Back in 2010 I first wrote a success story post about Jo Green who made a career transition from London to Sydney and then from market research to the not for profit sector. Her story was so inspiring that I wrote Part 2 of her story when she transitioned from Clean Up Australia to Canteen to support children fighting cancer and their families. Jo has grown further in her career and is now providing global support to those in need with Caritas Australia. Jo is an ongoing inspiration and here is Part 3 of her story!
Who is Jo Green?
I grew up in the UK and moved to Sydney nearly 5 years ago to experience living on the more sunny side of the world.
Where do you work?
I work as the Fundraising Campaign Coordinator at Caritas Australia. Caritas is an international aid and development charity and in my role I look after the annual fundraising campaign, Project Compassion.
Who are your clients/customers and what are the services?
Caritas supports the poorest and most marginalised people in the world through its long term development programs, supporting people to help themselves out of poverty, hunger and injustice. Here is a great video of the work we’ve focused on in Brazil http://bit.ly/Rn4FM2
What did you do prior to your current role?
Prior to this role I worked in Community Fundraising at CanTeen and in volunteering at Clean Up Australia. But before my transition to the non for profit world, I worked in market research.
What made you make this career change?
I was sat in a market research focus group for a famous Australian wine brand and realised that I really didn’t care whether the bubbles on the bottle were green or blue. It was a light bulb moment that I needed to find a job that aligned with my values and allowed me to make a difference in the world.
What assistance did you get along the way?
I approached Jane Jackson to become my career coach in July 2009 after I arrived in Sydney. She was fantastic at helping me to understand, explore and research my values and future potential careers. The skills she taught me I have used in my subsequent job searches and am thankful for when thinking about my career (thank you Jane!).
I’ve worked with some amazing and inspiring people and keep in touch with many on LinkedIn. It is great to contact them about advice when looking for a new role, or when something crops up at work which I think they might be able to offer some advice on.
What were the key challenges you experienced?
Moving in to the non for profit sector can be tricky due to the change in focus, salary level, resources available such as budget for marketing, IT, HR etc, but is a rewarding area to work in. The people you work with tend to be passionate and friendly, but quite often there is more work than people which can mean taking on things that you might not quite have expected!
Depending on the type of non for profit it can also throw up some personal challenges in terms of dealing with the emotional side of the cause – at CanTeen I attended workshops where I heard about the issues faced by young people who have lost a parent to cancer, and at Caritas I visit programs which support the poorest people in the world. It can be challenging to remain professional whilst dealing with your own reaction to seeing the reason for your work first hand.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of going into the Not for Profit sector?
Work out the types of non for profits you are interested in (health, education, environment, animals etc). This will help you narrow your search field and is a question recruitment consultants always ask.
There are numerous specific non for profit websites and newsletters which are great for job announcements but it is also worth going to the website of many particular non for profits you are interested in as some only advertise through their own site. There are a few recruitment agencies that are fantastic and are worth contacting to discuss the types roles you would be suitable for, and any current opportunities.
Non for profits always ask for experience in the sector when apply for a role. I was lucky that I got my foot in the door of a non for profit by securing a 6 month contract but I would advise people to get some volunteer experience on their CV, even if just for a few hours, to show where their passion lives and that this is an important part of their life.
Many non for profits offer a proportion of your salary tax free. This means that you ending up earning slightly more than your base salary. Although non for profit roles tend to have lower salaries than their corporate equivalent, this does help them to be a bit more attractive and is worth investigating.
Tell us about your best moments at Caritas
In March 2013 I went to Sao Paulo in Brazil to visit on of Caritas’ programs to make a documentary film of one of the people the program has helped. The people we met live in a slum or favela and told us stories of the terrible living conditions cardboard houses, no water and electricity and sewage running down the street, before the program helped them to improve the conditions where they live. There is also a high level of violence and drugs gangs in the favelas and we heard about the impact of the youth program in engaging young people and keeping them off the streets. We met some inspiring people and could really see Caritas’ work in action. I’m looking forward to the filming trip (probably to Indonesia) in 2014.
The other group of amazing people I communicate with is are the supporters of Caritas – it is always amazing to meet people at events or help out with donation phone calls to understand why people support us, and to thank them for doing so.
How can we find out more about the great work at Caritas?
You can find out more about Caritas at www.caritas.org.au and the campaign I work on, Project Compassion at www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion
More info on my trip to Brazil can be found at http://bit.ly/1geN3LW
And the film we made here http://bit.ly/Rn4FM2
Thank you, Jo, for being such an continued inspiration to all of us!