Nonprofits & Social Justice


Nonprofits & Social Justice

Nearly 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the US generate almost $1.5 trillion in spending per year and employ about one in 10 American workers or 13.5 million people, making it the third largest labor force behind retail, trade and manufacturing. And, these are only the U.S. nonprofits. Usually defined by what it is not, the nonprofit sector definitely has a bottom line and focuses on utilizing every donation, grant dollar, and government funding wisely to achieve a mission that serves society. Careers in this sector, in many cases, parallel those in the for-profit sector and require the same professionalism, intensity in internship and job search strategy, and top-level skills and qualifications. Most amazing about the nonprofit sector is the breadth and variety of industries inside the sector:  Arts, culture, and humanities; Education and research; Environmental and animals; Health services; Human services; International and foreign affairs; Public and societal benefit; Religion; Mutual/Membership Benefit. 

Job Title Examples:

  • Finance and Administration Coordinator
  • Case Manager
  • Program Coordinator
  • Communications Associate
  • Donor Associate
  • Grant Writer
  • Community Outreach Coordinator

Skills Needed:

  • Teamwork
  • Organization
  • Self-Motivation
  • Communication

Find Opportunities


Using IrishCompass, LinkedIn, and ND’s alumni association directory called myND is the best way to start on the networking front. Building relationships and networking is a key factor when it comes to finding out about opportunities in this sector as well. Stay in touch with ND alumni groups in whatever city you’re pursuing a career in - most likely they will be willing to help you get connected and find potential opportunities.

Job Databases:

Leadership/ Service Programs:

Post Graduate Service Programs:


International Development:

Philanthropy & Foundations

Nonprofit Consulting

Social Entrepreneur 

Industry Timeline

Many nonprofit organizations do not attend career fairs or travel to college campuses, but they do have internships (rarely paid) and real, paid jobs. Employers in these fields may operate on a different schedule based on full-time and internship needs and usually recruit on a “just-in-time” basis. 

If you are seeking a summer opportunity or a post-grad position with a nonprofit organization that recruits at Notre Dame, you may be able to apply in early spring.   A number of post-grad service organizations have a strong connection with Notre Dame and will attend the post-grad service fair held in the early fall.  Their applications are frequently not due until the spring time. If you are seeking an internship with a nonprofit organization that doesn't come to campus, start looking at postings in January or February.  However many nonprofit internships  are not posted until March or even April.  If you are applying for a full-time opportunity with a nonprofit organization that does not recruit on campus,  applying 6 weeks to two months prior to the start date is the usual hiring time frame.  You may even find that you have to move to the location where it is you hope to find the nonprofit opportunity before your application will be taken seriously, unless it is nationally or internationally oriented.

Applying and Interviewing


 Nonprofit directors and recruiters want to see hard core skills in addition to a commitment to public and social concerns on your resume.  Even if you have not had experience with the exact organization to which you are applying, showing a connection with the mission, the topic,  types of programs offered, and/or serving the same kind of population can be extremely helpful.  For example if you are applying for a position in development  showcasing experience  planning  and organizing  a successful fundraising event would be important.  Showing  service and volunteer work alone is not enough.  You need to prove you have the kind of skill sets the organization is seeking for that position.

Your resume will often be the first impression for a potential employer.  You want to make sure that your resume is concise, direct, and specific. Ensure that your resume is tailored for the position and for the industry. Highlighting relevant coursework can demonstrate your fit for a particular position. Review our guide on resumes for more information on how to construct one.

Cover Letters

The cover letter for a nonprofit organization must include your interest and any experience you have with the organization's mission.  However, it is not sufficient to  only market your passion for the organization's mission. You must highlight hardcore experiences that showcase the skill sets required for the position.

A cover letter introduces you to a potential employer. Use the position description to make specific connections between your skills and experience and what the organization is looking for in a candidate. The cover letter should be concise and well-written—if a potential employer reads your cover letter and is intrigued, they will then read your resume. Your cover letter should not repeat your resume verbatim, but enhance it. Together the cover letter and resume can help land you an interview. Review our guide on cover letters for more information on how to construct one. 


Most interviews will contain a mixture of resume based questions (questions about your past experience) and behavioral based questions (your ability to handle prospective situations at work.  Most positions will begin with an interview that has a mix of these questions. Review our guide on common interview questions

Preparation is extremely important for interviews. Research the organization, programs and services, funding sources, population served, and the individuals with whom you will interview. This will not only help provide talking points but will show your knowledge and genuine interest in the position. Utilize our resources on how to best prepare yourself to excel in your interview with a nonprofit organization.

Online Resources



International Development:


Nonprofit Consulting

Social Entrepreneurship

Campus Resources

Career Counselor:

Schedule an Appointment

Student Clubs:

  • Operation Smile Student Organization
  • Student Nonprofit Consulting Organization
  • Student Coalition for Immigration Advocacy of Notre Dame
  • Students for Child-Oriented Policy
  • Habitat for Humanity, Notre Dame
  • Human Rights-ND
  • GlobeMed@ND
  • Exoneration Project, Notre Dame
  • Engineers Without Borders: University of Notre Dame
  • Foundation for Int'l Medical Relief of Children - Notre Dame
  • Catholic Relief Services Student Ambassador Chapter of Notre Dame
  • AMEC Hunger Fighter Networks at Notre Dame (AMFIND)
  • Boys and Girls Club Volunteers of Notre Dame
  • Camp Kesem
  • Community Alliance to Serve Hispanics 
  • Economic Justice Society
  • Global Medical Brigades
  • Global Public Health Brigades
  • International Development Research Council
  • International Human Rights Society
  • International Justice Mission Campus Chapter
  • Multicultural Peace Equality and Community

Employer Examples:

  • American Red Cross
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • San Diego Zoo
  • New York Public Library
  • Save the Children
  • Smithsonian Institute
  • Mercy Corps
  • United Way
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of America
  • Step Up for Students
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Feeding America
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Legal Aid Chicago

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  • Access to personalized job recommendations – This is based on major, career interests, and profile information such as skills and experiences. When students fill out their profile, they’ll be able to see jobs and internships that match their interests and skills.
  • Ability to schedule one–on-one counseling appointments  – Counseling appointments are able to be scheduled through Handshake and held virtually via Zoom. 
  • Ability to Interact with employers – Students can research contact information for local and national employers. Employers can also message students with opportunities and information.
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  • Search for and apply to open positions -  On Handshake, students can see jobs and internships posted specifically for them as well as employers actively recruiting from Notre Dame.