Updated: Mar 27, 2022
In conversation with Nina von Stebut, Director for People & Culture at ChildFund Australia
When most students think of how one could get involved with nonprofits, the first few words that come to most student’s minds are: volunteering, fundraising and donating. However, have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in the non-for-profit sector as your full-time career? Australia’s non-for-profit sector is a rewarding one to work in for those passionate about social change and as a strong alternative to the corporate sector.
In conversation with ChildFund Australia, we examine what pursuing a modern career in the NFP sector could look like. ChildFund Australia is a non-for-profit organisation that, as a member of the global ChildFund Alliance, has been monumental in assisting 23 million children and their families in over 70 countries. Specifically, ChildFund Australia itself has an impact that extends internationally. By helping oversee programs in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Vietnam and assisting partner programs in Asia and America, the impact of their work is far-reaching.
We were lucky enough to speak with Nina von Stebut, the Director for People & Culture at ChildFund Australia to get an insight into the organisation and what it means to work at an NFP.
How would you describe ChildFund Australia’s mission?
That is a good question and gives me an opportunity to share our vision and mission with you, i.e. ChildFund Australia is a non-profit organisation that envisions a world without poverty where all children and young people can say: “I am safe. I am educated, I contribute. I have a future”.
And our mission is to create community and systemic change that enables vulnerable children and youth in all their diversity to assert and realise their rights.
What are the responsibilities associated with your role at ChildFund Australia?
As the Director for People & Culture at ChildFund Australia, I am in charge of the whole HR value chain within our People & Culture team in Sydney, in close collaboration with our 6 country offices located in the Asia-Pacific region. This role includes supporting organisational and people growth, maximising staff potential and discovering new forms of learning.
What made you choose to work in the non-profit sector, specifically with ChildFund Australia?
Having previously worked at University and the corporate sector, it is important for me to work with like-minded people on a purpose that I believed in strongly. Working in NFPs in particular brings purpose to a different level.
What positions might be available to a university graduate seeking to work in the non-profit sector?
At ChildFund Australia, there are 3 key departments: Public Engagement (Marketing and Fundraising), Programs and Operations (IT, HR, Finance) and all are open to get university graduates on board. This means that university graduates can combine existing skill sets learnt from their degrees with their passion to create social change by working in the NFP sector.
However, it is also realistic to keep in mind that the number of positions available is dependent on the scale of the non-for-profit. As a relatively smaller organisation like ChildFund Australia whose office is run by about 65 staff, positions may not be available immediately but students can keep on the lookout for opportunities that arise.
Lastly, do you have any advice for university students who are interested in pursuing a career in social impact? How would one go about working in an NFP?
Build a better understanding of the non-for-profit sector and how you see yourself fitting into it! This can be done through talking to people to get a better understanding of how the sector ticks. As an example, if one is interested in working with vulnerable children, one needs to understand that working at an organisation such as ChildFund Australia could involve targeting key factors such as systems strengthening, ensuring sustainable family incomes and access to good education for these children to name a few.
Ensure you also gain experience by seeking out internships in the non-for-profit sector whilst at university. For those who are seeking to work in international non-for-profit - if permissible, it is desirable to go abroad to gain experience first. However, be mindful of which international opportunities to pursue. Certain international opportunities such as working within an orphanage are not a good idea. Some of those orphanages only exist because the volunteers pay for the experience and for the opportunity to work there. It is a business model and most of the children actually have families. It is always good to join a program with a reputable organisation and scrutinise where you go.
Thanks again to Nina from ChildFund Australia for taking the time to participate in this interview! To learn more about the important work conducted by ChildFund Australia, please visit their website here.
If you are interested in building experience in working with non-for-profits, please also consider applying to join us at 180DC UNSW. With project cycles open twice a year (T1-T2 and T2-T3), there are valuable opportunities to work directly as a consultant with NFPs such as ChildFund Australia. Please also like or follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to keep updated with us.