There is something wonderful about knowing that you are working for a non-profit organization. You know that without a doubt you are going to be helping someone deserving each time you go to work. If you are interested in a non-profit career, you should know that there are likely to be some big differences between your current job and the one you are about to accept.
The biggest difference when you have a non-profit career is that you are going to have to make sure that it is very obvious just how important you are to the organization that you are working for. Non-profit organizations never have enough money, and they need to justify every penny that they spend. This means that you are going to be expected to present regular itemized expense reports on a very consistent basis and that you had better be able to justify every expense you list.
Work reviews are also going to be something you experience with some regularity. Since non-profits are so conscious of the amount of money that is getting spent, they are constantly going to be looking at the performance of their paid employees and trying to decide if they can afford to justify the salary.
The other thing you are going to have to prepare yourself for is working with a committee. The type of committee you work for is going to depend on the size of your organization. Large organizations like the Red Cross have committees that are made up of people who have been involved in the program professionally. Smaller programs have committee members who come from all sorts of walks of life, and the only thing they often have in common is their belief in their organization. The important thing to remember when you are dealing with a committee is that it takes them awhile to make a final decision and it usually involves a great deal of debate.
If you have never been involved in a non-profit organization before, you should first start volunteering before making a career change. The time that you spend volunteering will give you a true behind the scenes glimpse into the inner workings of the organization and the people you will be working with.