What Does It Really Mean to Work for a Charity?

3 minute read

Even today, there’s a misconception that if you work for a charity, you’re volunteering or running a charity shop. Many people don’t know just how much they can contribute to the sector. But there’s a wide range of full-time and part-time paid roles to match your skills and fit around your lifestyle.

So what is charity work, and how will you fit into such a diverse and significant sector? We unveil what it really means to work for a charity, how you can get into the charity sector and how to uncover your next role.

What Does It Really Mean to Work for a Charity?

What kind of roles are available in the charity sector?

The charity sector has a lot to offer. Here are some areas that are particularly important:

  • Fundraising and campaigning – Charities fight for a cause, and a big part of that is educating the public and finding the money to make a real difference.
  • Marketing, communications and PR – Charities need to spread the word about the changes they’re trying to make. From emails to social media, there’s always a person behind the messages that you see.
  • Technology and IT – It’s important for charities to keep up with the latest tools to drive donations and get more people supporting their cause.
  • Volunteer management – Volunteers are key to a charity’s success. Organisations need to effectively manage the diverse range of people who donate their time and skills.

There are plenty of other types of charity work available toothe sector certainly isn’t running short on job opportunities. It’s just about finding your place within it. Many charities are willing to recruit people from other sectors who bring a broad range of skills.

What Does It Really Mean to Work for a Charity?

How can you play a part?

Whether you’re trying to break free of the private sector and find a job that’s more fulfilling, or you’ve discovered your passion through volunteering, there’s a chance for you to work for a charity.

And in this case, the more prepared you are for change the better. So before you start searching for the charity job of your dreams, here are some things to think about:


1. Consider what you’re passionate about

The charity sector is full of people who are fuelled 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.


2. 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 skillset. 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.


3. 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, but you’ll also be able to connect with some new people and potentially work your way into a charity that you care about.

What Does It Really Mean to Work for a Charity?

Where can you 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:

  • NCVOThe National Council for Voluntary Organisations champions the voluntary sector by connecting organisations with people, partners and resources that allow them to make a difference. Their website is jam-packed full of the latest sector news and information.
  • Chartered Institute of FundraisingThe professional membership body for UK fundraising supports fundraisers across the sector through their training courses, membership and annual conferences. If you want to learn the ins-and-outs of fundraising, this is the place to be.
  • CharityConnect: This is the social network for charity professionals. As such, you must already work for a charity to join and contribute to discussions. But if you’re looking to learn more about the day-to-day tasks and challenges faced by those with different job types in the charity sector, this is the place to go.

Hopefully you’re not still wondering ‘what is charity work?’ and you have the tools and information you need to start considering if a job in the charity sector could be your next step.

Think you’re ready to start applying for a charity role? Start searching today to discover the literally thousands of jobs available and find the right fit for you.


This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated to ensure relevance and reflect the current job seeker experience.


Benita Culshaw

Benita is Digital Content Assistant at CharityJob