Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mission-Driven Careers

I know of very few people in the nonprofit sector who are here "just for a job." The few that are don't rise high in the ranks, and don't usually stick it out for very long. Those of us who've made a career of the nonprofit sector do it as part of our personal mission.

Mission is what drives us to work long hours for below average wages and next to no benefits. Mission is what makes all of that bearable, and even inspiring. We may occasionally be tempted to look for greener pastures, but we always end up back on our missions.

Jobs for Change, a part of, is looking to inspire and recruit the next generation of nonprofit leaders - those looking for a mission-driven career. Here's a part of their Vision Statement: "We believe...
  • "People are the most important factor in advancing social change. To address the social and environmental problems we face, we need to attract a diverse range of people and the most promising leaders from across the country to work on issues both local and global in scope.

  • "To attract these people, we need to enhance the social sector's ability to recruit, develop, and retain talent. Too many people interested in a career in service do not end up or remain in the sector because of a range of obstacles that include misperceptions about work and compensation, insufficient information about how to take the first steps, or limited recruiting resources from budget-strapped organizations. We need to address these issues."
I've signed on to that vision statement and am pleased to put my name on the list of those who've been mission-driven in our careers, and who hope to inspire the next generation of nonprofit leaders.

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