Q. I have been reading a lot about people, like me, who spend half a career in the business world and then switch to nonprofit work. I made the switch two years ago and would really value a network of people with that sort of background with whom I can share ideas, experience, and advice. Any suggestions?
Though we are unaware of a formal network of people who have switched from for-profit to nonprofit careers, there are a number of Web sites that might help you, including Philanthropy Careers online forum for career switchers.
The Web site of Bridgestar, a program of the nonprofit management consultant group Bridgespan, in Boston, focuses on nonprofit leaders and people who have moved from businesses to charities, including profiles of people who have made the switch, like you.
Another online resource is Encore Careers, a site for professionals interested in second careers at charities or in social entrepreneurship. The site is a project of Civic Ventures, a think tank in San Francisco that focuses on promoting civic engagement among older Americans.
If you prefer to find like-minded people the old-fashioned way, try calling your local United Way, says Art Mollenhauer, chief executive of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, who came to his job from the business world.
"Many corporate folks are connected to charities through the United Way," he says, which means United Way staff may be able to point you to other career switchers. Mr. Mollenhauer also suggests talking to executive recruiters, your peers at other nonprofit organizations, and members of your board.
"If you build a good board, a lot of those folks are on other boards, and they've hired folks from the corporate world," he says.
The Chronicle's Regeneration Web site, which focuses on opportunities in the nonprofit world for people over age 50, includes a list of state and local organizations that can offer you the chance to build a network of other career switchers.