The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Monday, April 14, 2014, 1:00 a.m.
In Our View/Encouraging the next generation


The difference of nonprofits

In 2003, a 25-year-old named Clint Borgen decided to become a lobbyist for the world's poor. His plan was to pressure Congress to increase foreign aid to developing countries, with the ultimate goal of ending global poverty. He launched a nonprofit, The Borgen Project, which he funded by working on a fishing boat in Alaska.
Eleven years later, The Borgen Project is now a nationwide campaign with serious sway. Headquartered in Seattle, it has 350 interns in 220 cities and a Board of Directors featuring Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash). And yet, despite its influence, The Borgen Project can only afford five paid staffers, three of whom are part-time. Borgen himself didn't make a cent from the organization until January of this year, surviving off of odd jobs and temp work for the past decade.
When thousands of Washington's college graduates start looking for work this spring, places like The Borgen Project won't be able to pay them the same wages as Amazon, Microsoft or Boeing. Sometimes they won't be able to pay them at all. Still, we should encourage college graduates to work at these small nonprofits, because the best minds should be taking on the globe's gravest issues.
From eradicating diseases to cleaning water supplies to empowering oppressed women, nonprofits work for high stakes under tight deadlines with insufficient resources.
For some, working at a nonprofit will be an entry-level career with a less-than-desirable wage. For others, it will be an unpaid internship. In either case, it will be fulfilling, important, meaningful work. Connections will be made and a great deal will be learned.
Many college graduates scoff at the idea of working for low-paying nonprofits. They believe their degrees entitle them to make good money, which is probably true. But the nonprofit sector is, by design, starved for cash. Places like The Borgen Project have unpaid interns out of necessity, not greed, and the young innovators who work there aren't being taken advantage of, they're making sacrifices for what they believe in.
When it's possible for these nonprofits to boost wages via increasing overhead, we should encourage them to. America's top charity evaluators say investing in overhead is crucial to improving nonprofit performance. That includes paying employees more.
For the upcoming class of graduating seniors, the thought of working at a small nonprofit might be intimidating. But this is a generation that more than any before it claims to believe in the progressive values that nonprofits embody. If it won't step up and take on the world's worst problems, who will?

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we wonít ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

HeraldNet highlights

Nothing but corn
Nothing but corn: Everett Mall business grew from a kernel of an idea
History at every turn
History at every turn: Website finds stories behind county's historic corners
Cold-weather playtime
Cold-weather playtime: Beyond skis & snowboards: 11 ways to have fun in winter
The real bottom line
The real bottom line: Millions spent in Oso, but generosity can't be measured
SnoCoSocial