For the past nine months we've been facing an odd predicament, hiring in a down market. Since the beginning of 2009 we've been taking on about one person a month and are still looking to fill eight more positions. You read that right, eight. I know that will hardly do a dent in the current unemployment rates, but it means that by year end my organization would have doubled in size. It's pretty daunting dealing with expansion and developing a sustainable model while thinking about a possible contraction. I'm assuming that even though 2008 was good to non- profits there will be no real 'giving season' at the end of this year.
Do Gooders Need Not Apply
We've been getting lots of resumes, but what is making things difficult is that a number of folks applying think working in the non-profit world means 'an easier gig' than their last corporate job. While there is no need for suit and tie, this doesn't mean that the charitable sector does not require equal standards of professionalism.
Our work revolves around providing pro bono or at cost professional design and construction services to communities in need. Whether it is building an orphanage in India or elder housing on reservations, the need for a licensed architect is a requirement on all jobs. At the same time, while we are a 501(c)(3), we run our books like any construction project. Keeping budgets tight means that our staff can make a bigger impact and running jobs efficiently means that communities do not lose faith in the long process of building. So while we respect your decade of work at 'one of the big banks' or your desire to 'do good,' we need folks that can utilize their talents to create, support or empower change on a local level. It doesn't need to be a career but it does need to be your passion.
Someone Unlock the Doors
On the flip side that passion is out there. We've found an incredible number of recent graduates and mid-career professionals willing to go and do 'tour of duty' out in communities around the world. Young professionals honing their architectural skills while seeking the betterment of others. They are on the Gulf coast of the United States, in rural Kenya and in the informal settlements of urban India. In the last year we've had the honor to work with American, Canadian, Romanian, South African and Ugandan designers -- all sharing a common interest, using innovative design to make a difference.