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—or that there’s a range of full-time and part-time paid roles that not only match their skills but also fit around their lifestyle. There is plenty to discover, and with literally thousands of charity jobs available at any moment, you’ll be sure to find a role that matches your experience and your expertise.
Wondering how you’ll fit into such a diverse and significant sector? We unveil just how you can break into the charity sector and uncover your next role.
What kind of roles are available in the charity sector?
The charity sector has a lot to offer. Like everyday businesses, charities need Financial, Management, Marketing and IT teams. And many charities are willing to recruit people from other sectors who bring a broad range of skills. Here are some areas that are particularly important:
- Fundraising & Campaigning – Ultimately charities are working towards creating a world where fundraising campaigns and pleas don’t have to exist. They’re fighting for a cause, and fundraising is a big part of not only educating the public but finding the money to make a real difference.
- Marketing, Communications & PR – Charities need to spread the word about all of the changes that they’re trying to make. That’s where marketing and communications come 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 & IT – Charities need people with tech skills to keep up with the digital space. That way, they can tap into the latest technologies and tools that can drive more donations and get more people supporting their cause. This could include web development, AI, creating apps 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 need 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:
- Business Development & Project Management
- Social care
- Teaching, Education & Training
The charity sector certainly isn’t running short on job opportunities. It’s just about finding your place within it.
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 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:
1. 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.
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.
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:
- NCVO: The 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.
- Institute of Fundraising: The 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. If you’re want to meet, learn from and collaborate with people who are in the charity sector, this is the network you need.
Think you’re ready to start applying for your next charity role? Discover the literally thousands of jobs available today, and find the right fit for you.
And if you’re already working in the sector, share your experiences in the comment section below. Who knows, it could inspire someone to discover their perfect job in non-profit.
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated to ensure relevance and to reflect the current job seeker experience.