January 31, 2010

How much is getting that great nonprofit job worth?

Filed under: Nonprofit, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — kgilnack @ 11:59 am

Maybe nonprofit jobs could pay a little higher, but how much is it worth to you to have an amazing resource like Idealist.org to help you find that nonprofit job?

Idealist.org has been a crucial tool in my nonprofit career, helping me find jobs with three nonprofits and an internship with a consultancy.  If you work in the third sector, I trust this is a tool you count on as well.

With a struggling economy, hiring has been on the decline for a while now, and with it, the revenues Idealist gets from employers has been on the decline too (see the message from Ami Dar below and Rosetta Thurman’s explanation on the challenges of funding infrastructure organizations for more on this).  As job seekers, we’ve been fortunate to have this tool for free, and when the economy’s back up, it will be Idealist that helps nonprofits find quality candidates and that nonprofit professionals use to find those nonprofits.  This should be reason enough for you to donate now.

But it’s also worth pointing out that Idealist is more than just the nonprofit job site, it endeavors to create a better world by promoting volunteerism, event opportunities, and ambitious more.

As someone who contributed, I will certainly be paying attention to see how they will diversify their funding, and I commend Ami Dar for being so forthright about the need for some serious work there.  I hope you will help keep them going in the meantime as well.

And whether you’re in a position to give now or not, please, get this message out to your communities, be them LinkedIn contacts, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, blog readers, or email contacts.

Dear Friend,

You know how sometimes in life you go through a bad moment, and when your friends hear about it later, they say, “Why didn’t you say something? Why didn’t you ask? We would have helped.”

That’s where Idealist is now, and I am writing to ask for your help.

Very briefly, here’s what happened. Over the past ten years, most of our funding has come from the small fees we charge organizations for posting their jobs on Idealist. By September 2008, after years of steady growth, these little drops were covering 70% of our budget.

Then, in October of that year, the financial crisis exploded, many organizations understandably froze their hiring, and from one week to the next our earned income was cut almost in half, leaving us with a hole of more than $100,000 each month.

That was 16 months ago, and since then we’ve survived on faith and fumes, by cutting expenses, and by getting a few large gifts from new and old friends. But now we are about to hit a wall, and this is why I am reaching out to you.

If over the past 15 years Idealist has helped you or a friend find a job, an internship or a volunteer opportunity; connect with a person, an idea or a resource; or just feel inspired for a moment, now we  need your help. I wouldn’t be asking,  and not like this, if this were not a critical time.

There are two ways you can help. First, if you can, please make a donation at: http://www.idealist.org/donate

Some people in this community are not in a position to contribute right now, so if you are, please give as generously as you can. Thank you!

Second, please spread the word about this appeal by sharing this message with friends and colleagues who may have benefited from Idealist over the years. Since 1995 Idealist has touched hundreds of thousands of lives. If in the next week or two we can reach everyone who’d give us a hand if they knew we are in trouble, I believe we’ll come out of this crisis even stronger than before.

I believe this because while this has been a tough stretch, I’ve never been more optimistic about the future. The content on Idealist has never been richer, our traffic is surging, we are building a whole new Idealist.org that will be released later this year, and the potential for connecting people, ideas, and resources around the world has never been more urgent or more exciting.

Your contribution will allow us to maintain all our services, and it will also give us some time to diversify our funding. Being able to breathe, recover, and plan ahead for a few months will be an incredible blessing.

Thanks so much for your support. Idealist has always been a community-driven site, and we can’t do this work without you.

Thank you!

Ami Dar
Executive Director

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