New York Public Interest Research Group Reviews | Glassdoor

New York Public Interest Research Group Reviews

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3.4
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Blair Horner
6 Ratings

46 Employee Reviews

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  1. "NYPIRG"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Canvasser in Albany, NY
    Former Employee - Canvasser in Albany, NY
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Very fun place to work. Managers and team members bond by going out to parties every Thursday and eating lunch together everyday.
    You also learn a lot about environmental issues and get to do positive work.

    Cons

    rain or shine you're outside.
    Commission based pay with no case pay


  2. "Best experience ever! Positively life-changing place to work."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at New York Public Interest Research Group full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Incredibly valuable learning environment
    Rewarding, fascinating work
    Great colleagues
    Dynamite source of professional development
    Highly effective model for social change

    Cons

    Long hours and heavy workload but that's what it takes to make social change! And it's a fun place.

    Advice to Management

    Keep at it!


  3. "Canvasser"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Field Canvasser in Ithaca, NY
    Former Employee - Field Canvasser in Ithaca, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at New York Public Interest Research Group full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    NYPIRG works hard to create a positive team atmosphere and keep your morale up. In my office (Ithaca) we would get one (optionally two) hours of training every day, all summer, take our time eating lunch together, and party together once a week. Not to mention activities like Camping Canvass and NYPIRG Retreat. It's really nice to find an organization that doesn't make you work every possible minute of your day and actually values friendships among employees.
    I appreciated the hiring system. Contrary to what some reviews say, it would not be possible at my office to be fired on the first day. And the managers were generous with the turf for new recruits. Essentially, if you don't make it through your three day trial period, you were either extremely unlucky (maybe one in a hundred people), or you were never going to enjoy your job anyway. So NYPIRG's recruitment system let me bypass the wasted time in the standard job search procedure and start earning paychecks.
    As others have said, great way to spend time outside, get some exercise, meet lots of people, make friends in your office, practice your communication skills, and make a bit of money.

    Cons

    Very very poor employee retention. Most people don't even stay for a summer, many stay for only a few weeks, it's hard to even keep up with who still works there. Friendships in the office could have been much stronger if we spent the whole summer together.
    The main reason for low retention was the inconsistent wages. Even people who did well overall couldn't always handle the stress of fluctuating paychecks.
    Occasionally, travel times meant getting out of work very late. Some field managers were very considerate and tried to get canvassers back to the office as early as possible, but others did not.

    Advice to Management

    Seriously, provide base pay. You don't need to pay any more overall, just cut commission some and balance that out with base pay. I know you worry that will reduce motivation to excel, but if you're able to keep your best employees for more time and take us all off the emotional roller coaster I'm sure you'll bring in more money.
    Make sure canvassers have the minimum resources they need to do their jobs. Provide a FAQ sheet - there were standard questions about NYPIRG that I didn't know how to answer until the end of the summer, which discredits NYPIRG in the eyes of the public.
    Make sure everyone who drives canvassers to their turf is a safe driver, and will go out of their way to help anyone who's struggling that day and do everything possible to get back as early as possible.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Not worth it for most and you get paid next to NOTHING"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    When I worked there, most of the canvassers were nice. The group was clique-ish, but it wasn't anything too bad. I actually saw some later at university and they were still pretty cool, even though a couple acted like they didn't remember me. You are outside all day, so you will get a tan and do a LOT of leg work.

    But, if you buy into all of the crap they spew and do at least semi-well with your quota, and are a college student, you can get promoted after a few months.

    Cons

    Honestly, I'm surprised no has gotten hurt doing this job because it is very dangerous. They drop you off at these remote locations and leave you. All the while, you knock on strangers doors and ask for money. One of the drivers/managers even forgot about my friend once.

     You are not allowed to talk about turf stuff, which i understand because some people don't understand the line between healthy conversation and gloating. But turf talk is probably the best way to improve your numbers.

    You are a lot like post-man and are outside rain, sleet, or shine. They give you nearly impossible quotas.

    There is no base pay. Which i believe even greenpeace has. One week I only made about 68 dollars for 40+ hours of work. Despicable.

    If you are super passionate about causes or really desperate, go ahead and take the job. They hire pretty immediately. But if you can at all help it, stay away. Also, this is not a job for anyone that likes people. It sort of craps on your faith in humanity. You are a glorified beggar, and people, MOST PEOPLE, will treat you that way.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Canvasser"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Canvasser in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Canvasser in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at New York Public Interest Research Group full-time

    Pros

    You might have a really awesome summer where your passion, dedication and LUCK will result in consistent $365+ members making 10 hour days 5-6 days a week 4 months straight worth it

    Cons

    If you blow it out of the park and don't get promoted upon the following summer you're literally padding the paycheck of your boss (who does get compensated) and you won't see cards like that upon returning

    Advice to Management

    Yes, there needs to be a quotable turf for everyone but there should be merit based turf for those who excel at their job
    A lot of the negative energy canvass directors are trying to combat doesn't come from turf talk related issues but actually from canvass directors shamelessly lying to their employees in order to make them stick around and canvassers wising up to that but being too invested in the campaign to seek work elsewhere. Just don't play mind games/take advantage of how much an individual cares about making a positive impact and employees won't be so bitter in the long run
    ADD A BASE PAY OR LET CANVASSERS ACTUALLY SEE CARDS UP TO $365


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Great Environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Intern in Flushing, NY
    Former Employee - Intern in Flushing, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at New York Public Interest Research Group (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great Working and Learning Environment. Their main principal areas of concern are environmental protection, consumer rights, higher education, government reform, voter registration, mass transit and public health.

    Cons

    Not too many downsides of interning with this group. It is an extremely flexible program. One downside would be not being able to have flexible times on conferences.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work. Love the push the envelope attitude. I'd advise more meetings at restaurants, although it's not necessary. Keep keeping the interns and employees happy.


  8. "Short review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at New York Public Interest Research Group (More than a year)

    Pros

    Nice people, good values, very team oriented for projects

    Cons

    Very one track minded, no room for improvement.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Unprofessional management, terrible work environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Canvasser in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Canvasser in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at New York Public Interest Research Group full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good way to stay improve communication skills. Mostly outdoors and active job. Pretty much impossible to not get hired- I have seen people who weren't even functionally literate get hired.
    Other than that, unless you're desperate for a job, it's not worth it.

    Cons

    First of all, no base pay, so you could potentially be spending 5-6 hours a day canvassing and not get paid anything for that day (not uncommon as you are basically knocking on peoples doors while they're trying to eat dinner). Also, as another review pointed out, despite the aggressive "team building" exercises, canvassers are forbidden from discussing their experiences on the turf to each other. Expectations for canvassers were unreasonable at best. You are expected to continue canvassing until the van comes to pick you up, no matter what. I've had coworkers chased by dogs, had the cops called on them, even chased off a lawn by a homeowner with a gun, and the response from the field manager in all of these cases were the same: just get over it and keep canvassing.
    Second major issue is how unprofessional the field managers and canvass directors were. There were several managers who were romantically involved with canvassers. Coincidentally, these canvassers very quickly got promoted to field managers (some after only 3-4 weeks of working). It's also been hinted that the field managers keep most generous donors from past years for their own canvasses.

    Advice to Management

    Base pay and get your field managers and canvasser directors in line. Most of them have no business having people working under them.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Work with NYPIRG for Experience (then get out!)"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Coordinator, Campaign Organizer, Outreach Director in New Paltz, NY
    Former Employee - Project Coordinator, Campaign Organizer, Outreach Director in New Paltz, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at New York Public Interest Research Group (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    NYPIRG is awesome on so many levels--it's almost unbelievable that the organization has been able to exist, let alone win so many social justice victories while training so many burgeoning activists and advocates to fight the good fight, with such limited resources. I learned everything I know about grassroots organizing from NYPIRG as a volunteer and intern when I was a college student and somehow managed to learn even more as I worked as a Project Coordinator. The bottom line is: if you want to learn how to build a campaign from the grassroots up, how to organize events, how to build coalitions, how to effectively fight in the public interest (and the list goes on and on), then do everything you can to land a job with the organization. Everyone who works with the organization is a true kindred spirit. Never ever will I ever find a job that I love as much as I loved working with NYPIRG.

    Cons

    The worst thing about working with NYPIRG is that burnout is pretty much inevitable. After you glean all the amazing experiences, skills, training, and stories that you can, the challenges become much more mundane than standing up against fracking or predatory lenders--the worst challenge of all is struggling to maintain any sort of work/life balance while working with NYPIRG. The days are long; the weeks soon melt into one semester-long (or legislative-session-long) day that never ends, because the fight literally never ends. This is by no means a 9-5 job. If you do a stellar job you are rewarded with more challenges, and if you continue to accept each challenge with a smile and absolutely kill it, the challenges are stacked upon your plate without abandon and without adjustments to compensation. There is little support beyond training (which is something NYPIRG always does extremely well, though!). There is also a high turnover rate with full-time staff, so if you stick with it beyond a year you run out of colleagues to share ideas with as you face that increasingly full plate of challenges; the NYPIRG veterans who stick it out tend to be pretty jaded, at least in conversation. Even if you give every moment on the job your everything you will rarely hear a supervisor say "awesome work!" and even if you constantly break records and push boundaries within your position, you will have literally nothing to show for it (other than the campaign victory itself) at the end of the day (or when you move on with your life).

    The compensation is miserable (I started at $28,500/year and I have a MA and walked in with more experience than most--I had volunteered with the organization since 2003, was on the Board of Directors as a student, and had worked with them every summer while I was in college and graduate school), which makes the lack of a work/life balance even more damaging. In my over 4 years of working full-time with NYPIRG, countless other employees confirmed they were in the same boat as me: defaulted student debts, awful credit, and unable to open a bank account anywhere. It goes without saying you cannot save a penny when you account for the cost of living in NY, and the cost of living while working such strenuous hours (add up all the fees from bills that get paid late simply because you are so busy, add up the cost of lunches bought from a college dining hall rather than made at home because of lack of time, etc.) Many employees get the opportunity to work with the NYPIRG Fund's Summer Outreach Program, but even with the additional summer salary and fundraising commission I never earned more than $38,000 (before taxes and student loan debt garnishments and other deductions) within a year. I was houseless multiple times throughout my employment with the organization due to the pathetic salary. (But I helped ban fracking and had the pleasure of being a tour de force of organizing for awhile so it was well worth every struggle, I think!)

    There tends to be a bit of a disconnect between parts of the organization and not nearly enough communication. Because resources are scarce, campaigns often are not run as smoothly as planned and print media (like posters) are almost always a problem. If you organize at one of the chapters outside of NYC you will often feel very, very alone. If you organize the most epic, next-level event, most of the organization will never hear about it. If you have a question (like how to respond to the latest updates to an issue related to a NYPIRG campaign), it is pretty improbable that you will get an answer (or guidance toward an answer) the same day (or even in a timely manner in most of my experience). Most staff wear many hats like I did so most staff with the answers are too swamped to be very helpful.

    The lack of resources can often be a barrier to effective organizing. I often dumpster-dove (yes, a professional organizer with a Masters degree and a 10 page-long CV full of experiences and skills jumped in the garbage on a regular basis) to find materials for my students' events and other projects and found other ways to get the supplies they needed, but that got old after 4 years of it--it shouldn't be so difficult to get a spare pen, or to get one working computer in the office, or a marker for the white board, or any other basic campaign office supplies. If you work with NYPIRG, you will learn how to build a movement out of literally nothing.

    Advice to Management

    I doubt anyone would disagree that burnout is a serious problem in the organization--a more reasonable, live-able starting salary (that is actually commensurate with experience and skills, considering the fact that those staff with MAs and JDs and such are truly valuable resources) would be a step in the right direction but would not completely solve this problem. While it is important to stress that the workday does not end until the job is done, I would recommend finding a way to help staff better balance work with their own lives. There is a tendency for former staff to have a bitter taste in their mouths whenever NYPIRG comes up (in most cases because of these same reasons) and trust me when I say that general negativity echoes throughout the lobbies of Albany and the hallways of some of the campus chapters. No one likes an advocacy organization that spends its funds on cushy salaries, but even twice the average staff's salary would hardly be cushy. You have to find a way to make the long hours and lack of support (and lack of opportunities for advancement) worth it.


  11. Helpful (7)

    "SCHEMERS SCHEMERS SCHEMERS"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Canvasser in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Canvasser in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at New York Public Interest Research Group full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The only pro about this place is that you're walking a lot, so you're doing a lot of cardio lol.

    Cons

    All a scheme for you to do the dirty work of those above you. It's a nonprofit organization... They're working to "better the environment," but really how much is going to "research" to "better the environment"? As a canvasser, you're going door-to-door like Jehovah Witnesses asking people to "donate money to the organization" when in reality it's just to beg for money to pad your paycheck and those above you. As a canvasser, you're at the lowest tier of the job positions and you get paid 36 percent commission. THAT'S A LOT! Imagine how much the executive director's salary is or those above you! They make you feel like you're an important part of the team, doing a lot for the organization, and you'll make it to be promoted to the salary job at the end of a summer. ALL A LIE. They're just doing that so you'll stick around the whole summer to canvass because not many people stay to canvass. Also, the doors that they give you to knock on is rigged. They'll level you out with good days and bad days so you'll stick around. They'll give you doors who have donated in the past, and that's who will most likely donate to you. They won't always give you those doors though. You'll get a bunch of new people, who will most likely not donate and laugh in your face.. Your average two week check of working 40 hours will most likely be around $500-700. I honestly wish I could have rated this with no stars at all. There really is nothing good about this place and these people. They even put you at risk, and not care one bit. They take you to secluded places in westchester, no street lights, forest and steep hills, drop you off to knock on doors, and don't pick you up until after dark. You're at risk for danger, and are being used in such a wrong way. Those above you are liars and selfish people that take advantage of college students and young adults. Don't work here, and also don't listen to the other reviews. I witnessed it- they have managers and staff members fill out glassdoor reviews themselves lol. All this organization is made up of is LIES.

    Advice to Management

    Quit lying to poor young adults and college students. Also, don't you feel bad that the organization you work for is all LIES? You're "helping out the environment" is begging for money to pad paychecks... not improve the environment at all.


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