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Techie Seeks Non-profit Job: How to Be a Big, Misunderstood Fish in a Small Pond

Trends in social entrepreneurship and skills-based volunteering, inspired by boomers who want more from work than wages and worry, are motivating greater numbers of corporate employees - even techies - to consider careers in the non-profit sector.

If you’re a techie who has bravely tuned into your wild inner longing for social change, no longer satisfied in hunting down bugs for dollars, you may be tempted to follow the scent to freedom. But making the transition from corporate to charity can be a rough one - akin to stepping back in time 20 years.

Trackball mice, Windows ME and After Dark

Most not-for-profit organizations operate primarily on funds from grants, foundations, and contributions from corporations or individuals Because of this, even if millions of dollars pour in, spending priorities are different. A charity that helps sick children is going to place services that directly help sick children as a higher priority than upgrading Windows on workstations or developing an Intranet to increase efficiency.

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Written for BrainTrack External link as a guest post for TechRepublic's Career Management Blog External link

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Note: There were 61 comments made in response to this article, and 19 votes. This article was #8 in the top 10 TechRepublic discussion threads for the last two weeks of 2010:

"Really enjoyed the article and sent it to some of the staff at the Dayton (Ohio) / Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, where I have volunteered for over 10 years. The Chapter cannot afford a full-time technical person but your article gave insights to the "other side" as they have a paid person they use part-time and we have had some volunteers assist as well." John Sullivan, who also has written for TechRepublic

"Excellently described and the first 3 parts also describe my experiences with for profit enterprises." - kwickset@...

"This conversation is very important to me since I'll be retiring next July from IT work at Wright-Patterson AFB and am looking to volunteer for non-profits. I admit to some trepidation anticipating this adventure. Ellen's cautions hit the mark: I intend to get involved with the entire work of the charity (the mission and even the messy politics!) and offer to do IT where the opportunity arises." - william.sibbing@...

"Great article! And exactly on target for every non-profit I have ever worked for....EXCEPT Hillsborough Kids!" - Pamela Norris

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