A Guide to Entry Level Jobs in The Charity Sector

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The charity sector is a popular choice with many graduates and young people, which makes it a highly competitive field to find a job in. This is the dream of many people who seek a socially conscious career path, as well as those who enjoy a more conscious and flexible work environment that differs from the private sector. However, to get inside the charity sector, you need to gain some experience and be able to produce an excellent application. After all, this is not a job to be taken lightly.

The charity sector offers an opportunity to handle a variety of projects, as well as travel internationally. At the same time, it is a career that has an enormous impact on the people and communities involved, which makes it one of the most rewarding and challenging sectors in the world.

Knowing this, breaking into the charity sector is a difficult task at first, but it’s a challenge that you can rise to. Your goal is to make the world a better place, so it is quite normal that getting there is a process.

Reasons to Work in the Charity Sector

Unlike many other career paths, the not-for-profit sector is about much more than money. People who strive to get a job in this sector want to have a positive impact on the world around them. That is the first and most important reason to pursue a charity career.

There are also plenty of other reasons that people are motivated to work for a charity. From flexible hours to travelling abroad and running campaigns, there are some ways for you to put your skills to even better use.

And finally, charities allow for various job sharing opportunities. This means that you will get the chance to work on a variety of projects, which makes for quite the interesting career. To help you out, we have highlighted some of the most popular level roles in the charity sector.

Entry level jobs available in the Charity Sector

Research

If you are new to research, this is a great starting point for your career. Research Assistants are widely accepted in larger charities, which will give you an opportunity to explore the charity world before you make a more specific decision.

Your tasks here will be to analyse information, understand and conclude complex findings, as well as possess high-level skills of both verbal and written communication. Of course, having a talent for desk research is also considered a bonus.

Students can use this opportunity to develop further the writing and researching skills learned in school, and later use those to work higher in the charity sector, or any other research job on the market.

Policy

Policy Assistant roles are also a popular job among graduates, and the required skills are similar to those of research assistants. This job is common in charities of all sizes, from the larger international organisations to smaller home grown charities.

Your tasks here will be to gather information, use highly developed verbal communication skills, as well as have some background knowledge regarding policies.

A role in this field can help you develop strong research and communication skills, which is essential for a variety of roles that you may want to explore later on in your career such as fundraising, marketing or communications.

Communications and Marketing

If you decided to go for Marketing, English or Communications while studying at university, this is a great career opportunity for you. Communications and marketing are also a great charity careers to pursue if you are passionate about writing, social media and spreading the message of the charity itself.

As a Marketing & Communication Assistant, you will have the opportunity to work across an entire organisation and promote the charity through many projects and campaigns. This means that you must possess great verbal and written skills, be prepared to work with tight deadlines and of course, be responsible for presenting the charity for the world to see.

A strong understanding of the digital world is a necessity here and you’ll have to be a fast learner to keep up the many changes in marketing as a field. This means much more than understanding the significance of social media. You should make sure you’re familiar with terms such as search engine optimisation (SEO), search marketing (SEM), content production and potentially the impact of other communication methods such as email and direct marketing.

 

Fundraising

Fundraising is a more complex job, but a very rewarding one. As such, the demand for fundraisers is always high – there tend to be more fundraising jobs than there are people available. And unlike what many think, the job does not only involve speaking to people in the street.

There are several different types of fundraising methods which all require different roles (e.g. community fundraising, major donors, legacy and more). The foundation of many of these fundraising roles is relationship building. This means that you must possess excellent communication and persuasion skills that will allow you to develop long-term relationships with individuals and organisations to secure funding and create partnerships.

If you’re good with words and know how to be pretty charismatic, you’re already a step in the right direction. Of course, you will have to learn as you’re in the role to understand the best practices, but this is the perfect job for communicative, active people who want to spend time with others.

Learning the ins and outs of fundraising as a Fundraising Assistant is exciting. One week you could be organising an event, such as a fun run and the next you could be working on a national campaign.  Also, it is the moving force of the entire charity, which brings plenty of responsibility.

Administration or Office

Administrative roles in a charity organisation are a great starting point, especially if you do not have much experience. Working as an Office Assistant or Administrative Assistant will help you learn more about the way that a charity works from managing campaigns, organising events to researching, and fundraising.

If you are interested in working your way into the charity sector but don’t know where to start, this is the place to get introduced to all other branches of the charity field. What you need to get started is to be highly organised and self-motivated, you’ll pick the rest up along the way. This career is a great way to find out which is the career you want to pursue. You can easily move up the ranks from inside once you develop these skills.

Campaigning

Campaign Assistant is a role that usually requires some experience, perhaps gained through other avenues such as volunteer work. You need to show examples of great team building and commitment to projects from beginning to end.Adversity pays in this field as no campaign comes without a  fair amount of trials!

You’ll have an opportunity to see the what the objectives of your charity or not-for-profit organisation are and look for ways to make them a reality through creative campaigns. The best part about this role is seeing something turn from an idea or concept into a real life campaign that people are involved with on a daily basis.

To sum up…

These are all great opportunities to pursue in the charity sector but remember not to limit yourself. Do your research and discover the best fit for your interests and skill set. And remember, whatever you choose, working in the charity sector is incredibly rewarding.

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  • Susan Corbett

    Hi, Hilary. Thanks for these great tips and pointers. It isn’t easy to know where to start looking, but this post helps. All the best to everyone else out there who’s looking!

About Hillary Hope

Hillary Hope is a fundraising expert that has been contributing to the charity sector for almost a decade. Her regular job is content writing at the office, where she shares her knowledge with others and helps them pursue the career they want.

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