Administrative assistants at nonprofit organizations are often the go-to person to provide professional support in the nonprofit environment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, administrative assistants “perform a variety of administrative and clerical duties necessary to run an organization efficiently.” While some administrative assistants continue to work in administrative services, this position is often seen as a “foot-in-the-door” for recent graduates interested in the nonprofit cause and moving up through the department.
There is not often a “typical” day for an administrative assistant, as they tend to perform a variety of tasks. These may include arranging travel plans and guest arrivals, data entry, taking incoming calls, distributing mail, ordering supplies, maintaining paper and electronic files, copying, faxing and writing and editing correspondence. Furthermore, administrative assistants typically manage the calendars, schedules and appointments of department managers. This may include arranging meetings, creating meeting agendas, taking meeting minutes and scheduling travel dates. Organizing events and seminars may also play a role.
A high school diploma is typically required, with a bachelor’s degree often preferred. Some employers may seek previous administrative experience or prior work in an office setting. Candidates may be given priority who can type 60 words per minute, have strong spelling and grammar, are proficient in Microsoft Office and have experience with data entry or file management.
In addition to education and previous work experience, there are a number of personal attributes employers may seek. These include being detail-oriented and highly organized, maintaining a professional attitude, the ability to handle confidential information, strong writing and oral skills and a being a team player.
According to PayScale.com, as of July 2010, average salaries for administrative assistants at nonprofit organizations range from $25,000 to $36,000. This is lower than the average for administrative assistants at a for-profit company, which ranges from $29,000 to $41,000.
Job Environment & Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of administrative assistants are employed full-time and typically work a 40-hour work week. The job often requires sitting for long periods of time in front of a computer. The employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to grow by 11 percent between 2008 and 2018, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
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