The Three Areas of the Charity Sector Set to Grow in 2021 and Beyond
If you’re looking for a new challenge, now is a great time to see what’s out there. There has been a significant increase in the number of jobs advertised since the start of the year and there are particular parts of the charity sector which are experiencing particular growth. Here’s what you should know.
A surprising surge in giving
For several years running, the total amount of donations collected by charities in the UK kept increasing. When Covid-19 hobbled the economy, most experts expected that charities would be the hardest hit. But according to the Charities Aid Foundation’s 2020 UK Giving Report, donation levels in 2020 remained in line with previous years. And between January and June of 2020, total donations hit £5.4 billion. This is an increase of £800 million over the same period the prior year.
But the money wasn’t going towards all the same causes as before. Medical research charities, for example, reported a £174 million donation shortfall in the first half of the year alone. And international aid societies saw their traditional funding streams dry up. More people chose to donate to charities that supported the NHS through the pandemic instead.
And at the same time, demand for services from domestic charities has skyrocketed, with 56% of charities reporting an anticipated rise in demand. Those forces are remaking the UK’s third sector at a dizzying speed, leaving charity workers at a loss for how and where to focus their attention as they try to advance their careers.
If you’re a jobseeker, there are some definite trends that you can use to your advantage. To get you started, here are the three areas of the third sector that are certain to grow in 2021 and beyond.
Public Health-Related Charities
If there’s one thing the British public is known for, it’s their love for the NHS. They even cite it as the thing about their nation they’re most proud of. That’s part of why it came as no surprise that so many people stepped up their giving to organisations that support the NHS and public health in general amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the truth is, the NHS has remained on shaky financial ground for a long time. And that means there’s a very good chance that some of these supportive charities that have grown in size and scope through 2020 won’t be shrinking when the pandemic ends.
That means there’s going to be plenty of opportunities for advancement within public health-related charities in the coming years. In particular, organisations will be looking for people with the fundraising skills they need to convert their pandemic-driven donation windfalls into recurring revenue streams. There’s also going to be a surge in the need for public health experts to help craft new programs and public offerings from charities in the space.
Homelessness and Anti-Poverty
It’s an unfortunate reality that the UK suffers from a massive and pervasive homelessness crisis. And it’s a problem that has gone on for decades, centuries even, despite myriad government interventions and plans to address it. But during the pandemic something interesting happened. Faced with a public health crisis that demanded immediate attention, the third sector and government agencies sprang into action to effect the Everybody In scheme, which aimed to provide emergency housing for all of the nation’s rough sleepers.
And although the pandemic is still ongoing, the initiative worked so well that there are growing calls for it to continue. That means charities focused on homelessness and anti-poverty initiatives are likely to get a boost in 2021 and beyond. And to accomplish their missions, they’re going to need people with experience dealing with multiple disciplines. The highest demand will be for individuals with skills in housing administration and development, as well as for experienced financial managers—who will have to deal with an influx of capital that looks to be incoming.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
The coronavirus pandemic highlighted some weaknesses in the UK’s health system as well as its efforts to combat homelessness, but those were just the most visible issues to emerge from the situation. But there’s another crisis looming that hasn’t had nearly as much attention. It’s a growing mental health crisis that experts predict will explode in the wake of the pandemic.
As a result a coalition of mental healthcare-focused charities has begun lobbying for additional government support to meet the coming challenge. Even without it charities in the space are ramping up their efforts to build out new programmes to help people in their service areas. They’re looking for people with backgrounds in social work and counselling, as well as for those well-versed in navigating the mental healthcare resources available from the NHS.
A Remade Third Sector
In 2021 and for the foreseeable future, the third sector in the UK isn’t going to resemble its former self. With the fallout from the pandemic set to continue for some time and the continued economic pain wrought by Brexit still restricting new growth, demand for charities’ services will remain high. And the three parts of the sector identified here will likely see both the highest demand as well as the largest increases in employment.
That means workers looking to advance their charity careers should focus on available positions in organisations in those three areas. Likewise, they should seek to build the most in-demand skills mentioned here, either through additional training or via volunteer opportunities. Their efforts are certain to pay off in job offers and expanded responsibilities–which will create a path to advancement for years to come.