Casey Strader is a 23 year old graduate student who grew up in West Virginia. Four months ago, she packed up her stuff and moved across the country. Hoping to find a sports related job, she landed a nonprofit job instead. It just so happened that this nonprofit job allowed her to work in sports. Strader works for the United Way World Wide. Within UWW there is a campaign known as TEAM NFL, which is the team she is a part of. Each NFL team has one player that is their “TEAM NFL” player representative. Strader works with the Seattle Seahawks. For the Seattle Seahawks the player representative is Cliff Avril.
“Did you know that about 1.2 million students fail to graduate high school each year?” asked Strader. “The United Way TEAM NFL players from each team have joined to help keep kids in school. Each player has a goal to register 3,000 pledges to his cause to keep kids in school by June 2014. This is where what I do comes into play. It is my goal to get the 3,000 pledges for Cliff Avril’s TEAM NFL campaign. I am developing social media marketing plans with Twitter and Facebook. I am also the one in charge of reaching out to the local college and universities to get pledges from the student body. We are currently developing a plan to be at all the Seahawks games to get pledges on game day. I go into the community and different Seahawks and United Way events and get pledges to Cliff Avril’s campaign to keep kids in school.”
Strader says although she never envisioned herself working for a nonprofit, she’s having a blast using the skills she knows to help the organization’s cause. She’s using her sports management knowledge, integrated marketing communications knowledge, and her social media platform skills to further her organization and TEAM NFL. Strader says working for a nonprofit has it’s perks.
“The most rewarding part of my job is definitely getting to see Cliff Avril interact with fans, especially younger children,” explained Strader. “Let’s face it, kids look up to NFL players and having events where they can meet players like Cliff is my favorite part. Seeing a child smile from ear to ear because they just met their favorite player or a player from there favorite team is my favorite part of what I do, I love knowing that I planned an event where this happens.”
Many people say there are few benefits to working for a nonprofit organization, but Strader disagrees.
“I think there are many advantages to working for a nonprofit – the first thing that comes to my mind is the diverse group of people you work and interact with,” said Strader. “The other thing I think is when I compare it to the for-profit businesses I’ve worked for…I’ll be honest and say everywhere I have worked before had a main goal of making a profit. Working in a non-profit is interesting because you really get to make a difference in the world and aren’t thinking about the money.”
Strader says the best part is knowing she’s making a difference.
“But the cool part about working with TEAM NFL is that Cliff’s campaign is helping kids stay in school,” she explained. “This is rewarding because those kids are getting to meet Cliff but he also has an overall message to them to stay in school. It’s rewarding to know his message may impact a kid who would drop out of school if it wasn’t for what we are doing.”
There are disadvantages to working for a nonprofit, just like there disadvantages to working at a for-profit company or organization.
“I don’t have to deal with it a lot,” Strader said, “but it is always being talked about – money. The biggest disadvantage of working for a nonprofit is the budget. I’ve had many times where my boss said she wishes we could have done something different, but didn’t have the budget for it.”
Strader says while it can be challenging it’s also a very rewarding experience. As a bonus, Strader is networking by working with an NFL Team and getting the foot in the door of her dream job, working for an athletic team or facility.