The Ideaction Blog

Want to change the world?

Posted by Keecia Broy on May 12, 2014

Consider these 4 steps before taking the leap to a social impact career

It’s easier than ever to find a social impact career, be it for a traditional nonprofit or a for-profit that gives back to the communities it serves or to causes its employees care about. Given the numerous choices and opportunities, it’s wise to be strategic about how you go about making your mark in this space. As someone who specializes in bringing talented people to the social impact sector, here’s my advice about how to pursue a highly rewarding social impact career.

1) Assess:  What are you passionate about? What are you good at professionally? It’s helpful to know the answers to both of these questions. The social impact space is teeming with individuals who are mission driven with a capital M. You have to deeply believe in the cause or at the very least, have an interest in it. So before you take the leap, think about the causes that excite you, be it education, the arts, youth development, the environment, or international development, among other possibilities. Identifying how you want to impact the world is a critical piece of the puzzle, because it allows you to align your passion with the work you choose to pursue.

In addition to assessing what most inspires you, also think about what you’re good at professionally. Many people that I talk to that are interested in making a career switch, don’t often see the parallels between what they currently do and the skills they can bring to the social impact sector. If you’re a great marketer for soda or lunch meat, you’re likely just as great at doing the messaging for an environmental or human services organization.  You may even find that you’re better at marketing in the social impact space because you have a stronger belief in what you’re selling. Ultimately, knowing your strengths will ease your transition.

2) Explore: There are many social impact organizations to choose from, so now is the time to drill down and get more specific.  If you’re interested in changing the word by improving education, you can do so in many ways – be it at a charter school, or a nonprofit that works directly with K12 schools, or a for-profit that supports a portfolio of education nonprofits, among a host of options. If the environment is your passion, you can choose a company that makes environmentally safe products and gives a percentage of profits in support of environmental causes, or a nonprofit that educates young people about the benefits of urban gardens by teaching them to build their own. Because there are so many options, educate yourself by doing further research through Google searches, social impact blogs and other media, and talking to people who are aware of the organizations that operate in the space of your interest. As you learn more, build a list of companies that you think align well with your passion.  Doing so will allow you to narrow your focus so that you can begin to talk to others and launch your job search.

3) Connect – It’s widely believed that the most constructive way to find a new job is through networking. People hire people, not resumes, so a savvy approach to finding your dream career is to start talking to others. LinkedIn is a valuable tool in this regard because it helps you figure out whom to talk to. By searching first and second connections to agencies or organizations that interest you, you will immediately identify individuals to reach out to.

Set up short 15- minute phone conversations (a warm intro is often helpful) with people who work in the social impact space. Through these conversations, learn more about these organizations -- their long-term goals and growth plans, for starters. Make sure to research the companies beforehand to ask questions that give you more insight than what’s already covered on their websites.

In addition to having in-depth conversations with people working in the social impact space, it’s also key to let friends, family members and close associates know about your goals  – you never know what connections or leads they might have access to that can benefit you in the long run.

4) Refresh: Although your resume is not the most important part of your social impact job search, it does help communicate who you are and what you’re looking for. Now that you know what you’re looking for and how you add value, give your resume another look and refresh it. As you network and build new contacts in the social impact space, ask a few of these individuals to review your resume and provide critical feedback.  

Also send out your new resume to friends, family, and former colleagues and let them know what you’re looking for. If you’re currently in a job, be cautious and send your resume to people who can keep your confidence and who will be on the look out for you as opportunities arise.

Now that you’ve laid the groundwork, the next step is to take the leap. So, jump. A rewarding career awaits.

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Posted by Kelly O'Brien on April 21, 2014

We’ve heard about a number of terrific job opportunities recently, so keep checking our Facebook and twitter for these announcements.

First on deck, US!  We’re looking for an Operations and Project Manager.

Here are a few others from our clients and Corps. Please spread the word and share these opportunities with your networks.

Ideaction Client Partners

Free Spirit Media is looking for a Development Director. The Development Director will lead Free Spirit Media's institutional advancement efforts, cultivating and stewarding relationships with individual, corporate, foundation, and government supporters and prospects. Full description here. Email resume, cover letter, writing sample, and salary history to hr@freespiritmedia.org 

Ideaction Corps Members

Adelstein–Liston is looking for someone to track media spending in the political races they are supporting.  Working on campaigns around the country, this person would oversee two assistants.  They are looking for someone who's had a year or two of political campaign experience, is organized, smart, and not afraid of the intensity of campaigns. If you are interested, email rachel@adelsteinliston.com and let her know you saw the posting on the Ideaction blog.

Deojo is launching a new incubator/accelerator at 444 N Wabash, and they are looking for a full-time Community Manager to mange the space. If you are interested in the Community Manager position, email phil@doejo.com and let him know you heard about it here. Deojo has other openings as well.

Frequency 540 is looking for a Senior Account Executive and they are growing fast, so keep checking their careers page!  

Mightybytes (the team that built Ideaction’s website) is looking for a web developer and has a few other openings.

People we like

In Chicago, e.a.t spots is looking for a contract project manager to work over the next four months to help launch this super cool initiative that will repurpose the old news stands-located in the Loop into healthy, local, micro retail stations. The project is a collaboration with the City of Chicago, local produce vendors and Streetwise. There is a good possibility that this will turn into a full time position with the organization, but not guaranteed. If you are interested in this position, email Ideaction and request the job description.

New Profit Inc., a 15-year-old nonprofit venture philanthropy firm and social innovation organization working to increase social mobility by accelerating the best innovative solutions across the nation, seeks a strategic, proactive, and committed Policy Director to join the America Forward policy team.  This position is based in Washington, D.C. 

If you have openings in the social impact space, Ideaction is happy to post them on our social media pages. Please send a two-sentence description and a link to xoxo@ideactioncorps.com

Kelly O'Brien is the President and Founder of Ideaction Corps, a full service social change agency whose clients include companies and causes doing good. She's passionate about helping people and organizations find the path to work with purpose, big ideas and infecting grace. She can be reached at @kellymobrien or @ideactioncorps on Twitter, or via the Ideaction Corps website.

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Job Opening: OPERATIONS AND PROJECT MANAGER

Posted by Kelly O'Brien on April 21, 2014

Ideaction is looking for an exceptionally organized, take-charge leader to help optimize our operational systems, processes and policies in support of our mission -- specifically, support better management reporting, information flow and management, business process and organizational planning.

Location: Chicago Area

Company Description: Ideaction Corps is quickly growing for-profit Benefit Corporation. A full service social change agency, Ideaction makes the world better by supporting inspiring ideas for change with passionate talent that can execute. Our clients include companies and causes doing good. Our Corps include accomplished agencies, firms and freelancers in all shapes and sizes, with diverse skills and services. We come together because we want to use our talents to build a better world. www.ideactioncorps.com

Job Description:  We are looking for an exceptionally organized, take-charge leader to help optimize our operational systems, processes and policies in support of our mission -- specifically, support better management reporting, information flow and management, business process and organizational planning. This position may be part or full time- depends on the person. Let’s talk about it.

Job Responsibilities Include:

  • Manage and optimize CRM and outreach tools and lists better integrating data and systems.
  • Optimize small business platform (Google Aps)
  • Develop a business outcomes dashboard to better track and assess progress against our business plan
  • Network with and research small business opportunities, certifications and trainings, including application for BEP
  • Manage new-business outreach, RFPs and proposals.
  • Implement a client and corps feedback system
  • Assist with scheduling
  • Assist with optimizing business processes that comply with B-Corp certification, complete B Corp re-certification
  • Project manage and coordinate some client work

Benefits include:

  • Affiliation with a dynamic and growing start up that that is at the center of the social impact movement in Chicago, building relationships with other Benefit Corporations and innovators across the Midwest.
  • An opportunity to dig in and learn more about Social Impact business.
  • The opportunity to work directly with the founder and president, who has broad and deep experience in marketing, communications, development, and influencer engagement
  • A flexible, remote work schedule. Access to a co-working space when needed, freedom to work from home, your neighborhood coffee shop, the beach or your bathroom (please don’t Skype from your bathroom).

Qualifications and Characteristics:

  • Bachelor’s degree and 5 years work experience in a business environment, juggling multiple role
  • You are an optimist, you believe the world can be a better place and you want to be a part of something that makes a difference
  • You can work independently, and thrive in an environment that has creative freedom and flexible schedules
  • You are crazy organized and like to come up with systems to manage data and plans that drive work processes. Spreadsheets and tracking systems make your heart pitter-patter.
  • You are a good writer. A really, really good writer
  • You appreciate that sometimes making a difference means doing less glamorous but critical tasks such as cleaning up list, scheduling, building a spreadsheet and doing some math
  • You LOVE technology. You know your way around Highrise, Basecamp, Mailchimp, Eventbright, Google Apps, Powerpoint, and social media tools. Not just willing to learn. You know it.

Cover letters and resumes should be emailed to:

Kelly O’Brien, kelly@ideactioncorps.com

Subject: Operations and Project Manager

Due date: May 31, 2014

No phone calls, please.

Kelly O'Brien is the President and Founder of Ideaction Corps, a full service social change agency whose clients include companies and causes doing good. She's passionate about helping people and organizations find the path to work with purpose, big ideas and infecting grace. She can be reached at @kellymobrien or @ideactioncorps on Twitter, or via the Ideaction Corps website.

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