Businessman Bill Weatherstone spoke to a small group of Eastern Michigan University students Wednesday in the Student Center about the different aspects of working for a non-profit organization.
He began the session, which was hosted by the EMU Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, by introducing himself and expounding on his extensive career working for various organizations, both for-profit and non-profit.
Weatherstone said hiring into executive positions within a non-profit organization was on the rise. He said it was coming out of a low point from the financial crisis in 2008, which caused executives to migrate from for-profit to non-profit jobs. This reduced the need for hiring in those positions, but Weatherstone explained need is rising as of late.
As he transitioned into a segment on how to get a job in a non-profit organization, Weatherstone’s key points were interview etiquette as well as social connections. When in an interview for a position, his advice was to simply be authentic.
“An interview should be 80 percent the interviewee talking about himself and 20 percent of the interviewer talking about the company,” Weatherstone said.
The other major aspect he emphasized was networking. Weatherstone explained that, in preparation for a position, a person should be attending training sessions, lectures and volunteering for events of the cause that the job is for.
Weatherstone said working for an organization that doesn’t deal with the issue you feel is most important would not yield a healthy work life. He repeatedly emphasized working for a non-profit is something you should only do if you have the passion for it.
When the question arose from those in attendance on how to successfully build your own non-profit business, passion was the first point on his list. He gave a short checklist of elements to have when starting on your own, such as, “a group of dedicated people who have a passion for the same cause as you,” and to “look at what other organizations in the same field are doing.”
The concept of passion was just as prevalent in Weatherstone’s closing as it was throughout his presentation. He said the passion for the cause you are serving will be the deciding factor of how fast and how far you will advance within that organization.
“If it’s not your passion, then don’t go into it,” Weatherstone said. “You’ll get stuck in a middle position and you’ll quickly start to hate it.”