CALPIRG

  www.calpirg.org
  www.calpirg.org

CALPIRG Reviews

Updated October 7, 2014
Updated October 7, 2014
15 Reviews
3.6
15 Reviews
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Emily Rusch
7 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Intern

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - GoSolar Visibility Coordinator in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - GoSolar Visibility Coordinator in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at CALPIRG as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Large organization that knows its goals and have good methodology to accomplish them

    Cons

    internal organization is pretty chaotic

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Great place to intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Hunger and Homelessness in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Hunger and Homelessness in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at CALPIRG as an intern (more than an year)

    Pros

    Tackling issues that matter, hands-on! Work with others who are passionate about grassroots social-political organization. Change the world one city, one neighborhood, one person at a time!

    Cons

    Might be hard to gather funding and interested people for community service events. Can sometimes feel repetitive. Can have a tendency towards one-sided social issues, which can discourage discourse regarding complex issues.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start paying your interns at least a little...

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Positive Impact

    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at CALPIRG full-time

    Pros

    You are working to make a difference in your local community and there is no feeling more rewarding than that.

    Cons

    You spend long hours on your feet, going door to door, walking in the sun.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Aside from having people memorize their scripting, you should have a set training session that teaches each employee the ins and outs of what they are working towards.

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  5.  

    Make a real impact on real issues!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - CALPIRG Campus Organizer in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - CALPIRG Campus Organizer in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at CALPIRG full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - make a real, immediate difference on a variety of important issues (environmental, consumer protection, etc.)
    - empower students on a regular basis: you get to work with people who care about these issues and give them the skills to be effective and make a real difference
    - learn a ton of skills quickly
    - opportunity for advancement
    - work with a GREAT team (seriously, the people I started working with right out of college are still some of my best friends)
    - opportunity to travel and work in cool places (I worked in LA and got to go to campuses all over CA, as well as work on projects in other states like Texas)
    - the skills you learn on the job help you in other parts of your life, which is pretty cool
    - definitely not a typical job- you get out from behind a desk, you get to work with awesome people all day
    - CALPIRG hires people from all different schools who studied all different things, so long as you have relative experience

    Cons

    - you don't make a million dollars, but you shouldn't go into the non-profit world expecting that from anywhere
    - the hours can be tough to get used to, so just prepare yourself

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - a bit more time in the city/on campus before the quarter starts would to help adjust
    - more info about how to manage one's benefits-- how to request vacation days, how reimbursement works, etc.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Excellent training on how to make a real impact for those who aren't afraid of hard work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer

    I worked at CALPIRG full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    I worked with CALPIRG Students for 3 years as a student intern at UC Davis and 4 years as a full time staffer after college.

    - Great work atmosphere: People who work with CALPIRG care about making a difference, care about the communities their organizing, and care about their own professional development. I met some of my best friends working with PIRG. Staff directors care about you as a person and an organizer - rarely can you talk to your staff director about how you need help balancing your personal life and work...and they actually sit down with you and help you work it out.

    - Excellent training program: One of few non-profits that really invest in staff in their first few years - the training is intense and there is a culture of constructive criticism that makes you better, faster. In my first few years, I crafted campaign strategies, learned how to fund a non-profit, learned how to recruit and oversee a large group of interns and volunteers, all while helping to register over 5k students to vote, raise thousands to fight poverty, and increase funding for Pell grants.

    - Real responsibility: Other non-profits give recent college graduates pitiful amounts of responsibility. My first year I managed 60 interns on 6 campaigns and secured $300k in funding. If you want to learn how to run a non-profit from the bottom up, this is a good place to do it.

    The 401k and student loan repayment program are nice too :)

    Cons

    These jobs are not for those that want a cushy 40 hour week job where they pretend to make a difference, They're for people who want to get down on the ground, working to organize real people with real problems, against real special interests who can drop $10 million to kill an unfavorable bill without a bat of an eye. Like any election campaign, issue campaigns coupled with actually funding a non-profit, takes 60-80 hours a week. If you're someone with a good attitude and good time management, this is totally doable.

    A lot of the pros I listed are cons to some of these other reviewers. It isn't for everyone.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Best training program to become an organizer or work in politics

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Campus Organizer in Santa Barbara, CA
    Current Employee - Campus Organizer in Santa Barbara, CA

    I have been working at CALPIRG full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    I think the best thing about this nonprofit in relation to the larger nonprofit world, is that it is really the only group that hires and trains young people to work in politics that is left now-a-days. Unions sometimes will have organizer-in-training programs, too, but that is it. It is hard for young people who want to get involved in politics or nonprofits- every job requires 2-3 years of experience because nonprofits don't have the money to invest to train people. That is why PIRG is so important- so many nonprofits recognize that PIRG has the BEST training for young people who want to build the skills necessary to make a career out of nonprofit or political work. PIRG invests a lot in their organizers- organizers have paid training for probably about 2 whole months out of the year. You will work very hard-like any political campaign, but you will learn SO much, and make a big difference on important issues in a very short amount of time. For example, I have helped register thousands of young people to vote, pass environmental legislation to stop global warming, and increase federal financial aid. I'm really proud of that. I also love working with young people- they are the future! You see how much they develop in such a short amount of time- they learn so much and really increase their dedication to protecting the environment or fighting for social justice. I am helping win on the issues in the short term, but also in the long term because I am creating future activists who will go out and win their own victories for the world, too. They are also just so fun- I get to hang out with smart fun college students as my job...!

    Cons

    To address some concerns: It is a nonprofit. People who work for nonprofits or for political campaigns know they will work hard during crunch time- when election day is coming up, or the deadline for a big drive- you have to work hard to WIN! And you don't win by wearing a fancy suite and sitting in a desk- you have to go out and talk to people and voter and win their votes or sign them up as members or convince them to believe in what you believe in. That is what building people power to stand up to monied interests is all about. The grassroots!! Many small donors, many people signing petitions, many people taking action for what they believe in. Talking to strangers is what running a political campaign is about...Obama would not have won without his enormous field presence for example. Also, people should know they are choosing a nonprofit life where you won't get paid the same as if you went the corporate route or something. But hey- I am still saving for retirement already- you just can't be wasteful. And I think people who go into this work care a lot more about the environment or social change than anything else. I do. Or else I would be an engineer right now or something. And know your limits. You get to run your own program in a community so you make your own schedule. Work hard when you have to, but plan and be smart about making a plan- you have to plan your free time to make it happen when you set your own schedule, no one is going to do that for you.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Goal-focused challenging campaign work in a great team environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer

    I worked at CALPIRG full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The best reasons to work here is that it is very mission-driven, and if you are a political person, you will get a great education into what organizing and advocating for policy change look like. Also, the team work environment is great, as most of the new employees are recent college graduates. Outside of work activities are encouraged and fun. You will learn how to do a lot, with very little and to work harder than you ever have in your life to hit your goals. Campus organizing allows for more creativity than most other jobs in the company. Leadership development is highly valued and there are a lot of trainings to encourage this.

    Cons

    The key challenges are that because it is mission-driven, it is very stressful if you are not hitting your goals. Despite the friendliness, it is a competitive and outcome orientated environment that is not suited best for people who "just want to help" but are not tenacious. Working long hours is an expected and self-care is not valued. Pay is sufficient and thifty, until you get to the upper ranks.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote better self-care within management and all ranks to improve retention.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Excellent Skill Development but Don't Expect To Become Rich

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Campaign Coordinator in Santa Barbara, CA
    Current Employee - Campaign Coordinator in Santa Barbara, CA

    I have been working at CALPIRG as an intern (more than an year)

    Pros

    I campaigned for CALIPIRG for about a year and I must say it was my most fulfilling non-paid internship I ever partook in. It isn't about climbing up the corporate, but it meant for people who want to do good within the community and partake in various types of work to improve their professional skills.

    - Exciting Causes and Campaigns
    - Student - Run
    - Dynamic Work

    Cons

    - Non-profit budgeted (meaning don't expect a professional salary with a benefits package)
    - Organization can be chaotic at times (pledge drive)
    - Quick turnover rate because mainly a student run organization.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Brainstorm more ideas for fundraising other than pledge drives.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great causes, lots of hours, and terrible pay. The Summers suck!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer

    I worked at CALPIRG full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Pretty competitive to be hired as an organizer. They take very bright college grads from good universities with big ambitions. You have to be a good interviewer.
    The training they offer is the best I've encountered at any org.
    They offer regular reviews, and advice on how to improve.
    Your co-workers are fun and motivated people. You will most likely make friends for life.
    You get to go to Denver once a year for training and then a paid Aspen vacation (food and travel not included).
    You get to work with like minded college students on about 5-7 campaigns per quarter or semester.

    Cons

    Fundraising (Pledge) drives are VERY HARD and often you'll have to leave your chapter to help another one that did not hit it's goal. You work an 80+ hour week standing on your campus with your interns asking students to chip in money to keep your chapter alive every quarter or semester.
    During the Summers (70-80 hour work weeks) you have to canvass (knocking on doors or standing on the street) raising money for campaigns. It's great training but very very brutal. You feel like a sales person.
    There is very poor retention mostly due to long hours and little pay. They start you at less than 30k a year and will keep you there for a while.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Talk with staff about their future in the organization. Create other options for the new staff after first Summer of canvassing. Give them regular raises (yearly) even if they're small.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Community oriented, team work and leadership

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern/Volunteer/Coordinator in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Intern/Volunteer/Coordinator in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at CALPIRG as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Very good experience for leadership training, fundraising, connecting with the individuals in a said community where each project is based on

    Cons

    Need more leaders, or more responsibility need to be given to those capable of leading an amateur team. Needs better fundraising ideas and support from the upper management.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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