates your personal and professional brand. Joining groups related to your industry is a great way to meet new people, find mentors, contacts, and ask questions. Reach out to alumni through Hoya Gateway, Georgetown University’s “career insights” page on LinkedIn, and via Georgetown University’s Alumni Career Network. The Cawley website provides helpful guidelines on networking and LinkedIn shares how to build your LinkedIn student profile (PDF).
Your resume should be one page. Use strong action verbs and focus on your skills and accomplishments to show (not just tell) an employer that you have the required abilities. Be concise. Be energetic, intelligent and aware when writing cover letters. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and abilities. Much like careers in government, a connection to the mission and purpose of a non-profit organization is often as important as the individual skills and talents you bring to the team. The purpose of a cover letter is to convince someone to interview you. For more on cover letters and resumes, see our cover letter and resume section on our website.
Internships enable you to gain valuable professional experience prior to graduation. If you are having a difficult time finding a full-time job after graduation you may also want to consider a post-graduation internship or fellowship, which is quite common in these industries, and often leads to full-time employment.
Select Employers and Internships
- Jesuit Volunteer Corps
- Franciscan Mission International
- Lead for America
- Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG)
- Center for Strategic and International Studies
- The Brookings Institute
- The Partnership for Public Service
- American Enterprise Institute
- The Heritage Foundation
- American Institutes for Research (AIR)
- Atlantic Council of the United States
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- Cato Institute
- Center for American Progress
- Center for Naval Analysis
- Council on Foreign Relations
- Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) — Founded in 2006, ITIF is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate, evaluate, and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress.
- The Urban Institute
Advocacy, Associations, and Lobbying Organizations:
- Amnesty International
- Equal Rights Initiative
- Chamber of Commerce
- Rotary International
- Environmental Defense Fund
- The Nature Conservancy
- Sierra Club
- National Audubon Society
- World Vision
- World Wildlife Fund
- Catholic Charities
- Catholic Relief Services
- Rotary Foundation
- Federation for American Immigration Reform
- Human Rights Watch
- Focus on the Family
- International Rescue Commission
Joining a club at your school is another excellent way to learn more about the industry, develop your skills, and get hands-on experience. Georgetown offers a number of opportunities for Hoyas to get involved. Alpha Phi Omega and Alternative Breaks Program are just two examples.
Join a group based on a personal interest and develop your professional skills, or to see if you enjoy being in a classroom. For example, the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service has a number of partnerships with nonprofit organizations throughout the DC area that enable you to have experience in a cause you can support.