Your Complete Guide to Remote Working in the Charity Sector
Keeping costs to a minimum is a priority for many organisations, but in the charity sector, it can mean the difference between funding a project and keeping the lights turned on.
That’s because charities in the UK come in all shapes in sizes—from the international powerhouses to the five-people teams operating out of a founder’s garage. So it’s no wonder that remote working has grown in popularity sector-wide. It means the smaller players can spend the money where it needs to be spent, focusing less on flashy office space and more on working with talented people who can really make a difference.
And with tools and resources like cloud technology, coworking spaces, virtual offices and collaboration platforms, it’s now easier than ever for teams to work effectively while being location independent.
But it’s not just about costs—remote working also influences:
- Increased productivity
- Greater employee loyalty and engagement
- Lower employee turnover
- Better work-life balance
- An organisation’s environmental footprint
- Talent recruitment efforts
- Reduced stress levels
Thinking about applying for a remote working position in the charity sector? Here are our top tips for getting started.
1. Do some research
While there are plenty of charities hiring remotely, it can be hard to find a role that aligns with your skills and purpose.
You can find out what sort of skills different charities are looking for by browsing through old job ads they’ve posted. Is there a particular cause that you’re passionate about? Start researching organisations in that area (i.e. caring for seniors, mental health, arts and culture, animal welfare, medical research, etc).
What are some of the common positions you’re coming across? Do you have the skills that they’re looking for? And do they offer flexible or remote working options? If it doesn’t say this on the job spec, check out their ‘About Us’ page or if they have any reviews on sites like Glassdoor.
Once you’ve found some organisations that tick all your boxes, then go ahead and start applying!
Common Remote Positions in the Charity Sector
- Marketing and outreach
- Grant writer
- Data Manager
- Programme Coordinator/Manager
- Personal Assistant
- Finance Manager
Pro tip: If you’re not sure whether a charity is considering a remote employee for the role they’ve posted, try contacting the hiring manager on LinkedIn. They’ll appreciate you taking the time to reach out and it saves you from wasting time on a role that needs to be in the office.
2. Invest in/use the right tools
If you’re going to be working remotely, then you need to make sure that you have access to the right tools and resources to carry out your tasks effectively.
For starters, you’ll most likely need a laptop or desktop.
Then you’ll have to install the right apps and platforms to support your work. Talk with your team and figure out the best way to communicate with each other and collaborate. When remote working, team communication and collaboration is absolutely crucial.
Some popular apps
You might also consider having a phone number that is able to make local and international calls, this is particularly true if you work for a global organisation or if you’ll be part of the fundraising team.
Pro tip: Since you’ll be using primarily digital tools, it’s important that you follow any security policies and restrictions that your charitable organisation might have. Don’t forget about GDPR!
3. Find an environment that works for you
While many remote workers choose to work from home, this is not ideal—at least not full time.
One of the biggest challenges of remote working is coping and dealing with isolation. That’s why it’s important to consider what options are available for you in terms of dialling in.
Some remote workers like the buzz of a coffee shop or a coworking space. These are cost-effective solutions that can not only improve feelings of loneliness, but they allow you to network with other workers and establish a clear work/life separation.
Just remember, you need to think beyond wellbeing when choosing the right workspace. Consider privacy, how you’ll stay organised and where you’ll be the most productive.
Workspace solutions like virtual offices can help remote workers in the charity sector keep their personal life private by providing them with a business address where they can receive mail from trustees, donors, volunteers, etc. And this helps establish legitimacy in the eyes of major donors (no one wants to be mailing important documents to your home address!)
Pro tip: Though technology has made it easier than ever for people to connect online, offline communication continues to be a key element of success. Make an effort to meet with your team or donors in person regularly. If this isn’t possible, video calls are the next best option. But don’t forget to be mindful of your environment (how it looks on camera, but also noise around you).
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4. Building a culture of trust
A big component of remote work is employee-employer trust. That’s why it’s so important that you and your team set clear expectations. Establish goals, set deadlines, track your progress. The clearer the picture your coworkers have of what you’re doing, the more trusting they’ll be.
Some areas you’ll want to cover include:
- Networking events
- Participation in industry events
- Communication policies
- Working hours
- In-person meetings—this is particularly important if your charity organisation is based in a different city than you are
Sound right for you? Then go for it.
There’s nothing stopping you from finding a job you love and fitting it around your lifestyle. Just because you can’t be in the office from 9-to-5 doesn’t mean you aren’t the right person for the job! So invest in the right tools and show them that you can bring value to their organisation without physically being there.
Think you’re ready to take the leap into remote working? Take a look at which charities are hiring today and start applying!
Ceci Amador, Senior Associate Editor of Allwork.Space, is based from wherever her laptop is. She enjoys travelling and visiting new flexible workspaces. If you'd like Ceci to check out your workspace, feel free to reach out to her at [email protected] (and send a plane ticket).