A common misconception about nonprofit organizations is that wages aren’t as high as their private industry counterparts. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Nonprofits might actually pay higher because nonprofits do not benefit from the cost reductions of paying lower wages in the same way that for-profit employers do.” For those pursuing a career in business, working for a nonprofit organization can help to achieve professional and altruistic goals.

The Future Founders Foundation is a non-profit organization that inspires Chicago’s low-income youth to explore and practice entrepreneurship. President and CEO Scott Issen offers some advice for others looking to go into the nonprofit sector.

(Photo Courtesy of Scott Issen)

(Photo Courtesy of Scott Issen)

What is your educational background?

“I earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with majors in marketing and finance. This provided a tremendous foundation for my work as an entrepreneur, giving me a toolkit with strategic and operational skills that I can leverage whenever I need it. My coursework helped me to hone my critical-thinking skills, develop stronger time management strategies, and learn how to multi-task effectively. It prepared me to participate in thousands of meetings in my career – no matter what the topic was. Business school teaches you how to bridge the gap between idea and execution.”

What has inspired you?

“I was inspired to become a social entrepreneur and run an organization because it combines my passions of business, entrepreneurship and empowering talented young people. We offer programs to connect students with mentors from various professions and provide engaging project-based learning experiences for grades 2-12. From 2005 to present, our programs have served over 22,500 students.”

What advice can you give others going into this field?

“Explore subjects you’re passionate about and others with which you aren’t too familiar. Financial Accounting was by far the most relevant subject I took in college, and is something I use on a daily basis. Even if you’re not majoring in a financial field, you will have more credibility if you can communicate effectively with finance/accounting folks. Supplement your education with real-world experiences, and start networking early and often – the best opportunities come from your connections.”

Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.