Finding an internship in a nonprofit organization

If you’re considering a career in the nonprofit sector, you are not alone. There are over 1 million nonprofits in the U.S., employing about 10% of the work force. Nonprofit organizations are driven by a cause rather than by making a profit. People often think of nonprofits as youth centers and soup kitchens, but they also include religious institutions, universities, hospitals, trade associations and unions, and museums. A great way to learn if a nonprofit career is for you is to try it out for yourself by interning or volunteering in one. Last summer, 13% of The College students interned in a public interest, social service, or cultural organization and an additional 37% worked for an education, healthcare, or government employer. (Career Services Summer 2011 Survey)

There are many ways to find a nonprofit internship and you should use multiple methods to increase your chances.  The pie chart below shows how students found out about their nonprofit internship last summer.

If you’re looking for an internship in a nonprofit this summer, you may start with some of these resources below. As you go through the internship search process, also feel free to consult with a Career Services counselor who can help you tailor your search to your goals.


  • Penn Internship Networka listing of Penn students who have volunteered to speak with others about their summer internships:  
  • Penn Alumni Career Network (PACNet) – a database of Penn Alumni who have volunteered to be contacted with career-related questions. Although it is not appropriate to ask PACNet advisors for jobs, they can provide a wealth of information on career fields and employment outlooks.

 Online Job Sites

  • – Listings of domestic and international opportunities (full time, internships & fellowships) with non-profits.
  • Opportunityknocks.orgOpportunity Knocks is the national online job site focused exclusively on the nonprofit community.
  • Career Resources by Field on the CS website – With information on, links to, and speaker/panel notes on careers including: nonprofit, philanthropy, policy, think tanks, social services, government, politics, environment, advocacy, education, and international development
  • CS Online SubscriptionsPassword sites like:,,,,,
  • Riley – On Nonprofits, Foundations & ThinkTanks

Other Career Services Leads

  • PennLink -Penn’s Online Job Search System and On Campus Recruiting.
  • iNet – Online Internship Search System with consortium of universities across the country.

Special Programs at Penn

Author: Helen Cheung

Helen Cheung is an Associate Director in Career Services for College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates.