Tips for Entering the International Non-profit Career Field

Posted on Mar 30, 2019 | 0 comments

Tips for Entering the International Non-profit Career Field

If your career goals have always included improving the world for those who live in it, you will likely find your niche in the nonprofit job sector. Working as part of a nonprofit organization, you will regularly support communities and populations in need, helping them to improve their quality of life. For nonprofit professionals seeking this type of service-oriented work, moving abroad may be the best option.


Seeking out work in the nonprofit field offers several benefits. Nonprofits are an excellent place for those who enjoy developing their skills in multiple professional roles to become more well-rounded, as most organizations are small enough to require employees to perform various tasks requiring different sets of skills, depending upon the organization’s need. Nonprofits are also a particularly good option for those looking to move abroad for work, as they often post job opportunities on job sites used in multiple countries.

Especially if you are just beginning your foray into the nonprofit world, the following are all important questions to ask when considering an international nonprofit career.


Where? When?

Pick the country or region in which you wish to work. There are many nonprofit organizations supporting communities around the world, so this will help you to narrow your job search to a reasonable size. Additionally, be sure to figure out the logistics you would most prefer, such as when you would be able to arrive to begin work, and until when you might stay. There are many programs associated with nonprofits that allow for a short-term professional arrangement, as well as job sites advertising available permanent positions.


Who? What?

Do extensive research on the specific field of nonprofit work that appeals to you the most. Once you have found several organizations that offer opportunities you are interested in, learn as much as you can about those organizations. Chances are, the more closely you are able to align your interests and goals with the organization’s mission, the more likely you will be to obtain work there.



Take stock of your assets. Friendships, skill sets, languages, professional relationships, mentors, education, ability to obtain a work visa, and financial resources can all play key roles in your ability to move abroad and obtain a job with a nonprofit. Try to anticipate any obstacles by asking the hardest questions you can think of prior to moving. This will help you find answers before you are put in a difficult position in your new home country. For example, what is the tax situation in the country in which you wish to work? How long does it typically take for expats to gain work visas?


Create a strict budget, and be sure that your living expenses, when totaled, do not exhaust it. Particularly when moving abroad, you must maintain a contingency budget for unforeseen costs and emergencies. Lastly, If you do not possess sufficient resources to obtain a paid job with the organization you have your eye on, and your budget will allow for it, consider the possibility of volunteering or interning first to gain experience and the organization’s trust.



Be sure that you have a goal in mind for working abroad – what do you wish to accomplish for yourself, for your career, and for the population you hope to serve? The answer to this may also help you determine what types of jobs you want the most.


Learn about how nonprofits work – where does their funding come from? What makes this nonprofit different from others with a similar mission? How is the structure and strategy for donor acquisition maintained? As with any industry, it is always smart to educate yourself about the field prior to submitting your application or attending your interview.


Nonprofits offer opportunities to do service-oriented work, and thus usually attract passionate people. Therefore, this kind of work may involve a bit more dedication and flexibility than typical private sector jobs. Prepare yourself for long hours, and frequent passionate debate on key issues your organization is addressing. In applying and interviewing for nonprofit work, it will be crucial to highlight skills like leadership, collaboration, accountability, and the ability to bring a team together behind a common set of ideas and goals.


Interested in moving your career to a new country?

Passport Career provides detailed career information and extensive resources about networking, finding an international job or internship, country-specific business protocol and culture, alternative career opportunities, writing country-specific resumes/CVs, cover letters and interview strategies for other countries. If your university/college, organization, company, embassy, library, or other institution would like access to our country portfolios and global career training program (50,000+ pages of expert content for 90+ countries and 275+ cities) to share with your students, employees, spouses/partners, and others managing a national or international career transition, please click here to contact us (or send email to: regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career. Individuals may also contact us for portal access and a demonstration.


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