Benefits of Working for a Nonprofit

This past summer I moved to Santa Barbara and interned for a nonprofit called Dream Foundation. Dream Foundation is the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults who have been given a year or less life expectancy. The foundation fulfills dreams from lifelong dreams to basic need items, bedside reunions or meaningful experiences with loved ones.

dream foundation employees
Photo credit: Jen Basulto

At Dream Foundation, I was the communications intern and was given many responsibilities that varied from writing press releases, producing web content and pitching to the media. Of all the internships I have had over the years — and I have had many — this is hands down the most rewarding and beneficial work experience I have had thus far.

Nonprofits are sometimes overlooked because of the low pay that comes with working there, but it’s here where young professionals can gain the experience they need. “The fact is, nonprofits can offer fantastic opportunities for individuals who are willing to work hard to make the world a better place,” says Rebecca Andruszka, a writer for The Daily Muse, a website that offers career advice. Here are my top three reasons you should consider working or interning for a nonprofit.

1. The experience is a resume builder and you will expand your skills

Most nonprofits don’t have the funding needed to be able to hire all the employees they need. This means the staff and interns they have will have many responsibilities and a heavy workload. Many of the responsibilities aren’t specific to what your job title is and more often than not, cross over into different departments. This allows for more hands-on opportunities.

Photo credit: Jen Basulto

2. Expanding your network

Most nonprofits have a team of board members that is highly involved in the activities of the foundation and also have many corporations who sponsor, offer services or volunteer for the foundation. This is beneficial for both employees and interns because you will get the opportunity to network with these people who are of great importance to the foundation.

3. Meet talented and passionate people

People who work in nonprofits are some of the most amazing people you will ever get to meet. They are good at what they do and don’t do it just for the money. They truly work hard to make the world a better place and to bring happiness to those who need it most.

So the next time you’re searching for an internship or job, consider working for a nonprofit to gain valuable experience while making the world a better place.

Leadership Through Service

“Hey HOBY! What do we think of our volunteers?”


“Outstanding!” — emphasis on the capital “O” — is a commonly used phrase to describe the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation. The non-profit organization is an internationally recognized leadership foundation that targets high school sophomores. Founded in 1958 by actor Hugh O’Brian, its mission is to encourage the leadership potential of youth through local seminars facilitated by volunteers.

In 2004, I was given the opportunity to attend the Northern California seminar. At the time, I thought it would be a resume booster for college applications — nothing more. However, this experience largely shaped the person I am today.

HOBY is a unique experience. I would even call it magical. In just three days barriers are broken and lifelong friendships are formed. Ambassadors enter with the potential to be leaders, but learn how to utilize their personality traits to succeed as leaders through team building activities, motivational speakers and leadership through service.

Putting leadership training to good use by partnering with Sac Trees to add new life to a park.
Putting leadership training to good use by partnering with Sac Trees to add new life to a park.

One of the main tenets of HOBY is making a difference by serving your community. As college students, I feel like this is something that is easy to forget. We become so wrapped up in school work, friends and jobs that we forget to give back to the place we call home.

For nine years I have committed myself as a Northern California HOBY volunteer, hoping to enrich and engage the minds of young students. It’s exciting to see that spark ignite in their eyes as they learn how to reach their potential and I feel proud knowing I’m sending off a new batch of young leaders who may someday make a huge impact in the world. It’s a feeling that energizes me and brings me so much joy!

Working with youth is particularly gratifying because they can learn so much from your personal experiences. They’re still trying to figure out their paths in life and positive guidance from an adult can make a huge impact in their future choices. However, I learn just as much from them in return.

HOBY is my passion. I highly encourage college students to search for programs that involve mentorship because there is nothing more fulfilling than giving youth the opportunity to “empower, lead and excel” at life.

What’s your passion? I would love to hear from you about your volunteer experiences in the community.