A Guide to Entry Level Charity Jobs
Getting an entry level charity job is the dream for people seeking a socially conscious career path, as well as a more flexible work environment that differs from the private sector.
Charity is one of the most rewarding and challenging sectors to work in, and breaking into it may seem like a difficult task at first, but it’s a challenge that you can rise to.
Reasons to work in the charity sector
Unlike some other career paths, the charity sector is about much more than money. People who strive for an entry level charity job want to have a positive impact on the world around them. That’s the first and most important reason to pursue a charity career.
The charity sector also offers an opportunity to handle a variety of projects, particularly as organisations often offer flexible working options such as job sharing. And you’ll work with people who are genuinely passionate about their job and the organisation they work for.
To help you out, we’ve highlighted some of the most popular entry level charity jobs.
Entry level jobs available in the charity sector
Larger charities often need Research Assistants. If you’re new to research, this is a great starting point for your career. It’ll give you an opportunity to explore the charity world whilst gaining valuable skills in this field and playing a part in some important projects.
Your tasks here will be to analyse information and understand and conclude complex findings. You’ll need high-level verbal and written communication skills–and of course, a talent for desk research is a bonus.
Also popular among graduates are Policy Assistant roles, which require similar skills to those of Research Assistants. This job is common in charities of all sizes, from larger international organisations to smaller, home-grown charities.
You’ll need highly developed verbal communication skills to gather information, as well as some background knowledge of policy.
An entry level charity job in this field can help you develop strong research and communication skills, which are 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 studied marketing, English or communications at university, this is a great career opportunity for you. Communications and marketing are also ideal charity careers to pursue if you’re passionate about writing, social media and spreading the message of the charity itself.
As a Marketing & Communication Assistant, you’ll have the chance to work across an entire organisation and promote the charity through many diverse projects and campaigns.
You must have great verbal and written skills, be prepared to work to tight deadlines and, of course, be responsible for presenting the charity for the world to see. A strong understanding of the digital world is needed for an entry level charity job in this field and you’ll have to be a fast learner to keep up with the many changes in marketing.
You should make sure you’re familiar with search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content production and communication methods such as email and direct marketing.
A job in fundraising is sometimes more complex, but very rewarding. The demand for fundraisers is always high―there tend to be more fundraising jobs than there are candidates available. And unlike what many think, the job doesn’t only involve speaking to people on the street.
There are many different types of fundraising that all require different roles (such as community fundraising, major donors and legacy). The foundation of many of these fundraising roles is relationship building.
You’ll need excellent communication and persuasion skills 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’ll 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 as a Fundraising Assistant is exciting. One week you could be organising an event and the next you could be working on a national campaign. Also, fundraising is the moving force of the entire charity, which brings plenty of responsibility.
Administrative roles in a charity organisation are a great starting point, especially if you don’t have much experience. Working as an Office Assistant or Administrative Assistant will help you learn more about the way a charity works―from managing campaigns and organising events to researching and fundraising.
If you’re 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. Working in this field is a great way to find out which career you want to pursue. You can easily move up the ranks from inside once you develop these skills.
Campaign Assistant roles usually require some experience, perhaps gained through 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 number of trials!
You’ll get to know the objectives of your charity or not-for-profit organisation 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.
These are all great opportunities to pursue if you’re looking for an entry level charity job, but remember not to limit yourself. Do your research and discover the best fit for your interests and skill set. Whatever you choose, working in the charity sector is incredibly rewarding.
Take a look at the entry level roles available on CharityJob today.
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated to ensure relevance and to reflect the current job seeker experience.