CALPIRG Reviews | Glassdoor

CALPIRG Reviews

15 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-timePart-time

3.0
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Emily Rusch
6 Ratings

15 Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

  1. "UC Santa Cruz CALPIRG Intern Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - AVID Tutor in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - AVID Tutor in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at CALPIRG (More than a year)

    Pros

    Working with CALPIRG provides plenty of hands on communication experience, as well as many chances to improve organization and teamwork skills. The staff is also very friendly and energetic which make them great to work with. Finally, many of the campaigns that CALPIRG organizes are very successful, which provides comfort knowing that the work you put in is actually making a difference.

    Cons

    While working on many of the different campaigns, you will encounter a fair amount of rejection, whether it be from people who do not want to sign your petition or people who will completely ignore you etc. This part of the work can be quite daunting, however, if you can find a way to get past that, your work can still be rewarding. Also, this is an unpaid internship.

    Advice to Management

    It would be nice if some of the volunteer senior officers were paid for all of their efforts, because they put in a very large amount of work and devote much of their free time while still in school.


  2. "Gained amazing experience, organizers were over zealous (2010)"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Pledge Captain in Fullerton, CA
    Former Employee - Pledge Captain in Fullerton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at CALPIRG (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I got great experiences to put on my resume. As soon as I showed my competency I was put in charge of everything and anything needed. I went from being recruited to recruiting, training and supervising new interns in a matter of weeks, planning and organizing events, being the spokesperson for our campaign to newspapers, radio, and television, and generally being the organizers right hand (wo)man. These are experiences that just don't happen in a paid position without months or years of work leading up to it.

    Cons

    The organizers were over zealous and at the end of the campaign I felt taken advantage of. We were running a campaign on a college campus and they would obviously judge volunteers and interns who chose not to volunteer every waking second of their lives. I literally heard a volunteer say they had to cancel their shift because they had a big paper they had to write for class and the organizer responded with the words, "Well, if that's where your priorities are." Those words on their own are benign enough, yet they were said in a way that obviously judged the student for not choosing to volunteer.

    At the time I devoted myself completely because I thought the cause was just that important, that we were helping to save the world. Afterwords I wondered why I had let my life get so consumed.

    Advice to Management

    Realize that the volunteers and unpaid interns are just that, unpaid. Any work they do is a gift to be grateful for. I am so grateful for the trainings and experiences I got from this process but it always felt like I gave an inch and they expected a mile.

  3. "Broke and disappointed"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at CALPIRG full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great learning and travel opportunity. You will learn public speaking, writing, storytelling, people skills, outreach and canvassing skills, and become a better activist.

    Cons

    Overworked and underpaid. They systematically lie to employees saying salary is ~33k (that is with your "bonus" that none of us ever received ). Salary is actually 22k, which is unlivable on in California. Expect to work 60 hours minimum per week, and only get Sundays off. In the summer they will force you to manage a canvass office working even more hours with more stress, away from home. They would be sued except they coerce employees into signing an arbitration agreement upon employment (you don't actually legally have to sign it, they just make you think you do.) Expect 30% or more of the job to be fundraising students for the campus PIRG.

    Advice to Management

    Don't lie about employee salaries or about what the job entails.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Campus Organizer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at CALPIRG full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great, temporary, launching pad if you want to get into grassroots organizing.

    Cons

    Poor labor practices and terrible pay.


  5. "Positive Impact"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Management

    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.


  6. "Make a real impact on real issues!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - CALPIRG Campus Organizer in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - CALPIRG Campus Organizer in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at CALPIRG full-time (More than a 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 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.


  7. Helpful (1)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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.

  8. "Goal-focused challenging campaign work in a great team environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

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


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Best training program to become an organizer or work in politics"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Campus Organizer in Santa Barbara, CA
    Current Employee - Campus Organizer in Santa Barbara, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at CALPIRG full-time (More than a 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.


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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer
    Former Employee - Campus Organizer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at CALPIRG full-time (More than a 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 Management

    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.


Showing 15 of 21 reviews
Reset Filters