A recent survey from MetLife and Civic Ventures suggests the nonprofit world offers some hope for older workers with corporate experience.
From the Chronicle of Philanthropy's Philanthropy.com:
Half of nonprofit employers say people who decide they want to work for charities late in their careers or after they have retired are highly appealing job candidates, while 39 percent say they are somewhat appealing, according to a new survey.
Almost 70 percent said that such workers would bring valuable experience to the job, 67 percent that they would bring commitment and reliability, and 62 percent that they would be effective mentors for younger people.
When asked which serious concerns they had about older workers, 25 percent said they might require higher salaries than people who had spent their careers working at nonprofit organizations, 23 percent they might be reluctant to learn new technology, and 20 percent they might lack the necessary technical or professional skills.
Some sites to scour if nonprofit work interests you: Idealist.org, Network for Good, and, for a little perspective, check out this relevant essay from a former Wall Streeter, in the New York Times. An excerpt :
I have decided to switch to the nonprofit world, and I know it won't be easy. I will need to convince a nonprofit that my experience in banking will be a source of transferable skills: analytical ability, planning and budgeting, delivering creative ideas in a compelling way to senior executives, training talent.
And the compensation is sure to be much lower. Fortunately, I have supported my husband through several career changes and he is willing to return the favor.
The process has not been linear, but after months of being jobless, I am focused on keeping up a discipline day by day: extending my network of contacts, investigating organizations and jobs online, carefully tracking my appointments, following up on leads and meeting recruiters who specialize in this field.
My outplacement counselor says that finding a job is a numbers game and that it will take time, as I am not a traditional candidate for many nonprofit jobs. The job won't find me, and I have to make the case for how I could make a contribution. Renewed by rest, my confidence bolstered by the generosity of people I meet, I feel energized, eager to start a new career, and open to possibility.