People care about companies that seek to do good and make a positive social impact. In a recent survey, 87% of Americans said they would purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about. Meanwhile, 64% of CEOs say that corporate social responsibility is core to their business, with companies focusing on building it into their culture.
However, there are also organizations for which doing good is their entire reason to be.
While corporate companies can practice social responsibility through sponsorships, donations or even offering employees paid time off to volunteer, those who choose to work at nonprofit organizations spend 100% of their time dedicated to making a difference.
There are a lot of myths surrounding nonprofit work, such as the belief that there’s no clear career path or that the work mainly involves unpaid, service-related tasks. In reality, the nonprofit sector is the third-largest employer in the country following the retail trade industry and manufacturing industry. Employees at nonprofits also have many opportunities to learn and grow in fields ranging from web design to accounting, communications, IT, lobbying and more.
Working at a nonprofit can be a profoundly rewarding experience. But which are our top-rated workplaces in the sector this year? Our data analytics team looked beyond the news headlines, analyzing data from over 100 million ratings and reviews listed on Indeed Company Pages to find out.
Communities in Schools jumps from fifth spot to first
There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S., spanning a range of causes. However, at the top of the list we see educational nonprofit Communities in Schools (CIS). CIS, which aims to build relationships with at-risk students and encourage them to stay in school, jumped from its number-five place last year to claim the number-one spot.
Employees in CIS work directly in 2,300 schools in 25 states and DC to help 1.56 million students (as of last year) live up to their full potential, and they are clearly doing a good job of it, as 93% of CIS seniors graduated high school or received a GED in the 2016-2017 school year.
In fact, eight of our 20 top-rated nonprofits target youths, such as the number-two-ranked Boy Scouts of America, which jumped two places up from last year’s rankings. The BSA was founded in 1910 with the goal of training young boys in responsible citizenship, character development and self-reliance.
Famous alumni include civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., legendary film director Steven Spielberg and Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon. Recently, the BSA announced it would drop “Boy” from its name and start welcoming older girls to the organization next year, as well as start accepting younger girls into the Cub Scouts.
Finishing in third place is the International Rescue Committee, which makes its debut in our Top-Rated Workplaces rankings. The global humanitarian aid and relief organization was initially founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein after he and thousands of other Jews fled persecution in Nazi Germany, and it now offers assistance and relief to refugees and those displaced by war, natural disasters and more.
Rounding out the top five are Habitat for Humanity (#4), which seeks to build affordable homes for low-income families, as well as AARP (#5), which among other things aims to make life better and more purposeful for older Americans by providing the training and resources necessary to get them back into the workforce.
Diverse causes round out the rankings
The rest of the list features nonprofits that address a diverse mix of causes, with many health care nonprofits included, such as Alzheimer’s Association (#10), Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (#13), American Heart Association (#16) and Planned Parenthood (#19).
We also see PRIDE Industries (#18), one of the nation’s largest employers of people with disabilities, which seeks to help their members overcome employment obstacles and lead productive, independent lives. Recently, PRIDE Industries was awarded a multiyear janitorial services contract with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Another top-rated nonprofit is YWCA (#15), which works for the empowerment and rights of women worldwide. Two of their special initiatives include their “Stand Against Racism” campaign, which aims to raise awareness on the negative impact of racism in our communities, and their “Week Without Violence” initiative, which is part of a global movement to end gender-based violence.
So what are the top five nonprofits doing right? Let’s take a deeper dive into what employees are saying.
The top five — what are they doing right?
HQ: Alexandria, Virginia
Communities in Schools aims to keep kids in schools and combat the high dropout rate common among low-income students. In the last school year alone, 99% of case-managed students stayed in school, and 88% of them met or made progress toward their academic improvement goals.
“CIS provides an amazing opportunity for individuals who are passionate about making an impact on today's youth,” says one employee. “The company allows you the opportunity to manage and oversee a school while receiving the development and training needed to be a successful coordinator.”
Others also praise the “supportive management team” and flexible “work/life balance,” and they say Communities in Schools is a great place to work if you love helping kids. Another employee says the organization’s vision to see students excel in academia is a big part of what makes the work experience so enjoyable and rewarding.
The Boy Scouts of America aims to build character in future leaders by encouraging the youth to participate in outdoor activities and educational programs.
But it’s not just the kids who love it there. One reviewer says the staff is like a “big family” and praises the fair evaluations and good communication between employees and managers. The reviewer adds, “The benefits are very good, and you feel like what you are doing matters” but cautions that the hours can be long in field-related positions.
Another employee says that although she was the only female and person of color, she “felt very much a part of the team.” Although she has another job now, she says she’ll never forget the “wonderful experience” and “caring people.”
One employee who volunteers and works during the summer at camp says the experience is always a lot of fun, adding that “helping youth become responsible and resourceful adults is an incredible experience.”
HQ: New York, New York
The IRC was initially founded in 1933 in response to the events of WWII. Nowadays, the organization offers emergency aid and assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution or natural disaster.
An employee enjoys the “challenging and rewarding” atmosphere and says the combination of a “diverse staff” and “great management team” makes the environment one where you can thrive. The staff also works together as a family in order to address the needs of clients.
Another employee praises the opportunity to “work with people from different cultures around the world.” Said the reviewer, “As someone looking for personal interactions with other people, this place is the best. You get to work within close, small groups, and you feel like you are truly helping someone out.”
HQ: Atlanta, GA
Habitat for Humanity has been devoted to building affordable housing for low-income families internationally since it was founded in 1976. Former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, have been helping build homes with the nonprofit since 1984. Recently, the organization helped families in Texas rebuild their homes after the destruction left by Hurricane Harvey last year.
One employee learned about time management and how to interact with direct reports. The employee says the best part of working at Habitat is the “relationships forged with the homeowners” and seeing people “accomplish their dreams of home ownership.”
Another reviewer says, “The job definitely taught me how to work as a team player. The most enjoyable part of it was being a part of a project where you literally built a house from the ground up to provide a family with a place to call a home.”
We’re living in an aging population, with census data showing that by 2030, older people are expected to outnumber children for the first time in US history. The goal of AARP (formerly American Association of Retired Persons) is to help older Americans remain physically and intellectually active by serving others. One way they do this is through providing resources and training; for example, they just released an AARP “for dummies” book called Navigating Your Later Years for Dummies.
One employee says the most rewarding thing about working for AARP is “the ability to help people who are 55-plus get back into the workforce and allay their fears.” Another likes the “strong culture of mentoring” that helps ensure employees develop the skills necessary for long-term success in their careers.
The reviewers also praised the “diversified staff” that was like a “support network” and the “incredibly positive, ambitious and energetic people who are always there to support you in and out of the workplace.