The non-profit pivot, how Rachel made a big career change

July 14, 2023
Sarah Stockdale

Ever feel like you’re a little stuck? In your job, your industry, feeling underappreciated and maybe just maybe underpaid?

That’s where Rachel was. 

Most of Rachel’s career had been in the charity non profit sector, and she was looking at her paystubs and feeling ready for a change. An incredibly hard worker, she knew she had the chops to get a marketing role in the public sector— but didn’t know how exactly to make the move.

Enter Growclass.

Now, Rachel has been in a new role she loves for a full year. The role aligns with her values, something a lot of people making the jump from non-profit to corporate worry about. And it came with a 50% salary increase, which appropriately values Rachel’s skills.

We love to see our Alumni succeeding and getting paid.

We checked in with her to unpack how she navigated making such a big career change. 

Rachel: In 2020, I had just moved over to a marketing role at an environmental charity from a governance/resource focused charity. It was an organization I really believe in, but it was a lateral move and I didn’t get a pay increase with the new job.

I liked my role, but as I looked around, I realized that there wasn’t a lot of room for growth. Life was getting really expensive, and I knew I needed to make more money. So, I asked my boss for a five thousand dollar raise. 

And they said no. It was a small team, and they decided to spend that money on something else. It's really challenging for charities to justify overhead spending. It's this self fulfilling prophecy where non-profits have a hard time justifying overhead spending to keep good talent. But then they have high turnover because they can’t pay salaries.

I understood the decision, but I needed to look out for myself.

That’s when I knew I needed to do something for myself.

Sarah: How did you find out about Growclass?

Rachel: When I took over the inbox of the person who had my job before— that person was subscribed to We Need To Talk About This (Growclass Founder Sarah’s personal newsletter). I read it, and then found myself subscribing.

That’s how I found out about Growclass, and decided it was what I needed.

Sarah: Woah that’s a wild story. I love it!! What was the course like for you?

Rachel: When I was working on the course it felt like I was investing in me. When I'd have tough days at work where I felt like I wasn't being heard it felt good to log on and do something for my own professional growth!

After I finished, I literally had a Google doc with 90 pages of notes. 

One of the things I loved about the experience most was the community. I’ve been part of other Slack channels, but this one is different. It’s a very active group. You can throw a question down and you’ll get responses. It’s an active community with some of the best and brightest people. And it really helped me find more opportunities. 

Sarah: How did you find your new job?

Rachel: One day EMW (a wonderful Growclass Alumni) posted a link to a marketing job at an HR company in Slack and offered to make introductions.

I reached out, and she introduced me to her friend who was the Hiring Manager. We had coffee and hit it off, I knew this was where I wanted to work.

I didn’t know if a for-profit organization would understand my skillset or know how to value my experience. Growclass helped me there too, I was more confident in the process of applying for this job knowing I have all of this new knowledge to back up my answers and experience in the interview.

So I went through the interview process.

And… I got the job!

The role checked all of my workplace boxes. It’s remote, it’s flexible, and it’s a women-led workplace, and my colleagues are smart and empathetic. The culture I was sold in the interview process is the actual culture of the workplace, and my colleagues really are experts.

And best of all, the work feels meaningful

The role came with a 50% pay raise from what I was making before. The financial impact of that has been huge. When you have more money you can have more space for your brain. I really feel valued where I am now.

Sarah: Congratulations, seriously, that’s such a huge accomplishment. And I’m so glad you’re being paid what your skills are worth.

Rachel: Thank you. I’m forever grateful to Elizabeth and the community for connecting me. If I wasn’t in the Growclass community, I don’t think I would have even known about the job. I wouldn’t have had the personal connection and the in with the hiring manager. I wouldn’t have had an intro.

Growclass definitely changed my career. 

Sarah: What would you say to someone who wants to make a similar career change?

My advice for people looking to make a similar pivot would be to talk about their transferable skills. Ask yourself; how does fundraising lend itself to sales? How can email marketing for program updates also work for a product update? 

The skills are similar even if the industry is different. Learn to talk about your wins. Connect with people who have career paths that inspire you and find out what their journey was and how they got there. Don't count yourself out when you see a job and wonder if its out of your league! Find a supportive community that can cheer you on (cough Growclass).

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