Scientific non-profit organizations include professional societies, advocacy groups and think tanks, research institutions, private foundations, and educational institutions like museums. These organizations employ researchers, communicators, educators, data analysts, policy advisors, project managers, finance specialists, and more. Non-profits can be small grassroots organizations with only a few employees, or large research foundations with thousands of employees.

The sections below provide examples of some non-profit organizations where geoscientists may work, but are by no means exhaustive. To explore additional non-profit employers, browse the GuideStar or Idealist databases. 

Professional Societies

Scientific societies support professionals in a given field, advocate for legislation aligned with the association's goals, produce educational resources, support community science, and more. There are many opportunities for geoscientists in societies, from roles in education to policy advocacy to public engagement. These jobs can also include a research component, often focused on education and workforce trends in a particular field. 

Example employers:
   American Geosciences Institute
   Geological Society of America
   American Geophysical Union
   AGU Thriving Earth Exchange
   Society of Exploration Geophysicists
   SEG Geoscientists Without Borders
   American Association for the Advancement of Science
   International Association for Geoscience Diversity
Find a list of other geoscience societies here

Research Institutes/Foundations

Non-profit scientific institutes engage in basic and applied research to expand our understanding of the world, guide policymaking, and benefit the environment and society. Research institutes vary in size and scope, employing scientists (typically with a MSc or PhD) in roles such as research scientist or research associate. In addition to research staff, institutes may employ administrators, communications staff, instrument technicians, ship crews, and other support staff. Non-profit foundations often provide funding for research or sponsor students, with a variety of positions in communications, finance, and more.

Example employers:
   Paleontological Research Institution
   Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
   Schmidt Ocean Institute
   Earth & Space Research
   10,000 Years Institute
   ARCS® Foundation
   Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Think Tanks/Advocacy Orgs

Think tanks and advocacy organizations tend to be focused on policy and community science, bridging the gap between researchers, communities, and legislators by publishing research reports, advocating for new legislation, and engaging with community leaders. Scientists conduct research, collect and analyze data, develop recommendations for policymakers, and write reports. Communications and policy-focused roles interface with the public and government to promote the agenda of the organization.

Example employers:
   Environmental and Energy Study Institute
   Conservation International 
   The Nature Conservancy
   Geology for Global Development
   Center for Large Landscape Conservation
   Coalition for Clean Air

Educational Organizations

Non-profit educational organizations include museums, aquariums, zoos, and charities. Many professional societies also fall into this category. Some organizations offer educational programs directly to students or the public, while others are focused on providing resources and support to educators. Many roles, such as public relations, outreach, curriculum development, and exhibition curation, involve elements of science communication and public engagement. See also the Explore Employers page of the education sector.

Example employers:
   GEM Environmental 
   Marine Science Institute
   Paleontological Research Institution
   The Field Museum of Natural History
   Denver Museum of Nature and Science

  • GROW is a collection of career resources for undergraduate and graduate students in the geosciences, intended to help students identify and pursue career paths beyond academia.
  • This project was supported by the National Science Foundation (Award #1911527) and our many contributors who generously volunteered their time and knowledge to assist our team.

  • Any opinions, findings, and recommendations expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation nor of contributor employers.
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