- Paperback: 270 pages
- Publisher: Kaplan Publishing; Original edition (May 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1419593412
- ISBN-13: 978-1419593413
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #729,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Change Your Career: Transitioning to the Nonprofit Sector Paperback – May 1, 2007
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About the Author
Laura Gassner Otting created the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group. Prior to forming the group, she served as the senior vice president of ExecSearches.com, the web's leading site for mid- to senior-level nonprofit job postings and search services. Laura has served as vice president at Isaacson, Miller, one of the largest search firms in New England, and one of the most highly respected non-profit executive search firms in the country. Previously, Laura served as a presidential appointee for the White House Office of National Service, a program officer for the Corporation for National Service and as a member of the Clinton/Gore Transition Team and 1992 Election Team. She holds a Masters in Political Management from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. Laura sits on the boards of Camp Starfish and Strong Women, Strong Girls, and has served as a member of the Alumni Board of the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University and as the founding board chair of the Boston Choral Ensemble. Laura teaches classes on working in the nonprofit sector at the Boston Learning Society.
Top customer reviews
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The tone is pitch perfect. There's no breathless fluff, no Dr. Phil, no "What Color is Your Parachute?" Gassner Otting knows her audience and treats them like the experienced professionals they are. The content is consistently meaty and extremely well-organized, and her observations are uniformly astute and insightful, never facile or cliched. Consider the following example:
"Nonprofits in transition tend to be three to seven years past their start-up mode. They are often on their second or even third executive director, and they have begun adding senior staff positions, like operations, finance, or administration directors.... Great opportunities exist for corporate career changes in these organizations, as long as you don't try to transition the organization too quickly."
"Founders can be enormously exciting to work for, especially when they are in their element... However, founder types in nonprofits in transition, at a steady and stable point, or in decline can be phenomenally destructive. As in the for-profit sector, the nonprofit sector recognizes 'founder's syndrome,' even if the founder doesn't. No founder wants to stay past their prime, but most simply don't see that it has passed. In fact, staff and board are often complicit in founder's syndrome, continuing to remain supportive in public even if they have begun snickering in private."
I was particularly impressed with the way Gassner Otting extracts patterns and grouped information in ways that are consistently useful to the reader. Examples include her descriptions of the types of nonprofits (including their personalities), nonprofit trends, nonprofit myths and stereotypes about private-sector expatriates, organizational life cycles, and analysis of job titles and org. charts. Her taxonomies and commentary are comprehensive and richly informative. Also, she provides a number of useful profiles of successful career changers, which, contrary to usual practice, don't sound like they were written for People magazine.
Her advice about job search strategies, networking, informational interviewing, and resumes and cover letters is far above average, with much more sophisticated examples of well-written communications. This is entirely appropriate for her intended audience of job seekers who already have successful careers behind them. She provides excellent advice about how to translate private-sector experience into the language of nonprofits. Her appendix of resources is both comprehensive and selective, including jobs boards by interest area, executive search firms servicing the nonprofit sector, and educational resources by state and online.
As Gassner Otting states, "even in the best of circumstances, job searches are long, arduous, and often lonely processes." I cannot imagine that any successful person thinking about transitioning into the nonprofit world would not benefit enormously from this truly outstanding and definitive text on the subject.
Firstly, it demystifies the non-profit world by categorizing and organizing it for the reader, explaining the many and non-obvious differences between family foundations, advocacy and service groups, founder-led, executive director-guided and board driven organizations. Nowhere is the modern non-profit sector better explained.
Secondly, it is fantastically useful to help business people understand how they and their business accomplishments will be viewed in the non-profit world. Included is advice on the small presentation "tweaks" can turn a hard-nosed business `achievement' into a `contribution' interesting to the non-profit ear. The reader is treated like an interested and intelligent being while being taught these basics. While consistent themes run throughout the book, you are not bludgeoned with the constant repetition characteristic of so many career books. A vast majority of the many examples and war stories are told positively and with clear lessons.
Worth keeping as a reference or passing on to the next one you meet facing the change, I am surprised that Amazon has the book available for resale, but encouraged that resale prices are so close to the new price.....this book is a bargain at twice the price.
The author includes nuanced information, including specifics about nonprofit language and lingo and how to identify the right type of nonprofit organization to match your personality. As a job search coach who helps people land their target jobs, I was very impressed with the level of detail in this book, and highly recommend it to anyone thinking of taking advantage of potential new hiring opportunities in the nonprofit sector.