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Help me keep this site updated and free!

February 8, 2012


I’ve been working on this site for a little over a year, and wanted to take a minute to ask you support me in keeping this site updated, open, and free for all. While this is never going to be a get rich scheme for me, hosting it costs me real money, and updating and providing new content and responses to questions takes time. I’ll be frank – I get around 6,000 hits a month, and hundreds of people spend considerable amounts of time on the site and read several pages every day. The number of people who leave a tip, buy my book, review it, or use the affiliate links is very very small, and I’m asking you to help me by being one of the people who do one of those things today.

If this has been useful to you please do your part to keep resources like this free, and contribute a little to offset the real costs of providing them. Please consider:

1. Make a donation – you can buy me an Amazon gift card – my email address is nick (at) nickmacdonald (dot) net – any amount is appreciated!
2. Buy my e-book Getting your first job in relief and development on Amazon – it’s $6, which is a bargain ;).
3. Buy something through the affiliate links on my site. If you buy anything, it doesn’t matter whether it was the thing in the link, Amazon or Powells kicks back a little to me, at no cost to you. So if you’re buying anything there, please consider clicking my affiliate links beforehand! I don’t really want to put ads on the site, so the affiliates are only for things I either personally recommend or am reviewing. The link to my book above is an affiliate link, clicking it and buying things from Amazon helps me.
4. Please review my e-book on Amazon, which will help it gain visibility on their site. It’s free, so if $6 is a deal breaker for you you can still do something to help me!
5. If you don’t think the site is worth paying for in any way, please tell me why, and I will try to fix it!

Thanks. I appreciate your support,

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark permalink
    January 11, 2013 10:06 am

    Hi Nick,

    I have just bought your pdf and am half way through it, its very informative and balanced, and making me appreciate a few things. I did have one question, that i was keen to take your view on.

    I am a qualified accountant/former auditor, and realise that if i was to go work for an NGO etc overseas this is what i would do, and from your reading and my assumption it would be hard to get “into the field”, now i know you say that if your based in headquarters this is the case, but would you say this also translates if you are based locally? and have more contact.

    I also am considering applying to the UN as an internal auditor, but also assume it will be very competitive, but again maybe i am wrong, as like you say people dont become auditors or accountants usually to go and work in such places?

    anyway, again, very good book, and will finish it this weekend.

    thank you for keeping this site going, its very useful


    • January 11, 2013 10:16 am

      Hey Mark – thanks for the feedback, it’s always appreciated. Thanks also for buying the ebook – that really helps me offset the cost of keeping this site going – if you’re feeling energetic it would be wonderful if you could leave a review on Amazon, that really helps me too!

      As to your question, I definitely think it’s easier to get a job if you’re based in the field. Only yesterday I was talking to a desk officer at a major international NGO who was relating a story of a person who was hired to go to a pretty remote and difficult part of the world, got on a plane, and after a day there realized that it was not what they expected. This is a huge problem for everyone concerned, leaves the agency behind schedule and with a huge travel bill and nothing to show for it, and is the main reason why agencies are reluctant to take a risk on people with little or no field experience on their resume. Of course, all of those concerns evaporate if you’re on the spot already!

      You can make the rounds, offer to volunteer and help out, and your chances of getting hired go up tremendously – especially if you have accounting skills. Most agencies are not big enough to need a full time auditor in each program, so audits are often conducted by globally roaming staff, but that skill-set is in high demand. I don’t know much about the specific competitive environment for finance staff at the UN right now, but you’ve reminded me that I’m overdue to try to get an interview with someone from the finance world!

      The only other thing that might be really useful is to be able to show that you are familiar with the various financial regulations of the major donors. While this isn’t hard for someone with a finance background to adapt to non-profit accounting, there are a huge number of donor specific regs that can trip you up if you’re not familiar with them. I’d recommend that you look at least at USAID, EU, and the major UN agencies.

      Hope that helps,
      Good luck, let us know how you do!

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