Non-Profit / Social Justice / Activism

The mission of non-profit, social service and activist oriented organizations are to give back to the communities and populations they serve. If this sounds like something you would like to do, there are a variety of jobs and opportunities available from direct service to oversight and management—and everything in between.

Welcome to the Non-Profit / Social Impact / Activism Community

The mission of non-profits, advocacy, and social service organizations are to give back to the communities and populations they serve. Non-profits can act as the central hub of a community, and provide core resources, funding and space to organize around social justice issues that impact those they serve. Different kinds of non-profits have varying approaches to the work they do, so it is important to check out the mission, goals, and vision of the organizations you get involved with to make sure they align with your own values and belief systems. Regardless of the cause they champion, non-profits are answerable to their board of directors, who help guide the direction and funding of the organizations they advise. It is always good to see who is on the board of an organization you are interested in, and to see how active the members of the board are when it comes to the issues you care about. The work that non-profits engage in may include a variety of approaches such as research, advocacy, direct service, organizing, educating, activism and more!  If this sounds like something you would like to explore, there are a variety of jobs and opportunities available in this sector. There are also leadership and executive positions including HR, Finance and Management, as well as needs in IT and Data Analytics. Fundraising is a core function, as are Communications and PR to tell the story of the organization and help build up its capacity.  If you want to make a difference and impact social causes though your work, this is the place for you!

Sample Classes

Depending on your main area of interest, your academic pathway will shift. To explore this field, you can take courses that will provide you with knowledge and skills in:

  • Effective listening
  • Written & oral communication skills
  • Problem solving
  • Analytical thinking

In the Relevant Courses section below are a few examples of relevant SBS courses, but we urge you to talk to your major/departmental advisor and explore available courses in SPIRE. Remember not to constrain yourself to classes within your major.  Check SPIRE for full course descriptions and availability. These are abbreviated descriptions, and details may change at the discretion of the instructor.  Courses may not be offered every semester.

Also in this section are some relevant non-academic Linkedin Learning courses that you can take for free, compliments of UMass.

Looking to build skills this summer? Try these fantastic Job Simulations we’re offering via Forage & uConnect.

There is often a gap between the classroom and the world of work. Forage helps bridge that gap by offering top employers a platform to provide real-world job simulations for students.  Explore different types of jobs, find your career fit …

By Carol Sharick
Carol Sharick Director of Career and Professional Development for Undergraduates, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
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Ask Alexis | Should I Include Potentially Controversial Volunteer Experience On My Resume?

Dear Ask Alexis,

Over the last few years, I’ve been doing quite a bit of volunteering. I’m concerned, however, that some of my stints may be just a little controversial depending on the organization I’m applying to work for now …

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Idealist Careers
Idealist Careers | Helping you land, love, and grow in your social-impact career. And visit Idealist.org explore thousands of great jobs and social-impact organizations near you.
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5 Reasons You Might Be a Public Interest Technologist

UMass Amherst is a partner school with the Public Interest Technology (PiT) Initiative.

Members are focused on finding ways to use technology for good, and to limit the ways it is being used for harm.  If this sounds like you, …

By Carol Sharick
Carol Sharick Director of Career and Professional Development for Undergraduates, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
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Sidebar

Relevant SBS Courses

Your major does not necessarily have to be in direct line with your career! Sociology majors can work in the business sector. Economics majors can work in government. Poli Sci majors can work on Wall Street. Many SBS departments offer courses relevant to various career paths. Here is a very small sampling of courses relevant to this industry from across the majors. Please speak with your academic advisor to explore all available courses, and remember that you need not constrain yourself to courses within your major. Study what is interesting to you!

191 STPEC 2 – Pioneer Valley Political Activism & Community Organizing

191 STPEC 2 – Pioneer Valley Political Activism & Community Organizing: In this seminar, you will attend four meetings with local…

ANTHRO 104 – Culture, Society and People

ANTHRO 104 – Culture, Society and People: The nature of culture and its role in creating forms of social, economic,…

SOCIOL 224 – Social Class & Inequality

SOCIOL 224 – Social Class & Inequality: The nature of social classes in society from the viewpoint of differences in economic…

LEGAL 375 – Human Rights and Wrongs

LEGAL 375 – Human Rights and Wrongs: Introduction to humanitarian law. Topics include theory and history of international human rights law,…

ANTHRO 380 – Grassroots Community Organizing

ANTHRO 380 – Grassroots Community Organizing: This course examines how marginalized communities organize to combat racial, economic, and political injustices. Student…

COMM 352 – Group Dynamics

COMM 352 – Group Dynamics: The dynamics of decision-making groups. Topics include: leadership, networks, conformity, problem solving, mediation, and conflict resolution.

COMM 250 – Interpersonal Communication

COMM 250 – Interpersonal Communication: This course introduces non-majors to a variety of competing theories of interpersonal behavior and everyday social…

RESECON 121 – Hunger in the Global Economy

RESECON 121 – Hunger in the Global Economy: Explores the causes of hunger (chronic under nutrition) from an economic perspective. Focus on…

LEGAL 497N – Environmental Justice

LEGAL 497N – Environmental Justice: This course provides an exploration of the environmental justice (EJ) movement. Central to our study is…

LEGAL 465 – Globalization

LEGAL 465 – Globalization: The globalization of law, culture, and politics. Competing arguments about the meaning and effects of globalization.…

LEGAL 391F – Law & the Family

LEGAL 391F – Law & the Family: Who has traditionally had the right to parent, and what has been the role…

SOCIOL 222: The Family

SOCIOL 222: The Family: Historical transformations in family life (relationships between husbands and wives, position and treatment of children, importance…

ECON 105: Intro to Political Economy

ECON 105: Intro to Political Economy: Facts and concepts basic to understanding the U.S. economy today. Topics may include: unemployment,…

Skill-Building With Linkedin Learning Classes

See below for skill-building classes – visit LinkedIn Learning for more.

Build a Successful Career in Project Management

Oliver Yarbrough
Do you want to get into project management? Maybe you’re already in project management, but you want to grow. Either…

The Core Competencies All Employers Seek

Some skills are universally sought by employers and are essential to a well functioning team.  Stand out from the crowd…

Media Relations Foundations

Jessica Chen
View Jessica’s LinkedIn Newsletter If you want your business to succeed, you need as much brand recognition as you can…

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Essential Training (2021)

Corey Koberg
Google Analytics 4 provides the means to track, analyze, and report on the visitors to your site and app—who they…

Nonprofit Management Foundations

Leslie Crutchfield
Thinking about leading a nonprofit organization? Internationally renowned author Leslie Crutchfield provides a primer on nonprofit management and leadership. She…

Emerging Leader Foundations

Dan Schawbel
View Dan’s LinkedIn Newsletter Taking on a leadership role in the diverse, ever-changing modern workplace can feel both exhilarating and…

Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365)

Dennis Taylor
Get up to speed with Microsoft Excel, the world’s most popular spreadsheet program. Follow along with Excel expert Dennis Taylor…

PowerPoint: Designing Better Slides

Heather Ackmann
Designed for non-designers, this course introduces average business professionals to key design components and requirements for purposeful PowerPoint slide design.…

Learning Excel 2016

David Rivers
This beginner-level course will introduce new users to Excel 2016. Author David Rivers covers the interface, creating and opening workbooks,…

You Need a Career Development Plan

Macmillan Publishers
You can’t navigate your way to career success without first plotting a course. Having a career development strategy can be…

Creating a Business Plan

Mike Figliuolo
View Mike’s LinkedIn Newsletter Looking to build a business or expand one you’re already running? You’ll need to build a…

How to Be More Inclusive

Madecraft
Creating an inclusive workplace, where every employee feels welcomed, valued, respected, and heard, requires both structural change to your company…

PowerPoint Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365)

Jess Stratton
You don’t have to be a designer to create a great visual presentation. Learn how to use Microsoft PowerPoint for…

Business Analysis Foundations: Business Process Modeling

Haydn Thomas
When you’re trying to grapple with user demands and market changes, it can be difficult to mentally zoom out and…

The Secrets to Success at Work

Nigel Cumberland
Regardless of your profession or career stage, you can excel and be successful at work. In this course, Nigel Cumberland—a…

Six Sigma Foundations

Richard Chua
Learn how to apply Six Sigma to drive improvements in the performance of your processes, products, and services. Dr. Richard…

Learn Emotional Intelligence, the Key Determiner of Success

Big Think
Explore the four domains of emotional intelligence—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management—as defined by psychologist and author Daniel Goleman.…

Outlook Quick Tips (2017)

Nick Brazzi
Get quick answers to your most urgent Outlook questions. These short tutorials help users work faster and smarter with Outlook,…

Public Speaking Foundations

Laura Bergells
Develop the skills you need to prepare and deliver an outstanding speech or presentation. In this course, Laura Bergells offers…

Cert Prep: PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®

Kelley O'Connell
The agile approach to project management can help companies respond faster and more effectively to change. As a result, having…

Explore Outcomes

The SBS Office of Career & Professional Development annually surveys graduating seniors in order to provide a snapshot of their post-graduation plans.  The survey begins just prior to graduation, and continues until six months after graduation.  Our data collection process is guided by the industry standard put forth by the National Association of Colleges & Employers, and includes information collected by the SBS Office of Career & Professional Development, the Office of Institutional Research at UMass Amherst, and by various academic departments, as well as from information that is made publicly available by students.  The SBS undergraduate outcomes knowledge rate for 2020 was 60%, though knowledge rate varies among departments.

The SBS Office of Career & Professional Development annually surveys graduating seniors in order to provide a snapshot of their post-graduation plans.  The survey begins just prior to graduation, and continues until six months after graduation.  Our data collection process is guided by the industry standard put forth by the National Association of Colleges & Employers, and includes information collected by the SBS Office of Career & Professional Development, the Office of Institutional Research at UMass Amherst, and by various academic departments, as well as from information that is made publicly available by students.  The SBS undergraduate outcomes knowledge rate for 2021 was just shy of 60%, though knowledge rate varies among departments.

  • First Destination
  • Top Employers
  • Starting Salary
  • Job Titles
  • Employment Locations
  • Top Universities
  • Degree Types
  • Fields of Study

First Destination

SBS graduates pursue a range of plans after graduation, including employment, continuing education, and volunteering/service, among others.  This graph depicts what recent SBS graduates tell us they are doing within six months after graduation.

Professionals In-Residence / Industry Experts

Cristina Sunkel

Professionals In-Residence / Industry Experts
  • Washington, DC
  • Independent Consultant

Student Success Stories

Featured Resources