New Sector’s fellowship programs bring together cohorts of highly-motivated, skilled early career professionals who are passionate about social impact.  Fellows serve full-time at organizations that are focused on alleviating poverty, closing the achievement gap, engaging in environmental issues, working toward healthier futures, and more!

In addition to the placement, Fellows join a peer-learning community where they participate in training, mentoring, and coaching to build skills needed for social sector careers.

2017 Summer Updates
New Sector Alliance will not be running the Summer Fellowship or the Senior Summer Fellowship the summer of 2017.  As New Sector continues to adapt to the changing needs of the social sector and our Fellows, we are focusing our efforts on our new Impact Leadership Incubator program.  Please continue to check with us for future summer opportunities.


Interested In Learning More?

  • Explore our current projects and partners. You can read about the social impact organizations we’re currently working with here, and view profiles of our current Fellows here. You can also read first-hand accounts of experiences from alumna Moriah Otto here or RISE Fellow Ryan Steinbach here. Finally, check out what our alums are doing by reading the alumni blog here!
  • Connect with our staff via email or Tweet your questions to Program Director, Brian Garshelis @bgarshelis!
  • Prepare your application materials. Click the “How to Apply” tab to get started!

“The support, management, lessons and professional development I’ve gleaned from my mentors, colleagues and supervisor(s) at my host site are unmatched.”
- RISE 2014-2015 Fellow

Each of our programs is built on a cohort model, with roughly 15-25 Fellows in each cohort. We take a four-pronged approach to professional development:

  • TrainingFellows meet regularly throughout their terms for training on topics ranging from project management to nonprofit finance, communication to interviewing skills, and more.  Trainers include social sector leaders, consultants, career coaches, and others.
  • Host site placementsBy serving full-time with a social impact organization (‘host site’), Fellows gain experience and apply their learning; at the same time, Fellows make a meaningful and lasting impact at their host site.
  • MentorshipThrough 1:1 relationships between Fellows and professionals who volunteer to serve as Mentors, Fellows gain individual support for their host site projects, their career planning, or other areas aligned with their individual goals.
  • Coaching – Structured and as-needed coaching opportunities offer Fellows support for host site projects and career development, as well as additional learning.  Coaching is supported by Learning Teams (peer groups) as well as individual meetings with Fellows and Staff.

“New Sector exposed me to a diversity of social sector opportunities. Through trainings and my fellow cohort, I learned how to add value to causes I care about. Additionally, the mentorship has been invaluable to me as I continue shaping my career path.”
- Stacey Chin, RISE 2010-2011 San Francisco

New Sector’s Social Impact Leadership Curriculum includes topics distributed across five dimensions of professional development.  Sessions are presented by a range of speakers, including New Sector Staff and expert Trainers who include social sector leaders, management consultants, career coaches, academic faculty, and others. Formats include lecture, case discussions, small group collaboration, individual reflection, role play, and others.


“ The trainings are highly transferrable and useful (e.g. having a first hand understanding of nonprofit finance and typical tensions is very useful). There is a unique benefit of having the structured time to reflect and compare experiences with other Fellows”
- RISE 2014-2015 Fellow

Reflection and Commitment

Goal: To support and strengthen Fellows’ commitment to social sector careers and provide a sense of individual motivations and identities.


Through activities in the Reflection & Commitment stream, Fellows have the opportunities to step back from their day-to-day social sector experience and view their skills, experience and goals with a big picture orientation. By pairing intentional self-reflection with opportunities to view oneself in the larger professional world, Fellows will build professional resilience, celebrate growth and success, conceptualize their identity as emerging leaders, and chart their unique path to social impact during their Fellowship year and beyond.


  • Leadership Style and Values
  • Personal Mission and Values
  • Identity and Diversity
  • MLK Day of Service*
  • July Heat Alumni Events
  • Reflection

Career Development & Planning

GoalTo enable Fellows to identify social sector career ambitions and hone the skills and tools necessary to access desired professional roles following their fellowship.


Through activities in the Career Development & Planning stream, Fellows identify their immediate and long-term career goals and develop skills and tools to achieve these goals. In addition to developing, practicing and refining their approach to searching for their next professional role, Fellows develop a habit of thinking about their career path in the long-term and planning for professional development and career advancement.


  • Career Assessment
  • Career Visioning
  • Cover Letters*
  • Resumes
  • Interviewing
  • Negotiations*
  • Personal Brand*
  • Effective Networking

Social Sector Landscape

GoalTo provide context to the Fellowship experience that maximizes host site impact and broadens knowledge that informs career development.


Through activities in the Social Sector Landscape stream, Fellows develop an understanding of the stakeholders in the social sector and opportunities and constraints unique to the sector. A look at the trends and changes in the sector over time enables Fellows to better understand the role that their host site plays in the social sector – and the ways the landscape may influence their Fellowship project – while also developing awareness of the factors that influence social sector decision-making.


  • Local Social Impact Landscape
  • Mission and Theory of Change
  • Social Sector Overview: Landscape and Trends
  • Social Enterprise*
  • Governance and Boards of Directors*
  • Growth and Scaling*

Foundations of Leadership

Goal: To build communication, leadership and workplace competencies that maximizes Fellow’s impact and effectiveness during their fellowship and beyond.


Through activities in the Foundations of Leadership stream, Fellows build professional skills necessary for successful planning, problem solving and project execution across a range of professional roles. Equipped with these skills, Fellows are better able to anticipate and address opportunities and challenges, leading to greater impact at their sites and stronger leadership in the long-term.


  • Experiential Case Studies
  • Influence and Managing Up
  • Workstyles
  • Change Management
  • Workplanning and Structured Problem Solving
  • Organizational Culture
  • Professional Communication Skills

Professional Competencies

Goal: To equip Fellows with skills and language that can maximize host site impact, increase access to professional opportunities and expose Fellows to a range of career pathways.


Through activities in the Professional Competencies stream, Fellows are introduced to a range of functional areas found in social sector organizations. Through the awareness, skills and tools developed, Fellows are able to achieve greater project success, consider a wider range of career fields and take a broader perspective as a leader.


  • Intro to Strategy*
  • Intensive Strategy Case Study*
  • Intro to Fundraising
  • Intensive Fundraising Case Study*
  • Intro to Finance
  • Intensive Finance Case Study*
  • Operations*
  • Program Design and Management*
  • Performance Measurement*
  • Talent Management*
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Using Data to Drive Mission*
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation*

*Core session for RISE program only.

The central element of each Fellow’s term is a host site placement, which offers project-based experiential learning opportunities.  Each Fellow serves full-time with a nonprofit or local organization to build capacity; in other words, each placement focuses on creating, improving, expanding services offered by the organization.

How Do We Match Fellows With Organizations?

  • Working together with our partner organizations, a position description is outlined to ensure there is a project that fits New Sector’s guidelines and goals and offer a valuable member development experience.
  • After reviewing both candidate application materials and project information, our staff identify potential matches and share select resumes with organizations.
  • For each candidate the organization would like to interview (usually 3-5 per project), our staff set up an interview After an interview happens, both the organization and Fellow provide feedback.
  • We review the feedback, and if there is a clear mutual match, we make it!
  • A mutual match means that both the candidate and the Supervisor are exciting about working together.  If there is not a mutual fit, Program Staff continue to assign candidates interviews with other host site partners until the right mutual fit is found.

Host site organizations span many issue areas, including the following and more:

  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Workforce Readiness
  • Veterans Services

Examples of past projects are provided below.




“ The project was well scoped/defined and I had significant ownership of it, which was very useful in giving me broad exposure, resume worthy experiences, and transferrable skills.”
- RISE 2014-2015 Fellow

Click on the links below to see how current Fellows are building organizational capacity across various project types.

Performance Measurement
Dan Kitson helped UP Education Network in Boston to achieve it’s impact measurement goals by supporting the implementation of its new performance evaluation system.

Program Outreach & Community Awareness
Tenzin Kunsal worked with Pollen in the Twin Cities to enhance their outreach and awareness capacity by creating a process for partnership development and building a system for Pollen’s research and editorial work.

Volunteer Engagement
Joelle Hughley worked with the YMCA in the Twin Cities to build their volunteer engagement strategy by understanding how to optimize volunteer impact through data collection assessment, and process improvement analysis, and producing volunteer recruitment materials.

Technology Effectiveness
Ben Vincent helped Thrive in 5 in Boston improve their technology effectiveness by enhancing their membership card system, which aims to create opportunities to engage community partners with vulnerable families to help their children prepare for educational success .

Program Management & Operations
Phoebe Marcus worked with Year Up in Chicago to improve program operations by planning and implementing strategic initiatives related to site efficiency and staff engagement, enabling Year Up Chicago to successfully expand its programs and services.

Program Development & Delivery
Casey Anderson helped SamaUSA in San Francisco strengthen program development by building out their e-training curriculum and leveraging technology to increase the effectiveness of curriculum delivery.

Community Assessment
Grace Peter helped Green Light Fund in San Francisco  build capacity for community assessment by conducting in-depth research on a small portfolio of potential organizations, and providing recommendations for selection.

New Sector Fellows have many opportunities for support, including structured and as-needed opportunities, and small group and individual ones.

  • Learning Teams – these small groups of about 5 Fellows meet biweekly (outside of business hours) to discuss their host site placements, offer skill-sharing opportunities, and provide general and career development support in a small-group setting.  Each Learning Team is facilitated by New Sector Staff or Senior Fellow.
  • Mentors – through 1:1 relationships with their Mentors, Fellows gain support for their individual goals, which may include host site projects, professional etiquette, career exploration, and beyond.  Fellows manage their schedules with Mentors, typically meeting or talking at least biweekly, often outside of business hours.  Mentors are often management consultants as well as business, philanthropy, and nonprofit professionals.  Current and former Mentors have worked for organizations including Accenture, The Bridgespan Group, Google, Oliver Wyman, and others.
  • Structured Feedback and Check-Points – through the term, each Fellow is offered pre-scheduled 1:1 feedback.  These activities may be adjacent to Fellows’ mid-term presentations or during training sessions.
  • Office Hours and 1:1 Coaching – as-needed, Fellows can access individual support from Staff.  Common topics of discussion include navigating host site opportunities and challenges, exploring job and career opportunities, and reviewing resumes and cover letters.
  • Network Building – there are ample opportunities for Fellows to gain additional support and contacts through New Sector Alumni, Trainers, other Fellows, and the community of host sites.

“ The oppotunity to learn, be challenged and continuously reflect made me much more capable of identifying strengths and areas for growth and being proactive about learning how to improve.”
- RISE 2014-2015 Fellow

We’re currently accepting applications in all 4 locations to our Impact Leadership IncubatorWe review applications as they are submitted, and will stop accepting applications when cohorts are full.

Candidates apply through our online application.  Our application has 3 parts:

  1. Online Application
  2. Round 1 Interview with a New Sector alum
  3. Round 2 interview with staff (and reference check)


What Are We Looking For?

There is no typical Fellow, though all of our Fellows are early-career, and are:

  1. Committed to social impact
  2. Interested in learning, and will take advantage of our professional development opportunities as well as the peer learning environment
  3. Skilled in one or more of our project areas (see Host Site Placement tab for an overview of the types of projects Fellows complete).

Online Application

Our online application asks for:

  1. Demographic Information and Program Preferences
  2. Upload of Written Materials (Resume, Cover Letter, Answers to 3 Short Essay Questions) in PDF or Word formats
  3. Contact Information for References for two professional or academic references (no friends or family please)

Writing Sample

In addition to preparing a resume and cover letter, we ask you to submit answers to 3 short essay questions. Please answer the 3 following questions in 300 words per question or less (900 words total), and include all 3 answers in a single document and upload using the button on the application.

  1. Please tell us why you are committed to the social sector, and how the New Sector program would enhance that commitment.
  2. Please tell us about an accomplishment you are proud of.
  3. In addition to each Fellow learning from the New Sector experience, we know each Fellow adds to the professional development of his/her colleagues in the cohort.  Please tell us about the role you would play in supporting peer learning within the cohort.  Fellows’ impact on their peers’ learning often stems from their unique experiences, backgrounds, personalities, and perspectives.

While you can save your progress in the online application, we recommend you prepare your written materials before starting the application.