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SFU Co-op Student

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A youth sports club
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Alliance Football Club on Unsplash
...[T]he experience helped me grow not only professionally but personally by teaching me to be more self-sufficient, get out of my comfort zone, and build self-confidence

Ever wondered what working for a non-profit is like? I worked at a small non-profit organization that was dedicated to youth sports during my 4-month co-op term, where I collaborated with a small team of three. Although no two non-profits are the same, this article will give you a brief overview of some pros and cons to consider before jumping into a position at one!

Pros:

1. Your Work is Valued

When working in a small team as opposed to a large company, the work you produce has a direct impact on the success and progression of the organization. Your work is valued and appreciated, helping you to push yourself to create awesome projects you are proud of.

2. You Get a Stake in Company Decisions

Your ideas, opinions and input are often valued and contribute to the direction of the overall organization. It may seem like a lot of pressure at first, but it's a great learning experience to push beyond your comfort zone.

3. You Get to Work Within a Close-Knit Team

There are pros and cons to working in such a small team, but a big pro is that it can be a great experience to really get to know each team member through collaboration. It is a chance to build strong relationships with your co-workers. 

Cons:

1. There can be a Large Workload

While this can be a positive, at times the constant heavy workload can feel a bit overwhelming. Since you are working in a small team, you often have to take on various roles and wear many hats. This is great because you get varying experiences, but on the other hand, it can feel a bit much to be working on many projects at once. The key is personal efficiency and prioritizing tasks.

2. There are Many Moving Parts

Similarly to a heavy workload, there are many moving parts while working in a small team. Larger companies have different departments that focus on different projects. In a small non-profit there may not be separate departments, therefore it can be tough juggling and managing all the different aspects of projects that would be delegated to different teams in a larger company.

3. The Pay May Not be Great

This may come as no surprise, as non-profits are just that: a “non-profit”. Usually there isn't a lot of money to be thrown around when trying to aid a good cause. It is important to consider whether you are okay with a lower wage while working towards a good cause. I suggest that if you do consider a non-profit, that it be an organization you feel connected to, and can feel motivated by their mission.

Overall, my personal experience working for a small non-profit had its ups and downs, but the experience helped me grow not only professionally but personally by teaching me to be more self-sufficient, get out of my comfort zone, and build self-confidence.

Beyond the Blog

SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Marissa on LinkedIn

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