Podcast: Is nonprofit management the grad degree for you?

By Amy Potthast.

Right this minute, our Idealist Grad Fair season is kicking off in New York City. To celebrate, we’ve got a fresh podcast for you: a look at nonprofit management programs through the eyes of three friendly admissions counselors. The podcast comes in three bite-sized installments. Click here to learn more and listen.


With a plethora of graduate disciplines available to you—MBA, MPA, Social Work—you may be wondering, why might I go for a specialized degree in nonprofit management?

We hope this show might help answer this question. Topics include:

Special thanks to our panelists:

Edward Grice is the Associate Dean of the MBA program in nonprofit management at the American Jewish University. Chris Nicholson is the Director of Graduate Admissions at North Park University in Chicago, home of the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management. And Rebecca Zirm is the Director of Recruitment at the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organization and Case Western Reserve University.

Links to learn more:

If you listen to the podcast, I’d love to hear what you think!

Amy Potthast served as Idealist’s Director of Service and Graduate Education Programs until 2011. Read more of her work at amypotthast.com.

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Podcast: Lara Galinsky of Echoing Green, "Heart + head = hustle"

featuredBy Amy Potthast.

This week, Lara Galinsky, Senior Vice President of Echoing Green, is launching an inspiring career guide for social impact work called Work on Purpose.

We interviewed Lara about her new book. Click here to listen now!

Each chapter of Work on Purpose asks key questions for career seekers; illustrates the impact of these questions in the lives of Echoing Green community members; and offers a place for notes at the end for you to jot reflections from your own life.

In this episode of the Idealist Careers Podcast, Idealist’s Amy Potthast chats with Lara Galinsky about the central message of Work on Purpose: finding work that uses your “Heart + Head = Hustle.”

Click here to listen:

p.s. In the podcast, Lara shares the stories of the five people who illustrate this message:

  • Cheryl Dorsey, President of Echoing Green, who graduated from medical school and Kennedy School of Government, and chose social-justice over medicine.
  • Mark Hannis, founder of the Genocide Intervention Network and the child of Holocaust survivors, who discovered as a college student that genocide still occurs, and that he could mobilize action to end it.
  • Mardie Oakes, founder of Hallmark Community Solutions, combined her background in architecture, community housing, and finance to develop housing for people with special needs.
  • Socheata Poeuv, creator of the film project Khmer Legacies, which documents interviews between Khmer Rouge survivors and their adult children.
  • Andrew Youn, Founder of the One Acre Fund, who started out in a corporate consulting job but later used his business skills to develop a market system for farmers in a region of Kenya to prevent annual famines.

Click here to learn more about Work on Purpose.

Amy Potthast served as Idealist’s Director of Service and Graduate Education Programs until 2011. Read more of her work at amypotthast.com.

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Podcast: Shirley Sagawa, volunteerism visionary


Shirley Sagawa, left, spoke with Amy Potthast, right.

Want to hear insight from the “founding mother of the modern service movement”? You’re in luck: our newest podcast is up now!

For National Volunteer Week, Amy Potthast interviewed Shirley Sagawa, author of The American Way to Change: How National Service and Volunteers and Transforming America. During the first Clinton administration, Shirley drafted the legislation that created AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National Service.

In his 1995 book, How a Bill Becomes a Law, Steve Waldman compared national service—full-time stipended volunteering like AmeriCorps and VISTA—to a Swiss Army Knife, “performing numerous useful functions in one affordable package.” In today’s show, Shirley revisits the Swiss Army Knife analogy with some timely new insights that she also shares in her book.

Click here to learn more and listen to the podcast.

Kudos to our host, Amy Potthast, and to our intern Tim Johnson for his help with podcast production!

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Career Corner Podcast: Nonprofit Careers Q&A with Meg Busse

Posted by Meg Busse, who is not a fan of her recorded voice.

Any of these questions sound familiar?

  • I hate networking but I hear it’s essential to get a nonprofit job. Where should I start?
  • How can I get an employer to see my value if I don’t have a lot of work experience?
  • Should I follow up to see the status of my job application if I haven’t heard back?
  • I’m thinking about starting my own nonprofit. Any suggestions?
  • Where are all the jobs?!?

Have you asked any of these questions? Had people ask you about these topics? If so, check out this week’s Career Corner podcast.

My colleague Jung interviewed me to get some answers to ten of the most common questions I hear from folks who are looking for a nonprofit job these days.

And while listening to this podcast will not offer up any golden tickets to finding your ideal job, hopefully you’ll hear at least one new tip that will help you in your search. Or perhaps you’ll listen and get confirmation that you’re doing everything right. Sometimes that reassurance is as much needed in the job search as more advice.

As always, leave a comment if you’ve got thoughts to add, examples to provide, or exceptions to offer up.

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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Career Corner Podcast: Transitioning into a Nonprofit Career

By Steven Joiner, one of the Directors of the Career Transitions program.

Our Career Transitions team has the pleasure of attending lots of events, giving presentations, and otherwise conversing with professionals looking for meaningful work in the nonprofit sector. Everyone’s experiences are unique, but I do get plenty of frequently-asked questions. I recently sat down with my colleague Jung Fitzpatrick to discuss some of the common answers I often share with experienced professionals ‘sector switching’ into the nonprofit world.

Here are the seven questions we cover in the podcast.

  • What are the job prospects for a senior level sector switcher? Would I need to start at a lower level and work up?
  • I want an upper-level management/leadership role. Where are those jobs?
  • I have [insert exhaustive list of impressive skills] from decades of work in [insert industry]. Why can’t nonprofits see this? or How do I make myself stand-out from the 100’s of resumes organizations may receive for a given position particularly if I don’t have paid experience in the non-profit sector?
  • Generally, for-profit positions earn more money than nonprofit positions. Are non-profits less likely to consider candidates with for-profit experience because they expect that the candidate would have to take a significant paycut and therefore not really consider the position?
  • What may be some red flags in my resume or cover letter if I’m coming from the for-profit sector? How do I address those?
  • What kind of further education (certificate courses, community workshops) can help me improve my candidacy for nonprofit work?
  • Is there any other advice or resources that may be helpful to for-profit professionals hoping to transition into nonprofits?

Click here to listen to the podcast, and make sure to check out “The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for Sector Switchers” for more in-depth information about finding work in the nonprofit sector.

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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