Take responsibility for a single department or store of a larger company.
From environmental education campaigns to domestic violence hotlines, programs don’t run themselves. Take a bunch of well-meaning volunteers and eager nonprofit staffers and you might get some great work done, but without a Nonprofit Program Manager, no one’s there to really make it an ongoing, effective, well-known program.
As a Nonprofit Program Manager, you do work that most people don’t even realize needs to be done. But that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not important. You may be responsible for things like maintaining relationships with schools where your tutoring program takes place; creating reports on community reactions to your human rights training workshops; or sourcing recycled materials for the flyers promoting your climate change conference. On the whole, as a Nonprofit Program Manager, you keep your program focused and on track, so every part and every person is moving towards the goal of improvement.
Being a Manager at a nonprofit organization is sometimes not unlike being a Business Manager: you’ll likely work with people, bureaucracy, and finances. But rather than focusing on the bottom line, you’ll be worried about making a positive impact. And rather than waiting for your big promotion from the boss you’ve barely met, you’ll probably already have your hand in various aspects of the organization and be joking with the executive over coffee.
You might have trouble explaining what you do to people you meet, since this isn’t a career that anyone ever learned about on Career Day; but when you do finally get your point across, they’ll be impressed with your rare dedication to something other than yourself.