Several individuals in the world of the non-profits have been very helpful. They have taken the time to meet or speak with me on the phone. The first thing that I observe is that most non-profits look and act a lot like for profits. The biggest differences are in mission and money. They are not operating to make money and often rely on fund raising to finance their mission. I think that this also affects the internal politic of these organizations as well.
Their needs from a hiring perspective are not that different either. I hear them say how important communication skills and professionalism are for the people who work for them. They do seem to place a higher emphasis on prospects understanding and buying-in to mission than you might see with a lot of for-profits. I am also interested in how many of them like having interns or who are interested in developing internships. Some of the recent discussions about pay versus non-pay internships are affecting their decisions on this, as well as staffing to oversee these programs.
I for one would love the opportunity to work with a non-profit to develop internships and also to work with interns themselves as new professionals.