Number of jobs
As a researcher, you will work on a number of research-led projects which are of importance to the goals or fundraising aims of a charity. You may specialise in a key topic, or produce research on a variety of subjects relevant to the charity. This work is essential and invaluable to a not-for-profit, quality and thoroughly produced research will enable a charity to back up its claims and provide a more convincing case to donors. Depending on the needs of the organisation and type of work, you could find yourself doing anything from market research to academic content.
You have a strong background in research, whether this is from your education, internships or previous work experience.
You have a genuine interest in the cause in question, a desire to find out more and willingness to always learn.
You’re the type who likes to delve into things, figure things out and look with detail at specific subjects often to an academic level of rigor.
You’re thorough, organised and meticulous; you understand the impact of information on an issue or cause and can utilise this to understand an organisation in broader context.
You are well versed in backing up your ideas, with qualitative and quantitative data and information which can be referenced if necessary.
Researchers are expected to be educated to degree level. Subjects with large amounts of research such as history, English, politics and economics will be of particular value. If the role is closer to a market research position, degrees in Mathematics, statistics or business may be preferable. A 2:1 is often preferred, but quality experience will be taken into account.
You may be required to have professional knowledge of the research subject; this could be the charity’s cause or a certain area of impact, it could be around donors and market background.
For specialised areas such medical research, legal and social work: postgraduate qualifications may be required. If a charity is seeking an academic researcher, it may be a requirement for you to be educated to an MA or PHD level.
For certain areas such as social research, apprenticeships are available. Graduate schemes such as Charity Works can also prove to be a route into research jobs for those who may not possess the right experience.
Experience in research or a related role will be required, often a year or more of provable experience is expected.
A background in the field/caused is likely to be essential. For example if the charity works in the area of human rights, international development or mental health; you may be required to have a research background in these areas.
Experience in conducting statistical research is also a common requirement, you will need to have knowledge of qualitative and quantitative data as well common analysis tools and databases such as SQL.
Strong experience in producing quality written documents, to an academic or journalistic quality. It will be expected that you will be well versed in the research techniques required to develop such documents and can communicate ideas clearly within them.
Good communication skills are essential, as well as information skills, numerical, analytical, problem-solving, interpersonal and project management skills will help your application appear more attractive.
Presentation skills including verbal and public speaking skill, proofreading, editing and design will also be essential for certain roles.
You’ll research, draft and produce internal reports and/or external research papers and publications which serve the aims and objectives of a charity.
Most of your time will be spent conducting the research itself, this could take the form of investigating sources, interviewing participants and conducting statistical or analytical research. These findings will form the basis of your reports and papers.
Meeting and liaising with clients/funders/trustees in order to negotiate and discuss projects, plan strategy and decide on outcomes.
Conduct “journalistic duties” such as reporting to the media, public bodies, government, industry news and legal entities. It may be part of your job to promote your work to relevant outlets and agency’s, locating the most relevant place for publication.
Utilize a wide range of research techniques such as surveys, case studies, data gathering, interviews, academic and journalistic research and others.
Strong organisational skills will be required as a researcher will liaise will colleagues, external clients and will attend meetings and events for promotional purposes.
You’ll keep your knowledge up to date on a daily basis, keeping up with changes relevant to your charity’s cause; whether this is legal, political, social or even public perception.