- Working in an NGO needs self-motivation, as finding sustainable solutions to problems is a constant challenge.
- Without empathy towards under-privileged, it is impossible to sustain in this industry.
- Involves a lot of fieldwork. So, people who prefer desk job and air-conditioned office shouldn’t join this profession.
- This profession is relatively less paying than corporate jobs and hence one will always be tempted to switch sectors seeing friends being able to spend a lot on luxuries.
- However, this job is highly rewarding in terms of self-satisfaction.
Name – Preeti Pande
Profession – Senior Program Manager, Agrasar
Age – 27
Gender – Female
City – New Delhi
Industry – NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
Where have you been born and raised?
I was born in Nainital, a hill-station in the state of Uttarakhand in India. My father has been associated with the tourism department of the state government. His elder brothers have retired as teachers of the senior secondary school. I am the eldest of 3 siblings, the younger ones being twins (1 brother, 1 sister).
Who all had the most influence on you and how?
I have adored my father all my life. His selflessness and patience are something I wish to acquire. Also, my grandmother was a major in influence while growing up, just the way she was able to deal with problems in the family and having fun with kids.
Please give us a summary of your career
I started my career in Media industry in 2009 in Hindustan Times, then moved to All India Radio & Zee. After that, I changed the industry and moved to NGO sector with my first job in Rise NGO in 2013. Since then, I have served in various NGOs and currently working in Agrasar NGO.
Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?
In my opinion, following are the best institutes in India to get prepared in this industry:
What are the costs associated with the education/training of this profession?
The tuition cost varies, and you can expect it around INR 30K-40K per semester. Undergraduate degrees are generally of 3 years duration, with 2 semesters per year and Post-graduate degrees are usually of 2 years.
How does one enter in this profession?
Though you can enter this profession even after an undergraduate degree, I highly recommend Master’s degree in Social work or Management degree in Social/Rural Management, so that you can reach the higher echelons in this industry.
Above all, you should have grit and passion to want to contribute to the society. Just to get a flavor of this profession, you can start volunteering for various NGOs and social causes while in school/college.
What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?
5 yrs. experience – 6 to 8 Lakhs per annum
10 yrs. experience – 10 to 12 Lakhs per annum
15 yrs. experience – 15 to 20 Lakhs per annum
20+ yrs. experience – 30 Lakhs per annum
Please describe your work.
My office hours are 9:30 am to 5:30 pm with a half an hour lunch in between. My day to day activity typically includes managing funders, operations, creation and adherence to processes, people management, etc.
I also conduct training for Aanganwadi workers and teachers, capacity building and leadership development.
What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider a career in NGO?
There are great work-life balance and a sense of constant gratification. The feeling of being able to contribute to the society and to the life of an individual in the true sense is beyond measure. People narrate their stories with a smile and that is enough for me to go to sleep every night.
What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?
Drastic pay-drop is one of the biggest challenges of joining this sector. No perks, no fancy hotels, and no free-lunches discourage many, who wish better lifestyle.
It gets immensely frustrating at times because the underprivileged you are working for, refuse to co-operate even when they are aware that what you are doing is going to benefit them eventually. The status-quo is difficult to break.
Also, your team may not have the most competent people, so to be able to work with them becomes another challenge.
What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding a premium in your job profile?
- Ability to think strategically
- High problem solving
- Passion for changing lives
- Ability to work in a team
What kind of person would be happy in your career?
Someone, who is happy to earn a little less and is self-motivated. The job has the ability to drain and frustrate you sooner than the jobs in other sectors.
Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?
I wish I would have made a better choice in terms of choosing the college I went to and studied more relevant courses.
Also, I should have started with the organization that was relatively much more impact-oriented.
What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?
There are a lot of complex societal problems waiting to be solved. Therefore, there is no dearth of opportunities and growth in this profession. However, you have to decide whether this is your calling!
Contributing Writer – Aparna Bisht