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Teaching Youngsters about the Nonprofit Sector


I was surfing NPR’s website when I found this article about the documentary Teenage Paparazzo. The documentary was created by Entourage star Adrian Grenier and featured a 13-year-old paparazzo that approached him one day for a picture. The film quoted a recent study conducted for the book Fame Junkie by Jake Halpern. The study shows that teenage obsession with Hollywood culture has grown to the point where 42 percent of middle school-aged kids said that they want to be a celebrity’s personal assistant when they grow up.

It seems that middle-schoolers would rather be the “bag carrier” to a celebrity over some of the most coveted positions in the US, including CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a president of a college, a Navy SEAL, and a US Senator. The percentage rises to upwards of 80 percent for teenagers with low self-esteem.

There are many ways to look at this data, but I wanted to look at this from a philanthropic angle. What if the survey question included a sixth choice: president of a nonprofit? I’m sure that an overwhelming majority would still choose to be the celebrity’s assistant. But then again, perhaps the sixth option would resonate deeper with teens.

Many teenagers seem to have a zest for wanting to change the world, and so it seems a prime time in their lives to begin learning about careers available in the nonprofit realm. Teens can use this knowledge as they begin to plan out their future and apply to college.

College students also have an appetite for wanting to change the world. To that end, college students have the chance to benefit from the breath of information that GuideStar has to offer through the GuideStar for Education program. Imagine that: a teenager begins to learn about careers in nonprofit early on, continues learning while in college, and suddenly becomes president of a nonprofit! It beats carrying suitcases for a celebrity.

Have you discussed the potential careers of a nonprofit professional with your loved ones? How do you demonstrate that working for a nonprofit gives you the chance to impact the world in positive ways?                 (Adrian Grenier, source:



lindsay-nichols.jpgThe preceding is a guest blog post by Lindsay Nichols, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at America’s Charities, the leader in workplace giving and philanthropy. As a member of the organization’s senior leadership team, Lindsay guides and oversees the strategy and execution of all marketing and communications efforts with a major emphasis on strategy and tactics that support increased growth for the organization. Lindsay has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Philanthropy, NonProfit Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Public Radio, Dallas Morning News, and more.

Topics: Reviews Nonprofits