A Career in Philanthropic Project Management

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I get asked a lot about the kinds of issues that a project manager will face in a certain industry. Those are very difficult questions for me to answer because the simple fact is that every organization in that industry is different—and even within an individual organization, the PM experience can be extremely varied.

There may be some similarities shared by most PMs in (say) the oil and gas industry, but there will be many more differences. Some of the similarities will be shared with PMs in other industries—as will many of the differences. It’s therefore very difficult to generalize about what project management in a certain industry is like. But that’s not going to stop me trying when it comes to project management in the not-for-profit or charity sectors.

This month’s ProjectManagement.com theme is philanthropy, and that gives me an opportunity to look at an industry that doesn’t get much attention. It’s also a sector that does have a number of unique challenges. The caution above still applies—there are many different challenges from one organization to the next, and many of the PM challenges will be common across all industries.

However, there are some considerations that a project manager seeking a career in the not-for-profit sector must allow for. That’s what I want to look at in this article, with …

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"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."

- George Bernard Shaw