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Government and Non-profits

Careers in government and non-profits are wide-ranging and often intellectually and personally rewarding. 

Career Paths in Government and Non-profits Include: 

Grant Writer

Grant writers research and locate private and public grants, write proposals to fund various projects, and coordinate grant budgets. They often work for non-profit organizations and corporations.  

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Research and evaluate grant opportunities
  • Read scholarship related to grant projects
  • Possess excellent analytical and rhetorical skills
  • Write grant proposals
  • Develop grant budgets
  • Edit and proofread documents to ensure clarity and correctness
  • Interact with project officers at granting agencies
  • Possess strong organizational and time management skills

Where They Work

Grant writers are often employed by businesses, government agencies, and universities.  Companies and organizations that have recently posted jobs for grant writers in California include the Boys and Girls Club, RAFT, various universities, and the American Red Cross.


As experts in information science, librarians locate, organize and evaluate various forms of information, and help others to do the same.  One typically thinks of the reference librarian helping patrons to track down a book or article, or to tackle a complex research question.  Librarians, however, do other kinds of work as well, such as developing special collections and archives for museums, universities, and companies; managing a library’s electronic databases; overseeing library acquisitions; teaching information literacy workshops; and planning library events for the community. Medical librarians in hospitals, insurance companies, and universities may also assist patrons with locating medical and health-related information. 

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Have deep interest in the organization and dissemination of information
  • Locate and evaluate material from various sources and media
  • Assist patrons with researching, assessing, and using sources effectively
  • Build and maintain library collections and archives
  • Coordinate library events

Where They Work

Librarians often work in public schools, universities, research institutions, city libraries, museums, and businesses.  Companies and organizations that have recently posted jobs for librarians in California include Orinda Union School District, USC, Stanford University, City of Redlands, Saalex Solutions, City GIA, City of Hope, and Getty Research Institute in Valencia.

Think Tank Researcher

A think tank is an organization that investigates social and economic trends, problems, and policies.  Think tank research projects might address such varied topics as health care in developing countries, religious beliefs of U.S. millennials, and cyber threats on tech companies, among many other issues.  The results of such investigations are meant to inform government policy and raise public awareness.  It is not uncommon for think tank research to be cited in the news and other popular media.  Some think tanks have particular political leanings (e.g., progressive, conservative, libertarian or centrist), while others are non-partisan. Think tanks employ research analysts and research assistants, as well as communications personnel. 

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Examine social, economic, and environmental issues of interest to policy makers and the general public
  • Read and synthesize previous research
  • Collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data
  • Write research reports and articles
  • Prepare presentations
  • Work independently as well as collaborate with a research team
  • Have excellent analytical reading and writing skills

Where They Work

Frequently-cited think tanks include RAND Corporation, Brookings Institution, American Enterprise Institute, CATO Institute, Human Rights Watch, Earth Institute, Kaiser Family Foundation, and others.   

Education and Additional Requirements

Think tank researchers come from a range of backgrounds. While those in senior research positions typically have PhDs, a think tank may also employ those with bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

Policy Analyst

Policy Analysts study government policies and their effects on individuals, communities, demographic groups or natural habitats.  A policy analyst, for example, might examine the impact of student loan policies on economic growth, rent control laws on homelessness, or cap-and-trade regulations on Inland Empire pollution levels.  Policy analysts are often employed by government agencies, think tanks, labor unions, and consulting firms.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Study actual or projected effects of government policies on individuals, communities, or natural habitats
  • Read and synthesize previous policy research
  • Collect quantitative and qualitative data
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Prepare reports and presentations
  • Have excellent analytical reading, writing, and interpretive skills

Where They Work

Policy analysts often work for government agencies, think tanks, consulting firms, and large organizations and companies.  Companies and organizations that have recently posted jobs for policy analysts in California include Acumen LLC, the Institute for College Access and Success, and Apple.


Speechwriters compose speeches and other communiqués for government officials, political candidates, and executives in the public and private sector.  Speechwriters play an important role in representing and shaping a leader’s message for various audiences.  Their words may at times even turn the tide of history. 

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Prepare speeches, public addresses, presentations, statements, and talking points for government officials, political candidates, and non-profit and corporate executives
  • Collaborate with others, including the speech-givers
  • Be keenly sensitive to audience, context, purpose, and voice
  • Carefully research and fact-check speech content
  • Have excellent writing, revising, and editing skills

Where They Work

Speechwriters often work for government officials, political campaigns, and large organizations and companies.  Companies and organizations that have recently posted jobs for speechwriters in California include Google, T-Solution, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and CSUSB’s Office of Strategic Communications.

Political Campaign Manager

Political campaign managers oversee campaigns for ballot measures and candidates.  They plan campaign activities, including speeches, fundraisers, rallies, press releases, phone banking, advertising, and get-out-the-vote events. 

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Coordinate multiple aspects of a political campaign
  • Plan and implement campaign strategies
  • Shape messages for particular audiences
  • Manage campaign budgets
  • Hire and oversee campaign staff, volunteers, and consultants
  • Possess excellent communication skills, both spoken and written
  • Be an effective team-builder

Where They Work

Political campaign managers often work for political candidates, unions, and grassroots groups.  Organizations that have recently posted jobs for political campaigns in California include SEIU Local 521, Grassroots Campaigns, and NextGen America.


Lobbyists communicate the views of special interest groups to lawmakers, including members of Congress.  They aim to influence how lawmakers write or vote on legislation related to particular issues—immigrant rights, health insurance, clean energy, housing development, transportation, and many others.  Lobbyists are thus key players in local, state, and national politics.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Represent the concerns of special interest groups to lawmakers in local, state, and federal government
  • Meet regularly with special interest groups and lawmakers
  • Understand the details of pending legislation, and persuade lawmakers to write and support legislation that serves their group’s interests
  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills

Where They Work

Lobbyists often work for large corporations, labor unions, advocacy groups, and lobbying firms. Companies and organizations that have recently posted jobs for lobbyist-related positions in California include Verizon, Google, and the California Teachers Association.

Fundraising Coordinator

Fundraising Coordinators, also called Development Directors, oversee fundraising for various non-profit organizations, including universities, charities, health research organizations, and political campaigns.  Their work may include setting fundraising goals, strategizing on fundraising initiatives, applying for grants, cultivating individual and corporate donors, tracking progress, managing staff and volunteers, and coordinating fundraising events such as walks, auctions, contests, and galas.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Develop and execute fundraising strategies, including online campaigns, corporate sponsorships, and social events
  • Cultivate new donors and maintain relationships with existing donors
  • Give presentations and write report
  • Oversee and train volunteers and staff members
  • Possess excellent communication skills, both spoken and written
  • Be highly organized and detail-oriented

Where They Work

Fundraising coordinators may work for a specific organization or for consulting firms that serve multiple clients.  Organizations that have recently posted jobs for fundraising coordinators in California include FACESS, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Hispanic Scholarship Fund.