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The following is a list of commonly asked questions about the Aspiranet Encore Fellowships Program.

What are Aspiranet’s core programs?

One of California’s largest social service agencies, Aspiranet has 35 core family support programs – in foster care, adoption, child and family services, youth development, education, and behavioral health. Browse our programs by type, name or location.

What are the fellow backgrounds and what are they doing?

The Aspiranet Encore Fellows are successful, skilled, experienced professionals at the end of their mid-life careers who are looking to make a significant impact in social purpose organizations.  The fellows come from diverse professional backgrounds, including executive roles in information technology, marketing, publishing, banking, business strategy consulting, education, municipal government, and nonprofit management.  Fellows are matched in work assignments that well-leverage their talents and decades of experience.  Projects are designed to deliver sustained organizational impact and to extend and enhance the agency’s capacity to execute on important strategic initiatives.

Encore Fellows bring a wide variety of highly transferable skills of benefit to Aspiranet. Typical functional backgrounds for fellows and the project areas they relate to include:

  • Strategic planning, scaling initiatives, partnerships, and board recruitment;
  • Sales/business development, policies and strategies, fundraising initiatives and target donor identification;
  • Marketing/communications, brand management, messaging and public relations;
  • Project/program management for change initiatives, new ventures or business expansion;
  • Operations and performance management, planning, coordination and analysis;
  • Information technology, most aspects of hardware, software and network architecture, development and maintenance;
  • Human resources policies, systems and structures, staff development and coaching;
  • Financial management, including accounting, business processes, budgeting, forecasting, and cost modeling;
  • Technical specialists in specific skill areas.

Former fellows report that their participation in program has well-served them in pursuing meaningful work and service opportunities post-fellowship, and communities have benefited directly from their continued engagement in the social sector.

To learn more about the fellow projects click here.

What are the core elements of an Encore Fellow experience at Aspiranet?

Encore Fellowships are designed to bring significant value to all participants:

  • Encore Fellows make an immediate impact using the skills and experience they already have while exploring the transition into social-sector work;
  • Nonprofits gain affordable, low-risk access to experienced, skilled talent while creating a flexible, experiential pathway to social purpose work;
  • Communities benefit directly by the impact of the fellows’ work and by their future engagement in the social sector.

The following are core elements of an Encore Fellow experience at Aspiranet:

  • High-impact work – Clearly defined work that significantly advances Aspiranet’s mission.
  • Use of skills and experience – Application of professional, management or executive-level skills and experience to high-value, social purpose work.
  • Compensation – Paid stipend for a prestigious transitional and exploratory work experience with significant personal meaning.
  • Fellowship length – Fellowship duration (typically, one year, part-time, 1,000 hours) that ensures the fellow has time to achieve results and to develop expertise in the social sector.
  • Flexibility and structure – Flexibility and a degree of work autonomy that takes into account both organizational needs and individual circumstances.
  • Connection with other Encore Fellows – Opportunities to interact with other Encore Fellows at Aspiranet, as well as peers within Encore.org’s Encore Fellowships Network.
  • Networking and Learning – Opportunities to establish personal networks in the new sector and learn firsthand about potential job and service options.  Nonprofit work experience, peer interactions, and conversations with outside experts advance the fellow’s knowledge of the social sector.

To hear firsthand from fellows about their fellowship experience click here.

Do the fellows meet regularly? Do they receive common training?

The primary focus of the Aspiranet Encore Fellowship is to complete a high impact project that furthers the fellow’s personal and professional development by applying prior work skills to a new sector and developing a network of relationships in the nonprofit sector.  Fellows also participate in monthly meetings to support them in their work assignments, and learn from leaders in the field and others who have made the transition from for-profit to nonprofit careers.

Is an Encore Fellowship right for me?

The fellow selection and matching process is highly competitive and entails an online application and resume submission, followed by interviews.  The process is similar to a standard hiring process in that you must apply, be accepted as a fellow candidate, and be matched with an Aspiranet work host before becoming an Encore Fellow.

Before submitting an application, please step back and reflect upon your motivations and readiness for participating in the yearlong program:

  • Become familiar with the program objectives, time commitments and requirements by carefully reviewing the Aspiranet Encore Fellowships website.
  • Approach the Encore Fellowship in a “learning stance.”  Since organizational culture can make or break your ability to succeed or be satisfied in a role, take time to get to know the agency’s mission and services by researching the Aspiranet website.
  • Understand your motivations for contributing to Aspiranet’s mission.  Consider where your interests, skills and experiences might be most beneficial, and which roles might suit you best.
  • Connect your prior work experience with nonprofit capacity building needs.  Although your former work environment is probably different from most nonprofits, it’s likely that you have developed skills that would transfer well to Aspiranet.
  • Take time to tailor your resume in ways that are understandable to a more general nonprofit audience and “translate” your previous work experience – which often contains technical jargon and acronyms familiar to you.  If you have already done community work or other nonprofit volunteering, be sure to describe this in your application.
  • Check out the following articles for useful tips on bridging to the nonprofit sector:

Hiring a Bridger

Organizational Culture: Finding the Right Fit

Top 10 Nonprofit Job Hunting Tips for 2011

Finding Your Niche in the Social Sector

Practical Advice on Bridging into the Nonprofit Sector

Adapting Your Resume to a Nonprofit Job Search

Tips for Creating the Ideal Nonprofit Resume

Lost in Translation: Common Language Pitfalls for Bridgers

How do I apply to become an Aspiranet Encore Fellow?

Encore Fellows bring years of experience and a wealth of knowledge and skills to their fellowship assignments. To qualify for the program applicants must have significant experience (15+ years) and proven success at the professional, management or executive level. We are currently accepting applications for the Encore Fellowships Program. If you want to be considered as a fellow candidate, please submit an online application and resume. Before submitting an application, please take time to reflect upon your motivations and readiness for participating in the program and carefully review the program FAQs.

What’s the timeline for being selected to the program?

The timeline for the 2012-2013 Encore Fellowships Program is:

July–October 2012

  • Aspiranet work hosts submit fellow position descriptions.
  • Fellow candidates submit applications.
  • Applications are screened for degree of professional experience, transferable skills, areas of interest, and readiness to advance the work of Aspiranet.
    Qualified candidates are invited to meet with the program director to assess their understanding of the fellowship requirements and exchange additional information.
  • The pool of prospective fellows is narrowed. Selected candidates are presented with one or more position descriptions and invited to schedule an informational interview with an Aspiranet work host in order to explore whether the position is a mutual match.
  • Work hosts generally interview multiple candidates for each Encore Fellow position. In consultation with the work hosts, the program director determines the fellow matches and extends the fellowship offer to selected candidates.

September–December 2012

  • Fellows and work hosts formalize the statement of work, laying out the fellow role, responsibilities, goals, milestones and project time frame.
  • Matches are finalized and the 2012–2013 Encore Fellows cohort is announced.

Fall 2012–Fall 2013

  • Work hosts orient their fellows.
  • Encore Fellows typically work 12 months, half-time (1,000 hours), or 6 months, fulltime, and participate in monthly cohort meetings.

The timeline for the 2013–2014 Encore Fellowships Program is:

  • Fellow applicants are invited to apply to the program at any time during the year.
  • July-October 2013, Aspiranet work hosts submit position descriptions.
  • Fellow assignments begin September–December 2013.

How are the Encore Fellows selected?

In order to qualify for the Encore Fellowships Program applicants must have significant experience (15+ years) and proven success at the professional, management or executive level. Given the limited number of fellowships, the selection process is highly competitive.

Fellow candidates are selected based on the following considerations in order to ensure a mutual match:

  • Area of expertise: Does the individual have skills and abilities that will advance the work and mission of Aspiranet?
  • Suitability and match: Is there a good fit between the applicant’s skills and personal goals with Aspiranet’s mission, culture, and organizational structure?
  • Interest in an encore career: What is the individual´s level of interest in pursuing social purpose work beyond the Encore Fellowship?
  • Commitment: Is there a demonstrated interest and investment in the area of nonprofit work? Has the candidate previously been involved in related community issues?
  • Adaptability and readiness: Is the individual well-prepared for making the switch to nonprofit work?

How much are the fellows paid?

Encore Fellows are awarded a $25,000 stipend for their 12-month, half-time or 6- month, fulltime (1,000-hours) work assignments.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

If you are interested in our program and have questions not addressed above, we’d like to hear from you. For additional information, please contact jluce@aspiranet.org.


Click here to download a PDF version of the FAQs.

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