6 Perks and Benefits of Working For a Charity

3 minute read

Working for a charity has many intangible benefits, such as knowing you’re making a difference, supporting a cause and working with people with similar values, but what can charities offer as material compensation alongside your salary?

It’s true that you might have to take a small pay cut if you move into the sector, but many people don’t factor in the benefits that make up part of the package on offer.

They do vary of course, depending on the size and set-up of the charity and its cause, but some benefits—and arguably those that are most valued by employees—tend to be universal. So what can you expect? Here are six perks and benefits of working for a charity that might just surprise you…

1. Time off

While charities can’t quite compete with the corporate sector in terms of salary, they make up for it in time off. Not only do they offer a very generous holiday allowance, often a minimum of 25 days and rising as high as 30 (and we’ve even seen some as high as 34!) plus bank holidays, but most charities also close their offices over Christmas, offering employees additional days off.

Depending on your role at the charity, some out of hours working may be required in addition to your standard hours. While paid overtime can be scarce, time off in lieu is usually given. Days off for volunteering, early finish on Friday or even a paid sabbatical (usually after a few years’ of service) are also benefits you may come across.

Man looking at his watch

2. Flexible working

This is a hot topic at the moment, but it’s old hat to charities—they practically invented flexible working. Flexible hours, often with some ‘core’ hours in the middle of the day, tends to be the norm and working from home at least every so often was common practice even before the pandemic. Since then, many charities have adopted a hybrid strategy and some have even gone completely remote and given up their office space. They are usually much more open to part-time hours, or alternative working patterns such as job shares or compressed hours and are often very flexible when it comes to time off for childcare or family emergencies. Several charities are even moving to a four-day week, with no loss of pay.

3. Career development

While expensive external training courses may be few and far between, this doesn’t mean charities won’t invest in you. In fact, they are expert at finding innovative ways to do this on a budget. You’ll often find comprehensive online learning and development resources available to you. They also use their not-for-profit status to their advantage by negotiating cheap and pro-bono training from businesses who want to give back and support them.  Organisations that support charities, such as NCVO, offer a great range of training for their members to access for free.

Charities also frequently offer cross-charity mentoring and buddying schemes, offering bespoke support for developing your career.

One woman sits down reading a piece of paper, another stands behind her and read it over her shoulder

4. Wellbeing

Due to the nature of the work, it’s very important that charities look after the wellbeing of their staff. So it’s lucky that most are very good at it! Many offer an employee assistance programme as a minimum. This is an online portal and helpline offering both practical advice and emotional support (including counselling) for any issues that employees experience, whether work-related or not. Many charities go further than this and offer more direct support by training staff as wellbeing champions or mental health first aiders, so there are team members you can approach directly for support.

5. Financial

Although a workplace pension scheme is now a legal requirement, many charities, especially larger ones, will offer more generous contributions than you might expect. The average enhanced employer pension contribution being 8%.

Some of the larger charities will also offer life insurance or an income protection scheme should you be unable to work.

A man's body and hands sitting at table working on a graph in front of him

6. Money-saving

Love a bargain? There are a wide variety of money-saving benefits offered by charities, often in partnership with other programmes and providers. Many offer discount schemes such as Staff Treats or Perkbox, offering savings on everything from groceries to holidays. Other money-saving benefits can include:

  • season ticket loan
  • cycle to work scheme
  • car allowance scheme
  • free parking
  • free eye tests
  • subsidised gym membership
  • subsidised meals/canteen.

Some larger charities, particularly those with causes related to health, may also offer some kind of cash healthcare or vouchers scheme or private medical insurance.

There’s no shortage of perks and benefits on offer when you work for a charity. And particularly if you’re someone who values time over money and you’re looking for a better work-life balance, you might just find the package on offer is the perfect fit for you.

Want to have a look what’s out there? Browse the latest charity jobs.

Karen Harlow

Karen Harlow is Senior Content Manager at CharityJob.

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