Those who choose to work for non-profit organizations look for a purpose and not just a paycheck, Notre Dame graduate Raymond C. Offenheiser said Tuesday evening.
Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, a non-profit international development and relief agency, delivered the keynote address at the eighth annual Making a Living, Making a Difference program, held in the Andrews Auditorium of Geddes Hall.
The event, co-sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns and the Career Center, offers students information about the non-profit sector and an opportunity to explore career paths in public service.
“You can make a good living and a good life in non-profit service,” he said. “Non-profit organizations span the political spectrum and seek employees with all kinds of talents.”
According to Offenheiser, working for a non-profit means working in a world where learning never stops.
“Social change happens right before your eyes and there is a constant stream of new issues,” he said. “You can never get bored at a non-profit organization.”
Offenheiser said it is rewarding to know you are making a difference in someone else’s life.
“Working for a non-profit is intellectually stimulating and will fill your life with meaning, purpose and satisfaction,” he said.
Although salaries tend to be lower in the public sector, there are more generous social benefits than in the private sector and you are able to receive more responsibility earlier, Offenheiser said.
“The greatest thing about non-profit work is that it puts social teaching and social values at the core,” he said. “You engage in direct service and are driven by a certain mission.”
Offenheiser’s agency, Oxfam America, an affiliate of Oxfam International, works to fight poverty and injustice around the world.
“In practice, we are frontline responders to natural disasters and work with other organizations that seek to address poverty,” he said.
“Working for a non-profit has given me a chance to bond with some of the most amazing people I have ever met,” Offenheiser said. “My colleagues make me want to get up in the morning. The quality of people working in the non-profit sector is amazing.”
The evening concluded with an information fair, featuring representatives from various non-profit organizations and a fireside chat with Offenheiser.