Advocacy, Grantmaking, and Civic Organizations
Goods and services. Advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations in the United States are distinct and, at some point, affect everyones life. In every State these types of organizations are working to better their communities by directly addressing issues of public concern through service, independent action, or civic engagement. These organizations span the political spectrum of ideas and encompass every aspect of human endeavor, from symphonies to little leagues, and from homeless shelters and day care centers to natural resource conservation advocates. These organizations are collectively called nonprofits, a name that is used to describe institutions and organizations that are neither government nor business. Other names often used include the not-for-profit sector, the third sector, the independent sector, the philanthropic sector, the voluntary sector, or the social sector. Outside the United States, these organizations often are called nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) or civil society organizations.
These other names emphasize the characteristics that distinguish advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations from businesses and government. Unlike businesses, these organizations do not exist to make money for owners or investors, but that doesn't mean that they cannot charge fees or sell products that generate revenue, or that revenue must not exceed expenses. Instead, these groups are dedicated to a specific mission that enhances the social fabric of society. Unlike government, these organizations are not able to mandate changes through legislation or regulations enforceable by law. Instead, they work toward the mission of their organization by relying on a small group of paid staff and voluntary service and financial support by large numbers of their members or the public. This industry includes four main segments: business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations; civic and social organizations; social advocacy organizations; and grantmaking and giving services. (Religious organizations, which also have legal status as nonprofits, are not included this section of the Career Guide.)
Industry organization. Business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations comprised about one-half of the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry establishments in 2006 (table 1). Business associations are primarily engaged in promoting the business interests of their members. They include organizations such as chambers of commerce, real estate boards, and manufacturers and trade associations. They may conduct research on new products and services; develop market statistics; sponsor quality and certification standards; lobby public officials; or publish newsletters, books, or periodicals for distribution to their members. Professional organizations seek to advance the interests of their members and their profession as a whole. Examples of professional associations are health professional and bar associations. Labor organizations promote the interests of the labor union members they represent by negotiating improvement in wages, benefits, and working conditions. They persuade workers to become members of a union and then seek to win the right to represent them in collective bargaining with their employer. Political organizations promote the interests of national, State, or local political parties and their candidates for elected public positions. Included are political groups organized to raise funds for a political party or individual candidates, such as political action committees (PACs). A variety of other similar organizations also are included in this segment of the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry. They include athletic associations that regulate or administer various sports leagues, conferences, or even entire sports at the amateur or professional level. Also included in this segment are condominium and homeowners associations, property owners associations, and tenant associations.
More than one-fourth of the establishments in the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry are associated with civic and social organizations engaged in promoting the civic and social interests of their members. These organizations include alumni associations, automobile clubs, booster clubs, youth scouting organizations, and parent-teacher associations. This segment also includes social clubs, fraternal lodges, ethnic associations, and veterans membership organizations, some of which may operate bars and restaurants for their members.
Social advocacy organizations, which comprise 14 percent of advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organization establishments, promote a particular cause or work for the realization of a specific social or political goal to benefit either a broad segment of the population or a specific constituency. They often solicit contributions and offer memberships to support their activities. There are three types of social advocacy organizations: human rights organizations; environment, conservation, and wildlife organizations; and all other social advocacy organizations. Human rights organizations address issues, such as protecting and promoting the broad constitutional rights and civil liberties of individuals and those suffering from neglect, abuse, or exploitation. They also may promote the interests of specific groups, such as children, women, senior citizens, or persons with disabilities; work to improve relations between racial, ethnic, and cultural groups; or promote voter education and registration. Environment, conservation, and wildlife organizations promote the preservation and protection of the environment and wildlife. They address issues such as clean air and water; conserving and developing natural resources, including land, plant, water, and energy resources; and protecting and preserving wildlife and endangered species. Other social advocacy organizations address issues such as peace and international understanding; organize and encourage community action; or advance social causes, such as firearms safety, drunk driving prevention, and drug abuse awareness.
Grantmaking and giving services comprised about 10 percent of advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations establishments and include grantmaking foundations, voluntary health organizations, and establishments primarily engaged in raising funds for a wide range of social welfare activities, such as health, educational, scientific, and cultural activities. Grantmaking foundations, also called charitable trusts, award grants from trust funds based on a competitive selection process or on the preferences of the foundation managers and grantors; some fund a single entity, such as a museum or university. There are two types of grantmaking foundations: private foundations and public foundations. Most of the funds of a private foundation come from one sourcean individual, a family, or a corporation. Public foundations, in contrast, normally receive their funds from multiple sources, which may include private foundations, individuals, government agencies, and fees for services. Moreover, public foundations must continue to seek money from diverse sources in order to retain their public status. Voluntary health organizations are primarily engaged in raising funds for health-related research, such as the development of new treatments for diseases like cancer or heart disease, disease awareness and prevention, or health education.
Recent developments. Advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations receive the revenue that makes possible their operations from a variety of sources. Some organizations receive most of their funds from private contributions. Many organizations have experienced an increase in donors, stemming partially from more favorable treatment of donations by tax laws. Also, estates of many members of the Depression generation (those born during the 1920s and 1930s) have donated large sums to these organizations. However, many advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizationssuch as nonprofit hospitals and universitiesgenerate revenue by charging fees for the services they provide, earning interest on investments, or producing and selling goods.
The formation of joint ventures or partnerships between advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations and corporations also has risen. The last few years also have seen a rise in three-sector partnerships formed between an advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organization, a corporation, and a government agency. These partnerships have ensured a steady flow of income to the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry and increased public awareness of these organizations and the importance of their missions. On the corporate side, partnerships help sell corporate products, enhance the civic image of the corporation, and allow corporations to provide additional revenue to advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations, which have traditionally relied on simple donations.
New information technology also is increasing the capacity of advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations to advocate their causes and to raise funds. Interactive Web sites, e-mail and electronic philanthropy, and electronically generated databases have transformed the way these organizations communicate with the public, grantmakers, and donors. These advancements have reduced the costs of gathering constituents and connecting to policymakers and allies. These technological advancements also have changed the way charitable organizations interact with government and its agencies as they continue to use "e-services" in order to remain efficient. For advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations, these advances provide an opportunity to reduce their paperwork, increase their efficiency in responding to regulatory demands, and improve their organizational capabilities. The Internet will continue to change the way these organizations collect and report data, and lead to greater consolidation of Federal and State regulatory demands on the industry.
Hours. In 2006, about three-fourths of the workers in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations worked full time; the remainder worked part-time or variable schedules.
Work environment. Most workers spend the majority of their time in offices functioning in a team environment, often working with volunteers. The work environment may differ depending on the size of the organization. For those who work in small organizations, the equipment is sometimes outdated and their workspace cramped. But, in larger, well-funded organizations, conditions are very similar to those in most business offices. The work environment generally is positiveworkers know that their work helps people and improves their communities.
Top executives and workers responsible for fundraising may travel frequently to meet with supporters and potential donors, often in evenings and on weekends. Fundraising can be highly stressful because the financial health of the organization depends on being successful. Workers employed in the delivery of social services also work in very stressful environments because many of their clients are struggling with a wide range of problems related to child care, child welfare, juvenile justice, addiction, health, unemployment, and inadequate workforce skills.
Work in the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry is rarely hazardous. In 2006, the industry had only 2.7 injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers, compared with an average of 4.4 throughout private industry.
Advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations had 1.2 million wage and salary jobs in 2006. About 74 percent of them were in civic and social organizations or professional and similar organizations.
Advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations establishments are found throughout the nation, but the greatest numbers of jobs are found in California and New York, the States with the greatest population. Most establishments in this industry are small (chart). The vast majority of jobs are in establishments that employ fewer than 5 people.
Advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations employ many different types of workers, but 75 percent of the jobs are in management, business, and financial occupations; service occupations; or office and administrative support occupations (table 2).
Management, business, and financial occupations. Chief executives in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations formulate policies and direct daily operations. In publicly held and nonprofit corporations, the board of directors ultimately is accountable for the success or failure of the enterprise, and the chief executive officer reports to the board. Chief executives perform a variety of duties depending the size of their association and how it is organized. In a larger association, they may direct a number of operations specialty managers, each of whom is responsible for part of the organizations operations. In a small association, executives are likely to direct many or all of these functions themselves and be required to wear many hats at one time. The most common type of operations specialty managers in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations is social and community service managers, who plan, organize, or coordinate the activities of a social service program or community outreach organization. They oversee the program or organizations budget and polices regarding participant involvement, program requirements, and benefits. Work may involve directing social workers, counselors, or probation officers. Larger organizations employ a variety of business and financial operations specialists. For example, accountants and auditors handle the financial affairs of an association. They also prepare financial statements, records, and reports. Accountants also contribute to fundraising efforts by figuring the costs of new programs and including those estimates in grant proposals. Larger organizations also may have human resources, training, and labor relations specialists.
Professional and related occupations. Among professional specialty occupations that play an important role in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations, public relations specialists handle functions such as media, community, consumer, and governmental relations; political campaigns; interest-group representation; conflict mediation; or employee and investor relations. They prepare press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many public relations specialists go on to specialize in fundraising, sometimes having the title director of development. Fundraisers find the money and other gifts needed to keep an organizations operations operating by asking for large gifts from individual donors, soliciting bequests, hosting special events, applying for grants, and launching phone and letter appeals. In small organizations, the director of development does all these things; in large ones, fundraisers specialize. Social and human service assistants provide direct and indirect client services to ensure that individuals in their care reach their maximum level of functioning. They assess clients needs, establish their eligibility for benefits, and help them obtain services such as food stamps, Medicaid, or welfare.
Many advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations play an important role in education. Self-enrichment education teachers teach courses that students take for pleasure or personal enrichment; these classes usually are not intended to lead to a particular degree or vocation. Self-enrichment teachers may instruct children or adults in a wide variety of areas, such as cooking, dancing, creative writing, photography, or personal finance. If working for an association, for example, educators will be expected to possess strong management skills, exceptional people skills, event planning knowledge, extensive marketing talents, and an ability to work effectively with volunteers. Teacher assistants provide instructional and clerical support for classroom teachers, allowing teachers more time for lesson planning and teaching.
Service occupations. Among service occupations, recreation workers and fitness trainers and aerobics instructors plan, organize, and direct leisure and athletic activities, such as aerobics, arts and crafts, the performing arts, camping, and sports. Many work at playgrounds and recreation areas, community centers, health clubs, and fitness centers run by advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations. Waiters and waitresses take customers orders, serve food and beverages, prepare itemized checks, and sometimes accept payment at food service facilities. Janitors and cleaners clean floors, shampoo rugs, wash walls and glass, and remove rubbish. They may fix leaky faucets, empty trash cans, do painting and carpentry, replenish bathroom supplies, mow lawns, and see that heating and air-conditioning equipment works properly. While janitors typically perform a range of duties, cleaners tend to work for organizations that specialize in one type of cleaning activity, such as washing windows. Security guards patrol and inspect property to protect against fire, theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity. They protect their employers investment, enforce laws on the property, and deter criminal activity or other problems. Security guards may be required to write comprehensive reports outlining their observations and activities during their assigned shift. They also may interview witnesses or victims, prepare case reports, and testify in court.
Office and administrative support occupations. The larger the organization, the more administrative support occupations it needs. Advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations also employ bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, receptionists and information clerks, executive secretaries and administrative assistants, office clerks, and first-line supervisors/managers of office and administrative support workers commonly found in most business organizations.
Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations. Many advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations have buildings and other facilities, vehicles, and equipment that must be kept in good working order. Maintenance and repair workers maintain heating, air-conditioning, and ventilation systems; service and repair vehicles and outdoor power equipment; and restore residential facilities, including senior center and low income housing units.
The types of jobs and skills required for advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations vary with the type and size of the organization. But all organizations need individuals with strong communication and fundraising skills, because they must constantly mobilize public support for their activities. Creativity and initiative are important as many workers are responsible for a wide range of activities, such as creating new events designed to communicate and sell an organizations goals and objectives. Basic knowledge about accounting, finance, management, information systems, advertising, and marketing provide an important advantage for those trying to enter the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry. In some cases, a second language may be needed for jobs that involve international activities. The highly competitive industry also needs individuals who have adequate technical skills to efficiently operate and maintain their computer systems.
There are many ways that a person can enter the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry. One way to prepare for a job is to gain experience as a volunteer. Volunteering allows a person to try out an organization to see if he or she likes it, to make good contacts in the industry, and to demonstrate a commitment to a cause. Volunteer work can be found through career and guidance counselors at high schools and colleges, as they often maintain a database of opportunities. County libraries and governments often have lists of opportunities as well. Many local schools and community groups also can identify organizations that need volunteers. The Internet is another good way to find volunteer openings. Paid work also can prepare job seekers for advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations. Many professionals in the industry began their careers in for-profit business. Many organizations need marketing or technological expertise and often hire someone from the for-profit sector-especially if that person has volunteer experience.
As of 2006, more than 250 colleges and universities offered courses on the management of nonprofit organizations. In addition, about 70 programs offered noncredit courses in fundraising and nonprofit management and more than 50 programs offered continuing education courses. About 119 schools offered at least one course for undergraduate credit and more than 90 were affiliated with American Humanics (an alliance of colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations preparing undergraduates for careers with youth and human service agencies).
In 2006, there were more than 90 masters degree programs, usually in business administration or in public administration, with a focus on nonprofit or philanthropic studies. About 160 colleges and universities had at least one course related to management of nonprofits within a graduate department. Of these programs, more than 110 offered a graduate degree with a concentration in the management of nonprofit organizations and about 40 offered one or two graduate courses, usually in financial management and generic nonprofit management.
Management, business, and financial occupations. The formal education and experience of chief executives or executive directors varies as widely as the nature of their responsibilities. There are many ways to prepare for the job of running an advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organization. Most paid executive directors in large organizations have graduate degrees, often in business or public administration, some specifically in nonprofit management. Some executive directors start their careers in other positions, such as fundraiser or communications director. Others start on the program side of an organization, offering services directly to the public. They might be teachers, health care workers, ecologists, or another type of professional. Accountants and auditors need a good understanding of business computer systems and some hands-on knowledge of accounting software. An accounting or finance degree with some management course work or a business administration degree with some accounting course work is a good background to have. A master of business administration or other advanced degree may be desirable for more senior positions. The certified nonprofit accounting professional (CNAP) accreditation also provides the additional credibility needed in some larger organizations. Social community service managers need a bachelors degree. They must possess knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Professional and related occupations. A bachelors degree usually is not required to work as a social and human service assistant. However, employers increasingly seek individuals with relevant work experience or education beyond high school. Certificates or associate degrees in subjects such as social work, human services, gerontology, or one of the social or behavioral sciences meet most employers requirements. Employers try to select applicants who have effective communication skills, a strong sense of responsibility, and the ability to manage time effectively. Employers usually provide on-the-job training, often in the form of seminars and workshops, to prepare employees for particular position. Formal education almost always is necessary for advancement. In general, advancement requires a bachelors or masters degree in human services, counseling, rehabilitation, social work, or a related field. There are no defined standards for entry into a public relations career. A college degree combined with public relations experience, usually gained through an internship, is considered excellent preparation for public relations work. People who choose public relations as a career need an outgoing personality, self-confidence, an understanding of human psychology, and an enthusiasm for motivating people. Many public relations specialists advance to become directors of development or fundraisers. Directors of development find the money and other gifts needed to keep the organizations operations thriving. For self-enrichment teachers working in the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry, a college degree that encompasses education or human resources courses and general business courses is good preparation. Opportunities for advancement as a self-enrichment teacher vary from State to State and program to program. They may advance to administrative positions, or experienced self-enrichment teachers may mentor new instructors and volunteers. Educational requirements for teacher assistants vary by State or school district and range from a high school diploma to some college training, although employers increasingly prefer applicants with some college training. Teacher assistants must have good writing skills and be able to communicate effectively with students and teachers. Advancement for teacher assistantsusually in the form of higher earnings or increased responsibilitycomes primarily with experience or additional education.
Office and administrative support occupations. Office and administrative support occupations in the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry generally require a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, many employers prefer those who have familiarity or experience with computers. Good interpersonal skills also are becoming increasingly important to employers. Some employers may require previous office or business experience. Those who exhibit strong communication, interpersonal, and analytical skills may be promoted to supervisory positions. Advancement to professional occupations within an organization normally requires additional formal education, such as a college degree. While most workers receive on-the-job training, executive secretaries and administrative assistants acquire skills in various ways. Training ranges from high school vocational education programs that teach office skills and keyboarding to 1-year and 2-year programs in office administration offered by business schools, vocational-technical institutes, and community colleges.
Service occupations. Some service workers in the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry, such as waiters and waitresses and janitors, dont require any formal education and are trained on the job. Opportunities for advancement for waiters and waitresses are limited, but those workers who excel at their work can become food service managers. Food service managers supervise the work of cooks; they plan meals and oversee food safety. Educational requirements for recreation and fitness workers range from a high school diploma to a graduate degree for some administrative positions in large public recreation systems. Recreation and fitness workers need managerial skills in order to advance to supervisory or managerial positions. College courses in management, business administration, accounting, and personnel management are helpful for advancement to supervisory or managerial jobs. Most States require that security guards be licensed. Some security guards may advance to supervisor or security manager positions. Guards with management skills may open their own contract security guard agencies.
Turnover and employment growth should result in a large number of job openings.
Employment change. Wage and salary jobs in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations are projected to increase 13 percent over the 2006-16 period, compared to 11 percent growth projected for all industries combined (table 3).
Social and demographic shifts will continue to increase the demand for services offered by advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations and spur job growth. For example, rapid growth of the elderly population will increase the demand for home health and nursing home care. Other demographic shifts include the growing numbers of immigrants and refugees; a high divorce rate creating more single parent households; more out-of-wedlock births; and greater ethnic and cultural diversity. These shifts will increase the demand for many services such as child day care, home health and nursing home care, family counseling, foster care, relocation assistance, and substance abuse treatment and prevention.
State and local governments usually are expected to fulfill new and growing social service roles, but many lack the resources to meet the rising demands. As a result, governments will increasingly turn to advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations, utilizing their experience at offering efficient and effective social services. In other cases, governments will form joint ventures or partnerships with these organizations to operate services more effectively. Governments also are expected to contract out some services, which will continue to be a major source of employment growth in the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry.
Projected growth for some occupations in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations differs from the 13 percent average growth projected for the industry as a whole (table 2). For example, employment of social and human service assistants is expected to grow faster than the industry because of the increased need for the services that these workers provide to the public. Employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, on the other hand, is expected to grow more slowly than the industry because of the increasing use of office automation.
Job prospects. A large number of job openings should result from employment growth and turnover, partially due to the industrys relatively low wages, as workers retire or leave the industry for other reasons.
Industry earnings. Earnings of wage and salary workers in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations averaged $15.81 an hour, compared with $16.76 per hour for all workers in private industry in 2006 (table 4). The lower earnings reflect the large proportion of entry-level, part-time jobs. Weekly earnings among civic and social organizations were significantly lower than average, $232, compared with $568 for all workers in private industry in 2006.
Median hourly earnings of the occupations in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations with the highest employment appear in table 5.
Directors and upper-level managers usually receive a salary. Entry-level salaries vary based on education, experience, and the size, budget, and geographic location of the association. The Nonprofit Times Annual Salary Survey reported the following average total compensation in 2006:
Benefits and union membership. Fringe benefits vary by region, sector, organization budget, geographic scope, number of employees, and type of organization. Most organizations appear to provide long-term disability, extended health care, dental, prescription drug, and life insurance coverage to all employees. Vision care has become a common benefit in the industry. Most employers pay all of their employees' insurance benefit premiums, but none of the coverage for their dependents. Only some organizations allow their employees to purchase additional life insurance beyond the basic benefit amount provided, but most hold the line at somewhat less than one year's salary, with one and two years' salary being common as well.
Many advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations provide an automobile or car allowance to their senior managers, with most of them paying the entire cost for chief executive officers. Publication subscriptions and professional society and association memberships are generally provided for managers at all levels, and the overwhelming practice is to pay the entire registration fee to attend conferences, as well as associated travel, room, and meal expenses for the chief executive and other administrative and professional employees. Organizations rarely pay for club/social membership dues, first-class air travel, or travel expense for spouses. Most employers allow staff education leave without pay and contribute to tuition expenses for training considered relevant to the employee's job or the organization's current mission. Some workers have access to a sabbatical leave program.
About 11 percent of workers in the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry were union members or were covered by a union contract in 2006, less than the 13 percent rate throughout all industries.
For more information about career opportunities in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations, contact:
Information on the following occupations may be found in the 2008-09 Occupational Outlook Handbook:
8132, 8133, 8134, 8139
Suggested citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2008-09 Edition, Advocacy, Grantmaking, and Civic Organizations, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs054.htm (visited September 17, 2008 ).
Last Modified Date: March 12, 2008