How to land an NGO job in United States

Non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, play a vital role in society by advocating for human rights, providing humanitarian aid, and implementing sustainable development programs. If you’re passionate about social justice and want to make a difference in the world, a career in the NGO sector may be right for you. But with so many organizations and job roles to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to getting an NGO job in the United States.

How to land an NGO job in United States

Step 1: Research the NGO Sector

Before you can start applying for NGO jobs, it’s essential to understand the sector’s landscape. The NGO sector is diverse, encompassing organizations of different sizes, sectors, and missions.

Some NGOs focus on human rights, while others work on environmental issues, education, or healthcare. Some organizations operate at the local level, while others have a global reach. To get a better understanding of the NGO sector, you can:

  • Research NGOs’ websites and social media channels to learn about their missions, programs, and impact.
  • Attend NGO events, such as conferences, workshops, and webinars, to network with professionals and learn about the latest trends and challenges in the sector.
  • Read industry publications, such as Devex, Nonprofit Quarterly, and Stanford Social Innovation Review, to stay up-to-date on the sector’s news and best practices.

Step 2: Identify Your Skills and Interests

After researching the NGO sector, you’ll need to identify your skills and interests to determine which job roles and organizations align with your career goals. NGOs require a range of skills, including:

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  • Project management
  • Fundraising and grant writing
  • Advocacy and policy analysis
  • Research and data analysis
  • Communications and marketing
  • Program evaluation and impact assessment

To identify your skills, consider your past work experiences, education, and extracurricular activities. You can also take online assessments, such as the CliftonStrengths assessment, to identify your strengths and areas for improvement.

Step 3: Build Your Network

Networking is critical in the NGO sector, as many job opportunities are not advertised publicly. By building your network, you’ll have access to job openings, mentorship opportunities, and industry insights. To build your network, you can:

  • Join professional associations, such as the International Association of Nonprofit Professionals, Net Impact, or Young Nonprofit Professionals Network.
  • Attend networking events, such as happy hours, job fairs, and panels, hosted by NGOs or professional associations.
  • Reach out to professionals in the NGO sector on LinkedIn or through informational interviews to learn about their career paths and advice.

Step 4: Gain Experience

NGOs value candidates who have hands-on experience in the sector. To gain experience, you can:

  • Volunteer with NGOs in your local community to gain exposure to their programs and operations.
  • Intern with NGOs, either in-person or virtually, to gain practical skills and knowledge.
  • Seek out fellowships or scholarships, such as the Atlas Corps Fellowship, to gain international experience and broaden your network.

Step 5: Prepare Your Application

Once you’ve identified the job roles and organizations you’re interested in, you’ll need to prepare your job application. A typical NGO job application includes:

  • A cover letter that highlights your skills, experiences, and motivation for applying to the position.
  • A resume that showcases your education, work experience, and relevant skills.
  • A list of references, including their names, titles, and contact information.

It’s essential to tailor your application to the job description and the organization’s mission and values. NGOs often receive hundreds of applications for each position, so a well-crafted application can make a difference. For NGO jobs be sure to check and follow NGO Careers as they post NGO jobs on a daily basis.

Step 6: Ace the Interview

Time to show what you have. If you’re invited for an interview, congratulations! This is your chance to showcase your skills and personality to the NGO’s hiring team. To ace the interview, you can:

  • Research the NGO’s mission, programs, and values to demonstrate your interest and alignment with their work.
  • Prepare answers to common NGO interview questions, such as “What motivates you to work in the NGO sector?” or “How do you manage competing priorities?”
  • Ask thoughtful questions about the NGO’s work and culture to demonstrate your curiosity and engagement.

Examples of NGO Jobs in United States and Profiles they Hire

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a vital role in the United States. They are responsible for addressing social issues, advocating for human rights, and protecting the environment. With so many NGOs operating in the country, there are numerous job opportunities available to those who want to make a difference. In this blog post, we will explore some examples of NGO jobs in the United States and the profiles they hire.

  1. Advocacy Coordinator: NGOs hire advocacy coordinators to develop and implement advocacy strategies that promote their organization’s mission. Advocacy coordinators are responsible for building relationships with policymakers, organizing events, and conducting research. They usually have a degree in political science, public administration, or a related field.
  2. Fundraiser: Fundraisers are responsible for raising funds for NGOs through a variety of methods, including grant writing, donor solicitation, and event planning. They need excellent communication and organizational skills and should have a degree in marketing, communications, or a related field.
  3. Campaign Manager: NGOs hire campaign managers to develop and execute campaigns that promote their organization’s mission. Campaign managers are responsible for creating campaign strategies, managing budgets, and coordinating with staff and volunteers. They usually have a degree in political science, marketing, or a related field.
  4. Program Officer: Program officers are responsible for managing and implementing programs that advance an NGO’s mission. They are responsible for monitoring program performance, developing budgets, and managing staff. They usually have a degree in social work, public health, or a related field.
  5. Communications Specialist: NGOs hire communications specialists to develop and implement communication strategies that promote their organization’s mission. Communications specialists are responsible for writing press releases, creating social media content, and managing the organization’s website. They need excellent writing and interpersonal skills and should have a degree in communications, marketing, or a related field.

In summary, there are numerous job opportunities available in NGOs operating in the United States. These organizations hire individuals with a wide range of backgrounds and skill sets, including advocacy, fundraising, campaign management, program management, and communications. If you’re passionate about making a difference, consider a career in an NGO and help make the world a better place.


Getting an NGO job in the United States requires dedication, networking, and practical experience. By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to a fulfilling career in the NGO sector. Remember, the NGO sector is diverse, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Keep an open mind, be persistent, and don’t be afraid to seek advice and support along the way. Good luck!



UNICEF International Consultancy; Global Reporting, Monitoring and Evaluation, Pretoria, South Africa (3 months)

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