What does it really mean to work for a charity?

Even in this day and age, there’s a huge misconception that charity work means volunteering or running a charity shop. Many people don’t know just how much they can contribute to the sector. There is plenty to discover and you can find a role that allows you to utilize your skills and make a difference.

Your skills and experience are needed to help the charity sector continue to grow. If you’re wondering just where you can fit in, keep reading! We’ll unveil just how you can break into the charity sector and uncover your next role…

What kind of roles do they offer?

The charity sector has a lot to offer. Like everyday businesses, charities need Financial, Management, Marketing and IT teams. Many charities are willing to recruit people who have a broad range of skills. Here are some areas that are particularly important:

Fundraising & Campaigning – Ultimately charities are working towards creating a world where they don’t need to exist. They are fighting for a cause and have to raise money through fundraising in order to create the changes that they want to see.  

Marketing, Communications & PR – Charities need to spread the word about all of  changes that they’re trying to make. That’s where marketing and communications comes in. From emails to social media, there is always a person behind the messages that you see! If you have experience in marketing or journalism, this may be the field for you.

Technology – Charities need people with tech skills to keep up with the changes and use technology to their advantage. Many organisations are using tech in innovative ways to change the sector. This could include web development, creating apps, content production and more.

Volunteer management – Volunteers are key to the success of the charity sector. Organisations need to manage volunteers and create a structure for their community (which often requires a team). These jobs require great communication and people skills in order to manage the diverse range of people who donate their time and skills to a charity.

There are also plenty of opportunities in:

  • Finance
  • Administration
  • Business Development & Project Management
  • HR
  • Retail
  • Social care
  • Teaching, education and training

The charity sector certainly isn’t running short on job opportunities. It’s just about finding your place within it.

How can I play a part?

Whether you’re trying to break free of the business sector and find a job that’s more fulfilling, or you’ve discovered your passion through volunteering, there is a chance for you to get into the charity sector. And in this case, the more prepared you are for change the better. So before you start searching for the job of your dreams, here are some things to think about:

Consider what you’re passionate about – the charity sector is full of people who are fueled by a desire to truly make a difference. They work with organisations who are dedicated to a cause that is meaningful to them. So before you think about the role that’s made for you, consider what kind of charity you would like to work for.

Do you want to create a healthier environment, alleviate poverty or support children in war torn countries? Ask yourself what you’re truly passionate about and this will give you a better sense of direction and allow you to find an organisation whose values and mission statement are aligned with your own.

Ask: how can I transfer my skills? – We all have transferable skills. Every job that you’ve had has, in some way, allowed you to enhance your skill set. From communication to project management and team building, there are plenty of skills that you can take from your previous experience and apply within the charity sector. Now it’s time to work on presenting yourself, selling those skills and proving that you have the potential to be a valuable addition to a charity.

Get your foot in the door – commit to your decision to find your place in the sector by spending some time volunteering for a charity. Not only will this give you an opportunity to see how charities operate, you’ll also be able to connect with some new people and potentially work your way into a charity that you care about.

Where do I start?

Start by familiarising yourself with the charity sector. There are some amazing organisations that are dedicated to offering their support and expertise to charity professionals such as:

NCVO: The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), champions the voluntary sector by connecting organisations with people, partners & resources that allow them to make a difference. Their website is jam packed full of the latest sector news and information.

Institute of Fundraising: the professional membership body for UK fundraising, they champion and promote fundraising as a career choice. If you want to learn the ins and outs of fundraising, this is the place to be.

CharityTimes: the leading business management magazine for charity professionals. Their online and print magazine will keep you up-to-date with all of the major changes in the sector.

CharityConnect: this is the social network for charity professionals. If you’re want to meet, learn from and collaborate with people who are in the charity sector, this is the network you need.

All set to dive into the charity sector? Follow Lizzie’s diary to get the inspiration that you need to start your job search.

Jade Phillips

Marketing Manager at CharityJob. A true bookworm and social media geek, you'll find me living in pockets of online communities. Unattended snacks might go missing if left around me...

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