How To Write a Nonprofit Resume

To write a resume for a nonprofit job, highlight your relevant skills and experiences in the nonprofit sector, from community outreach to grant writing and managing volunteers. Add your contact information and a professional summary briefly mentioning your career highlights. This allows the employer to determine if your skills align with the organization. Customize your summary to the specific position you’re applying for and include only the most relevant qualifications.

It’s important to be specific when describing your nonprofit experience. A resume often features important keywords from the job posting. For example, it might highlight your experience engaging in research, helping with administrative duties, or other relevant field-related activities.

Below, you’ll find expert tips to guide you as you begin applying for nonprofit jobs:

  • Entry-level
  • Mid-career
  • Senior-level
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1. Craft an outstanding profile with a summary of your nonprofit qualifications

When applying for a job with a nonprofit organization, it’s important to craft a resume summary that not only highlights your qualifications but also aligns with the mission and values of the nonprofit. Begin your summary with a clear, concise statement that displays your enthusiasm for the nonprofit sector. Mention your years of experience in the nonprofit sector or related fields. Focus on the experiences directly relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Highlight the qualifications that make you a strong candidate for the specific role. Show your genuine commitment to the nonprofit’s mission and values. Use your summary to express your dedication to the cause and desire to contribute to positive change.

Keep your resume summary brief, ideally limited to three or four sentences. It should provide a quick overview of your qualifications and enthusiasm without being overly detailed.

Senior-Level Profile Example


Passionate Community Engagement Professional with 5+ years’ experience. Generate powerful recruitment results, securing commitments from various donors, volunteers, and corporations.

Entry-Level Profile Example


Perceptive Medical Social Worker with strong recent academic and work experience. Skilled communicator who maintains calm and professionalism in crisis situations. Expert in psychosocial assessments and helping loved ones cope with an unexpected death. Draw on advanced de-escalation skills and medical knowledge. Master of Social Work.

2. Outline your nonprofit experience in a compelling list

Help managers understand the depth of your experience. As you write the details of each past job, ask yourself, “how much?” or “how many?” Hiring managers will want to see tangible examples that display your ability to work effectively.

Senior-Level Professional Experience Example


Community Engagement Manager, Atlanta Humane Society, Atlanta, GA | October 2019 to Present

  • Foster positive community relationships by engaging in local events, youth programs, social media threads, surveys, and community luncheon forums
  • Analyze data to monitor success of different engagement strategies

Highlights:

  • Drove a 25% increase in community engagement through local college partnerships
  • Established staff volunteer day agreements with 32 local corporations

Entry-Level Professional Experience Example


Medical Social Worker, Charleston Area Medical Center, Charleston, WV | June 2021 to Present

  • Help assess patients’ medical or physical conditions and client needs
  • Educate patients and families about diagnoses and treatment plans
  • Complete psychosocial assessments of patients’ mental or emotional state
  • Counsel patients or patients’ family members experiencing crisis or distress
  • Refer patients and families to appropriate community and social service resources

3. Include nonprofit-related education and certifications

In addition to listing any degrees you hold, certifications can be relevant to a job in the nonprofit sector. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Accredited Nonprofit Professional (ANP): Awarded to professionals with nonprofit management, leadership, and governance knowledge and skills.
  • Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE): Designed for fundraising professionals and demonstrates a high level of fundraising, donor relations, and ethics expertise.
  • Certified Grant Writing Specialist (CGWS): Made for grant writers who work in the nonprofit sector and display a high level of expertise in grant writing practices.
  • Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP): Designed for accounting professionals who work in the nonprofit sector. This represents a high level of expertise in nonprofit accounting practices.
  • Certified Nonprofit Human Resources Professional (CNHRP): For human resources professionals who work in the nonprofit sector with a high level of expertise in nonprofit human resources practices.
  • Certified Nonprofit Leadership and Management (CNLM): Made for professionals who have shown their knowledge and skills in nonprofit leadership and management.
  • Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP): Awarded to professionals who have completed a rigorous program of study and demonstrated their ability to apply best practices to the management of nonprofit organizations.
  • Certified Nonprofit Technology Professional (CNTP): Made for technology professionals who work in the nonprofit sector and show a high level of expertise in nonprofit technology practices.

These certifications can help you stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs in the nonprofit sector.

Education

Template

  • [Degree Name]
  • [School Name], [City, State Abbreviation] | [Graduation Year]

Example

  • Master of Public Administration
  • University of Indiana, Bloomington | 2017

Certifications

Template

  • [Certification Name], [Awarding Organization], [Completion Year]

Example

  • CNP
  • CNLM

4. List key skills and proficiencies for nonprofits

One of the best ways to improve your resume is to add keywords. Most employers now use an applicant tracking system (ATS), which scans each submitted resume for keywords relevant to the job opening at hand. When the ATS finds a resume with many relevant keywords, it flags the document for the hiring manager.

To make your resume ATS-friendly, add a keyword-rich “Key Skills” section. Here are some common keywords for nonprofit professionals:

Key Skills and Proficiencies
Budgeting Cost accounting
Cross-functional collaboration Event planning
Fundraising Grant writing
Management Organizing
Presentations Program management
Project management Public speaking
Recruiting Regulatory compliance
Staffing Stakeholder relations management
Strategic planning Task prioritization
Team leadership and motivation Time management

How To Pick the Best Nonprofit Resume Template

For the nonprofit sector, a clear and straightforward resume template is usually best.

Opt for a layout that lets the hiring manager quickly review your best career details.

Select a traditional resume font, and avoid any template with a colorful or elaborate design.

Also, ensure the template complies with applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by employers to screen resumes.

Nonprofit Text-Only Resume Templates and Examples

  • Entry-level
  • Mid-career
  • Senior-level

Hailey Hernandez
(123) 456-7891 | [email protected] | 3616 Canary Road, Anchorage, AK 99501

Profile

Nonprofit Development Professional with 3+ years of experience. Consistently meet or exceed fundraising goals. Skilled in planning events, designing advertisements, and building relationships with web-based donors.

Professional Experience

Development Coordinator, Abused Women Aid in Crisis (AWAIC), Anchorage, AK | September 2019 to Present

  • Identify new donors and negotiate funding
  • Assist with grant writing
  • Set event budgets and account for expected fundraising outcomes
  • Design ads, flyers, posters, and social media posts to promote fundraising events

Highlights:

  • Raised $2.5M through individual and corporate donations
  • Served as lead writer on a $500K grant award

Education

Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Key Skills

  • Budgeting
  • Company Partnerships
  • Data Analysis
  • Donor Relations
  • Event Planning
  • Grant Writing
  • Raiser’s Edge

Frequently Asked Questions: Nonprofit Resume Examples and Advice

What are common action verbs for nonprofit resumes?-

One of the most common resume mistakes is using too few verbs. You may repeat the same generic verb (such as “manage”) many times or rely on passive phrases like “responsible for” or “accountable for.” These tendencies can distract your reader and fail to show the dynamic nature of your work.

The following list will help you mix up the verbs on your nonprofit resume:

Action Verbs
Advise Advocate
Communicate Coordinate
Develop Empower
Facilitate Fundraise
Help Lead
Market Oversee
Plan Provide
Serve Support
How do you align your resume with a nonprofit job posting?-

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for nonprofit employees was $74,240 in May 2022. About 16,000 openings for social and community service managers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from replacing workers who transfer to different occupations or exiting the labor force, such as to retire. To stand out when applying for a job with a nonprofit, you’ll have to prove your experience and passion for the work.

Under each job in your experience section, consider adding a description of the organization you worked for. You can place this description in brackets right next to or below the organization name.

Organization descriptions let you show any similarities between your past and desired employers. For instance, maybe you’ve worked for organizations of a similar size. Or maybe you’ve worked at nonprofits with a similar core mission or leadership philosophy. By working these details into your descriptions, you can make your resume more relevant to the job opening.

What is the best nonprofit resume format?-

When creating a resume for a nonprofit job, choosing a format that highlights your relevant skills and experience is important. A combination style resume works particularly well for jobs in the nonprofit sector. This type of resume emphasizes both your skills and work experience. It is also known as a hybrid resume. A combination resume typically starts with a summary of your qualifications, followed by a list of your skills. After that, it includes a reverse-chronological list of your work history.

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Expert Advice
Include a cover letter with your resume

Once you’re finished with your resume, a good way to finalize your application before sending it to your prospective employer is to add a cover letter. This is a great opportunity to speak directly to the hiring manager and explain why you’re the best candidate for the job.

Remember a cover letter should be fairly succinct. Try not to exceed more than 400 words — 250 to 300 is ideal. For more information and ideas, view our social worker cover letter examples.

Jacob Meade headshot

Jacob Meade

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, ACRW)

Jacob Meade is a resume writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience. His writing method centers on understanding and then expressing each person’s unique work history and strengths toward their career goal. Jacob has enjoyed working with jobseekers of all ages and career levels, finding that a clear and focused resume can help people from any walk of life. He is an Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW) with the Resume Writing Academy, and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches.

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