Residency in Social Enterprise (RISE) Fellowship

The New Sector Residency in Social Enterprise (RISE) is a year-long professional development program designed for emerging leaders with up to 5 years of work experience. In addition to being matched with a full-time, year long position at a host site, Fellows participate in professional development trainings, peer learning teams, and individual career coaching sessions to support their long-term career growth.


“New Sector’s program was by far one of the best professional decisions I’ve made. I learned more about what it means to be an effective nonprofit professional than I could have by just taking an entry-level job. I also met many inspiring and smart people in my cohort.”
- C. Nikole Saulsberry, RISE 10-11, San Francisco

RISE includes the following elements, which you can read more about in our Fellowships Overview page:

  • Training – Fellows meet regularly throughout their terms for training on topics ranging from project management to finance, communication to interviewing skills, and more. Trainers include social sector leaders, consultants, career coaches, and others.
  • Employment at Social Impact Organization – Our partners are organizations focused on racial justice, alleviating poverty, closing the achievement gap, engaging in environmental issues, working toward healthier futures, and more. New Sector places Fellows in jobs that are intended to create, improve, or expand services, optimizing the impact of the Fellow’s work. Fellows work full-time for their organizations, attend New Sector trainings, and receive continued support after the Fellowship through the New Sector alumni network.
  • Mentorship – Through one-on-one relationships between Fellows and professionals who volunteer to serve as Mentors, Fellows gain individual support in their role, their career planning, or other areas aligned with their individual goals.
  • Coaching Structured and as-needed coaching opportunities offer Fellows support for job support, career development and personal growth. Coaching is supported by Learning Teams (peer groups) as well as individual meetings with Fellows and Staff.

Short-term pay cut, long-term payoff

The minimum salary for our job matches is slightly lower than market rate. This is because during the first 11 months of their employment, part of the Fellows salary goes towards New Sector’s programming. We view this as an early investment into our Fellows’ long-term careers, where they prioritize skill-building, personal reflection, and professional development.

New Sector’s programs provide employment, necessary early-career professional development, and ongoing access to the New Sector network.  New Sector knows that training and mentoring have measurable effects on job growth, career opportunities, and financial compensation. Fellows measurably increase their value to their employer over this Fellowship experience and are encouraged to renegotiate the compensation level at the end of the Fellowship.

Fellows receive training and support from New Sector, and become full-time employees of their matched host site for their fellowship year. New Sector’s network of partner organizations allows Fellows access to roles and opportunities in a wide variety of focus areas and functions. We place Fellows in communications, data/performance measurement, direct service/programming, fundraising, volunteer management, and other strategic roles.

Employment Matching Tracks

  • Career TrackThe RISE career track is a year-long on-ramp to a career in social impact. Fellows apply to work in a one year position at a host organization. While participating in the RISE program, Fellows are hired as employees of their host organization and receive a fellowship stipend and health benefits.
  • Professional Development Track – This track is for applicants who are already fully employed. Fellows apply to participate in New Sector’s professional development curriculum, including the trainings, peer learning teams, and individual coaching sessions.

Matching Process

Accepted candidates better navigate the challenges of the job application process with New Sector. They are armed with background information on the hiring organization and provided with individualized interview coaching. On top of enjoying the high-quality reputation of being named an esteemed New Sector fellow, New Sector works closely with the Fellow to build critical skills by helping the Fellow uncover host site placement opportunities and challenges

  • Become a New Sector Fellow – Candidates are accepted as New Sector Fellows contingent on successful job matching.
  • Receive one-on-one Career and Job Application Coaching – New Sector works individually with accepted candidates to coach them through each step of job application processes, including cover letter writing, resume editing, and interviewing skills.
  • Interview with Host-Sites – New Sector arranges interviews between accepted candidates and organizations based on their experiences and career interests. Both candidates and employers give interview feedback to New Sector to determine a great fit.
  • Get Hired – New Sector commits to advocating on behalf of all our fellows: While we cannot guarantee job placement, our staff often mitigate misunderstandings between hiring organizations and Fellows, provide extra context and information about our Fellows, and identify common goals.  New Sector staff coach Fellows through determining a good host site placement, so Fellows only have to accept positions they believe are a great match. Once all parties agree that the Fellowship role is a good fit for the Fellow, the organization hires the Fellow.
  • Train and Work – Fellows participate in ongoing professional development trainings throughout the Fellowship that build upon their work experiences at host sites. 

“New Sector’s program was by far one of the best professional decisions I’ve made. I learned more about what it means to be an effective nonprofit professional than I could have by just taking an entry-level job. I also met many inspiring and smart people in my cohort…”
- C. Nikole Saulsberry, RISE 10-11, San Francisco


The New Sector Residency in Social Enterprise program:

  • Currently operates in the Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Twin Cities areas
  • Upcoming program dates: Fellows participate in our curriculum from September  – July. We anticipate Fellows being matched into their jobs between June-late September. Most of the jobs will continue beyond the end of July unless otherwise arranged between the Fellow and host site.


New Sector Residency in Social Enterprise (RISE) Fellows participate in monthly training sessions, drawing from our curriculum spanning five dimensions of professional development.  We’re consistently updating and improving our curriculum. A complete overview of our current RISE curriculum can be downloaded here.


A fellowship stipend and health benefits are provided by the host site; New Sector does not pay Fellows. Minimum fellowship stipends for our placements are based on location.

Frequently Asked Questions

Application and Interview Questions

  • What do you look for in candidates?
    • We look for candidates with a diverse range of academic, internship/work, and life experiences, to build well­-matched and mutually­ supportive cohorts. Each of the early career professionals in our programs demonstrates commitment, focus, interest in professional development, interpersonal skill, professional achievement, leadership experience, and career goals aligned with our social impact focus. Our participants have backgrounds in everything from business to political science, biology to psychology, and beyond.
  • Can I apply for more than one site?
    • New Sector runs fellowship programs in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and the Twin Cities. When you apply to the program, you will be asked to select one city in which to serve as a Fellow. If you are open to other cities, you may indicate this on the application. New Sector staff will consider that information in conjunction with your full application and host site projects when deciding the status of your application. Do NOT complete multiple applications for multiple cities ­­as it will slow down the processing and reviewing of your application.
  • Can I still apply if it is past the deadline?
    • Yes, we review applications until all cohorts are full.
  • I have more than 5 years of postgraduate experience, can I still apply?
    • While our programs are tailored for individuals with fewer than 5 years of post­ college work experience, we’ve had candidates that have more experience that are still an ideal fit for the program. If you have a question about your experience level and fit for the program, please contact us.
  • Are interviews case-­based as they are at many consulting firms?
    • No. New Sector interviews ask candidates to thoughtfully reflect on their skills, interests, and past experiences. We also ask candidates to consider opportunities and challenges they have encountered and to clearly describe these in an organized, coherent manner.
  • What is asked of the references I listed in my application?
    • References receive an electronic form asking for general feedback on the applicant. They are asked to rate skill areas such as communication and professionalism.
  • My references have not been contacted, is everything ok?
    • References are contacted the same time that applicants are offered  second round (staff) interview.
  • Is there a waitlist?
    • Yes. Candidates placed on the waitlist can expect to be alerted within one month about the status of their applications.

Training, Mentorship, Learning Team, and Support Questions

  • What does the timeline look like?
    • New Sector training begins in September. However, as soon as an applicant is accepted to the program,  staff prepares our Fellows for interviews at placement sites. Fellows may begin working at their placement sites anytime before September or shortly after we begin our training. New Sector’s training continues through July, after which Fellows are supported as members of our Alumni community.
  • What do we learn in the training sessions?
    • Fellows participate in New Sector’s Social Impact Leadership Curriculum, which is designed to 1) increase their ability to provide quality service, 2) provide professional and community development knowledge and skills, 3) create a dynamic “esprit de corps” by providing insight into the communities they serve, and 4) inspire commitment to a lifetime of service through exposure to role models, theories of change, and concepts of leadership. You can find more information in the training tab here.
  • Who are Mentors and what do they do?
    • Each Fellow is matched with a Mentor who provides support throughout the program. Mentors are typically consulting, business, and nonprofit professionals. Mentors are a great resource for feedback on deliverables, thought partnership on finalizing a workplan, instruction in technical skills such as Excel or PowerPoint, or general career advice and professional development. Discussions typically take place in­person or via phone or email.
  • Can I choose my Mentor?
    • Program staff make each Mentor­-Fellow match based on survey answers about goals and desired characteristics.
  • What are Learning Teams?
    • New Sector believes the strength of our programs rests in our Fellows. Cohorts are designed to build upon one another’s skills and experiences, and colleagues support and challenge one another throughout the program. To enable the cohort model to flourish, Fellows participate in Learning Teams ­ bi­weekly meetings of small groups of 4­5 Fellows and a staff member. These meetings provide a support network and a more intimate forum for sharing knowledge, ideas, success, and challenges.
  • What is New Sector’s commitment to diversity?
    • Our cohorts reflect diversity of identity and experience in order to (1) facilitate meaningful learning, (2) reflect the needs and populations of our local communities and host sites, and (3) support the development of a diverse social sector talent pipeline.

Host Site and Placement Questions

  • What type of host sites does New Sector work with?
    • New Sector partners with organizations that focus on a variety of issues, including: the environment, youth development and education, health, community and economic development, and military and veterans services. Please visit our current Fellows’ profiles for more information on current host sites and projects.
  • What are some typical Fellow job placements?
    • We expect to place Fellows in fundraising, communications, direct service/programming, volunteer management and development, and data/performance measurement roles. Roles will be dependent on the needs of our partner organizations.
  • The base salary seems lower than market rate, why is that?
    • New Sector understands that professional development is critical for long-term success and retention in the social impact sector. Unfortunately, most social impact organizations simply don’t have the resources to provide training, mentorship, and coaching to their employees. We view our fellowships as investments into our Fellows’ long-term careers, where they prioritize skill-building, support, and and professional development.
    • New Sector offers this Fellow cohort opportunity to provide entry into a position as an employee, provide the professional development training that most non-profits cannot provide to their new staff and provide ongoing support offered to New Sector Alumni.  New Sector believes that such training and mentoring have measurable effects on job opportunities and financial compensation.  Fellows are encouraged to measurably increase their value to their employer over this 11 month experience and either renegotiate the compensation level or to seek alternative positions.

Matching Questions

  • Can I apply to be employed by a specific host site?
    • Yes! If you are currently employed at an organization or have a relationship with an organization that would like to hire you, both you and the organization can apply simultaneously. Reach out to your program manager to discuss the specifics. If you do not have a relationship with an organization but would like a specific role, let us know! We can’t guarantee any placement or that the role would be a good match, but we can certainly try to make the connection.
  • Is there a list of confirmed host sites I can review?
    • Host site recruitment and Fellow recruitment often occur simultaneously so a complete list of host sites will not be available when candidates apply. If you have suggestions or connections at any nonprofits, feel free to share your network with us!
  • What does the timeline look like?
    • Our training begins with Fellows on September 5th. Once accepted, we move quickly to prepare our Fellows for interviews at our placement sites. Fellows may begin working at their placement sites anytime before September 5th. New Sector’s training continues through July 31st, after which our Fellows remain employees of their host organizations and join our alumni community.
  • What does ‘offer contingent on finding a match’ mean?
    • We do not guarantee job placement, and candidates become official members of the cohort when they successfully match.  Should matches not occur, candidates may not advance to participate in the program. New Sector strongly encourages those candidates to apply for future cohorts. You can expect to interview with two to four host sites during the matching process. These interviews can be done via phone or in person depending on the Fellow’s location. If you have not been matched after these have been completed, you and your local program manager will identify a plan for moving forward.  

We are not accepting applications for the 2017-18 RISE Fellowship. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay tuned for future RISE Fellowship application dates and other updates.

Our application has 3 parts:

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


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 impact work 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 offline before starting the application.

Qualifications and Eligibility

  • Demonstrated commitment to social impact
  • High level of self-motivation and academic, extracurricular, professional, and/or personal accomplishment
  • Core leadership attributes, including: resourcefulness, responsibility, independence, patience, integrity, energy, and a strong work ethic
  • Adaptability in the face of change and resource constraints
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including the capacity to understand the needs of multiple and diverse stakeholders, build strong host site relationships, and work effectively individually and as part of a team
  • Excellent project management, analytical, and/or research skills
  • Ability to approach challenges in a structured manner by setting goals, devising a plan to achieve those goals, and meeting those goals in a timely manner
  • Clear commitment to growth and focus on professional development goals

Release of Information

To facilitate Fellow selection and matching, New Sector may share candidates’ resumes and other application materials with potential host sites, mentors, and others involved in the interview and matching process. If candidates have any questions or concerns about this, please contact a staff member. Please no calls.

New Sector Alliance actively seeks to build fellowship programs enrolling individuals with a broad range of backgrounds and experiences, representing a diversity of race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, secular preference, political affiliation, socioeconomic status, and ancestry. Further, we encourage individuals with disabilities to apply to the program; New Sector can provide reasonable accommodations for those individuals upon request. For additional assistance please contact a staff member.