Why Creativity Matters When Applying for a Charity

7 minute read

When you spend every day fighting for a cause that means something to you, you’re not only more motivated and satisfied than you would be in an ordinary working environment—you’re probably happier too. Combine that with a good work/life balance, and it’s no wonder so many people consider making the switch into the third sector.

But if you don’t have any charity experience, how can you stand out as the right candidate for a charity job?

You want to demonstrate how your particular experience, knowledge and skills make you unique. True, they might not have been in a charity environment, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be put to good use.

That’s where a bit of creativity can make a difference. Let’s take a closer look at why creativity is such an important aspect of landing that dream charity job.

Why Creativity Matters When Applying for a Charity

Why does creativity matter when you’re applying for a charity role?

First, let’s define what we mean by ‘creativity’. Sure, there’s a certain creative finesse that needs to come into play during the job hunt itself. But what really matters is how your creativity and critical thinking can benefit the charity in the long term.

Here are a few ways your creativity can drive a charity in the right direction.

1. Creative individuals can generate new ideas

Charities are often faced with unique problems specific to their sector. Whether it’s a new donor retention strategy or an overseas aid project, the problems charities face are numerous and diverse.

And these problems are always changing. As the world develops and new trends and technologies arise (climate change is one good example), charities need to be innovative to tackle them—and candidates with inventive qualities help them do just that.

Creative people are capable of coming up with original ideas. They break away from the tried-and-tested methods and look to fresh, exciting ways of achieving their goals. As a result, creative candidates are a huge asset to charities.


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2. Engaging new donors requires a fresh approach

If you want to hook people into your cause, you need to get creative. Just as customers are numb to the constant barrage of marketing (marketing blindness is a real thing), so too are people numb to charity appeals.

To really inspire regular donation and engagement with a charitable cause, you need to motivate people. That requires inventive thinking.

Creative individuals know how to engage with donors on a personal level. They’re capable of connecting with people emotionally to compel them to act—whether it’s by donating, signing a petition or doing something totally outside the box.

3. Creativity makes up for tight budgets

Many of the major charities have larger budgets to play with. They’re capable of paying big agencies to coordinate impactful marketing campaigns that provide big results.

However, small charities lack the big budgets and time to execute campaigns on the same scale. But this doesn’t mean they’re any less capable of producing engaging marketing strategies to source donors and spread awareness.

Small charities need solutions that are fresh, actionable, and financially-secure—and that requires creativity. When you’re applying for a charity role, creative candidates will stand out by showing an ability to turn tight circumstances into successful opportunities.

Why Creativity Matters When Applying for a Charity

How can you bring creativity to your charity job application?

You know that you’re creative, but how can you show this on your application? On average, a recruiter spends about seven seconds reading a CV, so you have to make it clear immediately. Here’s how.

1. Demonstrate previous creative work on your CV

If you’re applying for your first charity role, it’s unlikely that you’ve got the first-hand experience of creative problem-solving in that industry. Thankfully, creativity is a transferable skill that you can develop and implement in nearly any job.

Create opportunities that require you to use creativity in a charitable environment. Solo charity initiatives are a good example of this. Find a unique way to raise money for your favourite charity and launch a fundraising strategy to accompany it. This approach offers dual benefits for your charity job application.

Firstly, it’s evidence that you can ideate innovative fundraising ideas beyond the tried-and-tested methods (fun runs, bake sales, etc). While these methods are all well and good, finding a new way to raise money shows forward-thinking—and it stands out to prospective employers.

Secondly, your fundraising promotional strategy shows that you have the motivation and organisational skills to capitalise on your creative idea. Creativity is nothing unless it is used effectively for maximum return.


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2. Improve yourself through enjoyable creative pursuits

You can lean on other resources to improve your creativity too. Few, if any, people ever enhanced their creative skills by relying solely on themselves. Look to other avenues to hone your creative skills in a broader sense. By this, I mean focusing on skills that aren’t strictly related to charity but will still complement your application.

Take writing, for instance. As a creative pursuit, it teaches form, vocabulary, style, and above all, confidence in communication. Creative writing courses can help improve your written skills in a fun, accessible way. These, in turn, can be expressed in your application. Your cover letter and CV are both fine opportunities to flex your creative muscles.

Even more artistic creative pursuits, such as painting, are worthwhile too. Painting, drawing, and other art-related tasks foster creative growth and improve focus and memory.

Life drawing, in particular, is increasingly popular and easy to get into. But beyond improving your creative skills, it shows employers that you have creative hobbies and the personality to match.

Why Creativity Matters When Applying for a Charity

3. Show that you’re a self-starter

Launching and running a business or club requires an array of vital skills: leadership, problem-solving, people skills, communication and so on. But it also requires you to develop creativity. And it doesn’t have to be a full-blown business, per se. It could be an Etsy shop or a local sport club. Just the act of organising and running a regular event or online space can speak volumes to the type of candidate you are.

In interviews, you’ll almost definitely get asked to discuss a time when you had to get creative to solve a problem. Starting your own business gives you plenty of fodder for this question.

From missed payments to unhappy customers, you’ll face a variety of problems that require inventive solutions. By launching your own enterprise, you don’t just show that you’re motivated—you also show you have the creative chops to deal with these issues.

Ecommerce is a strong option to begin with. It demands a variety of skills and no small amount of creativity, plus it’s easy to get started with a plethora of ecommerce builders and free resources available online.

Alternatively, you could launch a blog. While it’s not as demanding as ecommerce, blogging successfully means writing creative content that engages audiences. It also means finding a hook that resonates with your target reader—you need to get inventive to find a niche that works.


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Ready to get creative?

Charity roles require a variety of skills, often ones that you wouldn’t need for roles in more commercial industries.

But in an oversaturated candidate market, creativity can really make the difference and get you through to the hiring stage.

Got some tips of your own for bringing creativity to a charity job application? Comment below to share yours. Share them in the comment section below.

Need some help getting started with your application? Download our charity CV and cover letter templates today.

Rodney Laws

Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsior.

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