CALPIRG

  calpirg.org
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

CALPIRG Reviews

Updated Jul 23, 2014

Be The First To
Add Photos

All Employees Current Employees Only

3.3 12 reviews

86% Approve of the CEO

(no image)

Emily Rusch

(7 ratings)

58% of employees recommend this company to a friend
12 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Make a real impact on real issues!

    CALPIRG Campus Organizer (Former Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    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 Senior Management- 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

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

    Campus Organizer (Former Employee)

    ProsI 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 :)

    ConsThese 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Best training program to become an organizer or work in politics

    Campus Organizer (Current Employee) Santa Barbara, CA

    ProsI 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...!

    ConsTo 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Goal-focused challenging campaign work in a great team environment

    Campus Organizer (Former Employee)

    ProsThe 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.

    ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementPromote better self-care within management and all ranks to improve retention.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Excellent Skill Development but Don't Expect To Become Rich

    Campaign Coordinator (Current Employee) Santa Barbara, CA

    ProsI 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 Senior Management- Brainstorm more ideas for fundraising other than pledge drives.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

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

    Campus Organizer (Former Employee)

    ProsPretty 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.

    ConsFundraising (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 Senior ManagementTalk 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Community oriented, team work and leadership

    Intern/Volunteer/Coordinator (Former Employee) Los Angeles, CA

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

    ConsNeed 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Fun and motivated group of people.

    Canvasser (Former Employee) Santa Cruz, CA

    ProsLearn how to canvass and fight for a cause.
    Good pay and exercise. Very cool group of people.

    ConsLong hours. It really takes the right person to do this job well.
    If you don't support the cause it's really hard to get motivated to do it.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    A scripted job w/ 80 hour work weeks and dubious merit compared to legitimate campaigns.

    Campus Organizer (Former Employee)

    ProsEasy to get hired.
    Better starting salary than other PIRG chapters.
    Get to live in California.
    Work on progressive issues (although with questionable results and tactics).

    ConsHiring people indiscriminately/making promises to students you know the organization can't back up.
    Extremely shady labor practices.
    80 hour work week is typical with no overtime (as mandated by law).
    Extremely slow w/ reimbursements and paychecks.
    Aggressive recruitment tactics mandated for questionable causes.
    Very little autonomous control over your campus.
    Cult-like atmosphere among management.
    Personal attacks when management style is threatened.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMake a reasonable work week - 40 hours per week. Give organizers time to know their communities. Do proper training. Allow employees a chance to develop a program that works for their campus.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    All for a good cause

    Team Leader (Current Employee) Berkeley, CA

    ProsYou get to work with a lot of enthusiastic people on issues you care about that matter to the public good.

    ConsI worked with CALPIRG Students, the student run branch of the organization. Organization was chaotic to say the least and often times events and campaigns are poorly planned. Hard workers had to pick up the slack from slackers.

    Stronger sense of management would be beneficial as the student organization currently promotes a non hierarchy, with everyone in charge of everything. The system simply doesn't work and there's no ownership for any projects.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

Worked for CALPIRG? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.