Make an Hour for Change

Reminder: Sunday, November 1st, set your clocks back an hour, as daylight savings time ends around the country and standard time resumes.

In case you are wondering how you can productively use that extra hour, check out Make Time for Change, a campaign that asks you to commit to devoting the extra 60 minutes to a child.

For every pledge on their website, the refrigerator company Frigidaire will donate a dollar to Save the Children’s Change program that provides healthy snacks and promotes healthy habits for U.S. kids.

Free login is required in order to pledge but you don’t have to give your phone number (you do have to share an email address they use to verify you) and you can opt out of receiving offers.

Volunteering and Service in Prime Time

Service becomes the theme of mainstream t.v. shows this week.

I’m so excited to watch t.v. this week because I want to see how television tackles volunteerism and service — if you haven’t heard, all week, prime time shows are taking true stories of volunteerism and nonprofit work and weaving into their plots.

More than 90 shows are participating (did you know there were 90 primetime shows in a week? I didn’t) and many stars are offering public service announcement style endorsements of community service.

Some examples of what I mean, according to the HollywoodReporter.com:

  • “Parks and Recreation” — the newish comedy starring Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler, as a local government leader — is featuring a playground build with an organization I’m a big fan of, KaBoom. Poehler’s character has been working to convert an abandoned and dangerous pit into a park and this week it’s finally going to happen with the help of KaBoom. Watch the episode here.
  • “The Biggest Loser” weight-loss contestants will volunteer at a Los Angeles food bank— here is the PSA airing as part of the show:
  • “Brothers” stars will volunteer as coaches.
  • “CSI: NY”‘s Dr. Sheldon Hawkes volunteers at a hospital.
  • Actors Simon Baker, Emily Deschanel, Eva Longoria Parker, Rainn Wilson, Kate Walsh along with some all-star casts will appear in PSAs.
  • General Hospital offers this direct reference to the iParticipate campaign with a few simple lines of diaologue:

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is trying to track the t.v. shows that feature volunteerism on a live blog. Let them know what you’ve seen on their website.

The initiative has been coordinated by the Entertainment Industry Foundation in partnership with Service Nation the campaign to expand service opportunities in the United States. The multi-year initiative is called iParticipate and you can learn more about it on the iParticipate website, and/or follow iParticipate on Twitter.

Should you Go to Grad School?

Guest post by Jung Fitzpatrick, who coordinates Idealist’s Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center.

The challenging thing about deciding to apply for graduate school is that each person’s situation is unique. Here are a few things to think about:

You can gain skills and knowledge in a number of ways.

Grad school is just one of them. If you feel you’re in a rut at your current job, perhaps you should talk to your supervisor to see if
you can take on new responsibilities or projects. You can also start looking for another job. If you are unemployed, you can always volunteer or intern with an organization – perhaps even proposing a project that would benefit the organization and allow you to learn and gain some new skills.

Alternatively you can sign up for classes such as continuing education courses or local professional development workshops.

Grad school costs money.

Unless you are applying for a doctoral level program that will fund your education, most professional masters programs charge tuition. Even with financial aid, mostly in the form of student loans, you will be responsible for the cost of your degree. There are some programs that offer free tuition to their students, but they are competitive and
usually have specific eligibility requirements. The National Urban Fellows is a full-tuition fellowship for mid-career professionals of color who are interested in getting a Masters in Public Administration. Forte Foundation works with business schools to recruit more women and offers full-tuition through its Forte Fellows program. These sorts of programs are few and far between, though.

With some research, flexibility and creativity, you may be able to reduce the cost of a graduate education. Read more about financing your graduate education.

There are alternatives to full-time graduate study.

You can work while you study, or get a certificate in a degree area. These alternatives may also help you afford further education.

If you’re unfazed by cost and really feel that grad school will give you an opportunity to achieve your goals, then you can read these articles for your next steps. You can also check to see if one of our remaining Idealist.org Graduate Degree Fairs for the Public Good is coming to a city near you this fall!

Best of luck!

Join the Online Career Chat “Breaking into the Sector”

This Thursday, October 8th at noon ET, Idealist.org will partner with the Chronicle of Philanthropy for an online chat on Breaking into the Sector.

An intensely competitive job market is making it harder than ever for recent graduates and established business professionals to break into careers in the nonprofit world.

  • What can you do to stand out from the crowd?
  • What can you do to make sure you are an attractive candidate for a great new role when conditions improve?
  • And if you do land a position, what should you do to make the most of your opportunity?

Career transition experts Meg Busse and Steve Joiner (authors of the Idealist.org Guides to Nonprofit Careers and our Career Corner advice column) and nonprofit leader Rosetta Thurman will answer these questions and more.

We hope you will join us Thursday.

Career Transitions: Exploring Your Options for Life After AmeriCorps

Contributed originally to the Nonprofit Career Month blog by Magdalena Montagne the Effective Practices Project Coordinator at the Resource Center.

People come to national and community service for a variety of reasons. As a young person, my desire to help children along with a love of reading led me to the America Reads program. I was considering becoming a teacher and this was one way I could check it out while also getting first-hand experience in several different classrooms (both elementary and middle school) and having the chance to observe some amazing teachers in action.

Of course, the real power was with the relationships I made with those students who were struggling to read. Every day I felt I was helping someone. This kept me engaged in a way that hadn’t happened in previous jobs, and before I knew it the service year was coming to a close. However, I hadn’t made a plan for what to do next. It wasn’t until several years — and several jobs — later, Continue reading

Civic Ventures Offers an Online Course to Help You Transition to Your Encore Career

A new online course helps mid-career professionals transition to a new career.

Marc Freedman, an career author, and the head of Civic Ventures, will be leading a four-art online course during Wednesday afternoons in October helping people to transition to an “encore” career — or a second career a person takes on typically in the “second half of life.” The course is part of the NY Times Knowledge Network.

  • Session #1, Oct. 7th, 6-7 pm ET, will provide an overview of the idea and phenomenon of encore careers.
  • Session #2, Oct. 14th, 6-7 pm ET, brings non-profit employers together to discuss what they’re looking for when Continue reading

Patrick Corvington Named as Likely Nominee for the Top CNCS Post

Patrick Corvington (from the CNCS website)

Patrick Corvington (from the CNCS website)

Friday, President Obama announced his intention to nominate Annie E. Casey Foundation senior associate Patrick Corvington as the C.E.O. of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) — the federal agency that oversees the AmeriCorps family of programs.

Corvington’s focus areas at Anne E. Casey Foundation have included next generation leadership development and capacity building with the foundation’s grantee organizations — themes that affect the work of AmeriCorps programs on the ground as well.

He co-authored Ready to Lead: Next Generation Leaders Speak Out a study that looked at the rising generation of nonprofit leaders’s reluctance to take on executive roles. He currently serves on the board of Echoing Green which offers highly competitive start-up fellowship funding for new nonprofit and social enterprise development, and he serves on the advisory board for American Humanics which educates college students about nonprofit leadership.

According to the press release from CNCS, Corvington also has “engaged directly with some of the top social innovation intermediaries.”

Other professional background details from the press release:

From 2003-2005, Corvington was Executive Director of Innovation Network, a non-profit agency whose Continue reading