I Want to Work for a Charity
There are over 180,000 registered charities in the UK, plus countless small charities with an income below £5,000 per year that aren't required to register. Their fields of activity cover everything from human rights campaigning to animal welfare; from medical research to child care and from sports to religious affairs.
The first thing to think about is what work you would do – the range of job roles in charities is vast, from accountancy to zookeeping.
- The charity sector has about 800,000 employees in the UK of whom 70% are female. On average 4,000 new charities are born each year, so the sector is healthy, but not many survive.
- Street League, the NUS, MTV foundation, Institute of Art and Ideas, the National Trust, museums, universities, MI5 and 6, and London Zoo all advertise on www.charityjob.co.uk despite the fact we don't think of them as charities.
- Charities are businesses first but businesses for social benefit.
- Charities are more regulated than private sector. Large charities tend to partner with local government or do research or fundraise (brand driven)
- Impact is looked at much more than in a for-profit business and level of pay is usually sector comparable but you never get a final salary pension. and never earn so much money. Charities are now facing more pressure in operational margins because of automatic pension enrolment.
- Job board won’t pick up info in tables etc., they will search key words for companies
- The golden door to enter the charity sector is lots of volunteering experience
- Get experience that sets you apart: find connections with the causes you believe in.
- Demonstrate an interest in the sector, be clear about what the work means to you and answer the person specification point by point when filling out your application form.
- You can't just say you want to work in a charity, you must say what kind of charity and what causes you are passionate about.
- The average age for an adoption social worker is 53: you don’t have the experience for it at 21
- Start out by look for maternity leave jobs: employers are more generous when shortlisting for these. Much of the work is short-term: you often get projects funded for just 6 months
- It is easy to move from business to the charity sector but harder to move from charity to business so graduates must be sure that they want to stay in the charity sector.
- Important skills
- Have evidence of creativity, initiative and innovation: things like the ice bucket challenge and Movember - this is the type on innovation they will need in charity work.
- Graduates' social media skills are important to charities.Charities have a growing social media presence and try to do as much of this work in house as possible to keep costs down.
- Customer and beneficiary focus
- Communicate with impact: cold call sales is good
- Build positive relationships
- Public speaking and story telling
- Entrepreneurial skills
- Working with young people
- Commitment to personal development
Charity-specific job roles
These include Charity fundraiser, Charity Officer and Volunteer Coordinator.
Work involves administration; report/proposal writing, budgeting, project appraisal and evaluation. Related jobs include social work, public sector administration, charity fundraising. Some satisfactions of the work are working for something that you believe in, variety, and responsibility. Negatives can include lack of a 'professional' career development structure in the smaller charities, bureaucracy, pressure and low pay. Skills required include written communication, organising, flexibility, listening and cooperating. Any degree subject is acceptable but a business-related degree may help. A Masters degree in a development subject would be useful for overseas aid charities.
Charity Officer job description www.prospects.ac.uk/charity_officer_job_description.htm (Charity officers may also be called charity administrators, community liaison officers or project development officers.
"To successfully secure corporate donations fundraisers need to know their audience and communicate with them in a way that appeals to their wants and needs.
With this in mind, it’s vital that fundraisers have a commercial awareness of the pressures faced by and aims of any companies being targeted for support."
This is a typical starting job for graduates in the charity sector. It involves raising money: planning & coordinating fundraising activities, from flag weeks to sporting events; liaising with potential donors (corporate or individuals) through talks, bulletins or one-to-one contacts.
Related jobs include public relations, charity administration, sales and marketing.
Satisfactions include working for something that you believe in, variety and responsibility. Negatives include lack of a 'professional' career development structure.
Skills needed include written and spoken communication, persuading, negotiating, organisingand determination. Any degree subject is acceptable.
Charity fundraiser job description www.prospects.ac.uk/charity_fundraiser_job_description.htm
Volunteer Coordinator job description http://www.prospects.ac.uk/volunteer_coordinator_job_description.htm
Institute of Fundraising www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/jobs-and-careers/ “job shop” and careers advice for the fundraising sector
Since charities can rarely devote their resources to training, it can be difficult for new graduates to break into this sector: those who succeed are likely to have gained experience through volunteering and/or to have useful business, fundraising, computing, social media or similar skills to offer.
- Charities and Voluntary Work Prospects pages www.prospects.ac.uk/charities_voluntary_sector.htm
- Working for a Charity from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations www.workingforacharity.org.uk
- Charity Commission: find a charity www.charitycommission.gov.uk/find-charities
- UK Fundraising www.fundraising.co.uk Fundraising consultancy: site includes training, jobs and blogs
- How to become a charity fundraiser – six top tips
Job and Volunteering Opportunities
Graduate Recruitment Schemes
“Passion for a cause is vital but not enough. People need to offer the right mix of skills and experience. They’ll be expected to work as hard and to meet as many targets and deadlines as in any commercial company”
Few charities offer any kind of “graduate training scheme” and those that do are highly competitive, attracting at least 100 applications for every one vacancy. The organisations listed below do run graduate recruitment schemes/internships, or have done so in the past, but check the websites for up-to-date information.
- Charity Works www.charity-works.co.uk/graduate-management-programme 12 month graduate scheme designed to find and grow the future leaders of non-profit organisations
- Oxfam www.oxfam.org.uk careers section is at www.oxfam.org.uk/what-we-do/about-us/working-at-oxfam sometimes run a recruitment programme for graduates. Oxfam also offer excellent training to students who work with them on short placements or on a regular voluntary basis.
- Cancer Research UK offers graduate opportunities in fundraising and marketing www.cancerresearchuk.org
- IntoUniversity Graduate Trainee Education Worker Scheme
- The Charities Advisory Trust www.charitiesadvisorytrust.org.uk: recruit paid interns to run Card Aid shops, work on Good Gifts and other initiatives.
- Graduate Schemes and Internships in the Charity and Not-for-Profit sector http://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectors/public-service-charity-and-social-work/288141-graduate-schemes-and-internships-in-the-charitynot-for-profit-s
- The Worthwhile Graduate Scheme seeks to provide a clear career path from university into the social impact space. Recruit graduates into charities, social enterprises and not-for-profits Through the facilitation of meaningful work placements, support networks, training and networking events, the Worthwhile Graduate Scheme is the strongest starting point for those passionate about a social impact career. Graduates are placed at one of Worthwhile's partner organisations in Oxford, London, Bristol, Cambridge, Southampton or Winchester. www.worthwhile.org.uk/graduate-scheme.html
Charities offering Volunteer Internships
- Charity Apprentice, from Child.org: charityapprentice.org In 2016, Child.org will be training fifty amazing people for rewarding careers in the charity sector. Charity Apprentice is a year-long course you can complete from anywhere in your spare time. It includes an optional four weeks working at one of Child.org's projects supporting children in Kenya or Uganda. Charity Apprentice will give you a solid grounding in how the charity sector works including: international development; what charities do; the different careers available; and some of the issues around charity work. It’s a combination of online learning and practical tasks. You’ll learn to fundraise, communicate as a brand, run social enterprises and more. Becoming a Charity Apprentice is a fantastic opportunity for students to find out if charity work is for them and to set themselves apart from other candidates applying for roles in the sector. Applications are open, apply now.
- Barnados www.barnardos.org.uk/get_involved/volunteering/volunteer_internships.htm
- British Red Cross www.redcross.org.uk/Get-involved/Volunteer/Internships-and-office-volunteering/Volunteer-internships
- Cancer Research UK www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/volunteer/internships
- Macmillan Cancer Support www.macmillan.org.uk/GetInvolved/Volunteer/Internships/InternshipScheme.aspx
- Marie Curie Cancer Care www.mariecurie.org.uk/en-GB/fundraising-volunteering/Donate-your-skills/Internships-and-work-experience
- World Land Trust www.worldlandtrust.org
- Wesser www.wesser.co.uk/work
- Champions Life Academy www.championslifeacademy.com
- AAP www.aapfundraising.org/recruitment
The above organisations recruit students and graduates for face-to-face fundraising work, either door-to-door or in high streets and shopping centres. They are used by a number of charities to find new supporters who will commit to making a regular donation. For more about this fundraising method, see www.pfra.org.uk/face-to-face_fundraising
|"Knowledge of quantitative data collection; statistical analysis; financial modelling and analysis & reporting of quantitative data, a good business and commercial awareness plus previous experience of working in a charity or social enterprise (paid or voluntary), is desirable."
Advert for charity marketing post
Specialist Charity Recruitment Agencies
- CF Appointments www.cfappointments.com
- Calendar Check www.calendarcheck.co.uk “The who, what, where and when of charity events throughout the UK for all charities large or small”. Includes jobs and links to many charities.
- Charity People www.charitypeople.co.uk recruit to permanent and temporary positions all over the UK
- ElevatorCafe elevatorcafe.com Social enterprise, charity and ethical jobs
- Jobs in Charities www.jobsincharities.co.uk
- NFP Jobs www.nfpjob.co.uk specialised jobs board for volunteers, charities and other not-for-profit organizations.
- Voluntary Sector Jobs www.voluntarysectorjobs.co.uk list all types of Charity jobs, Housing jobs, Jobs in NGOs, the Arts etc.
- Charity JOB www.charityjob.co.uk charity jobs, fundraising jobs, NGO jobs and not for profit jobs
- Harris Hill www.harrishill.co.uk vast range of third sector job listings.
- Workfuly is a new jobs website with the latest UK charity jobs and detailed profiles of the some of the best charities to work for.
University of Kent MA in Philanthropic Studies
The University of Kent offers the UK’s only Masters course in Philanthropic Studies. This is a distance learning course via a Virtual Learning Environment with study days on the Canterbury Campus. All course work is completed online; you participate in online discussion forums and have access to journal articles and specialist materials. If you work in the charity sector or are interested in doing so, this MA offers a high-level understanding of the key areas of theory and practice that a career in the charity sector demands. www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/769 For information, contact Dr Triona Fitton T.Fitton@kent.ac.uk
Undergraduate modules at the University of Kent on the voluntary sector.
- SO670 Kent Student Certificate for Volunteering, Platinum Award. A collaboration between Kent Union and the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, this module supports you in undertaking three pieces of volunteering in a variety of roles. You will also have four lectures which teach the basics of the voluntary sector and volunteering and you will be assigned a mentor to support you in your volunteering. This can be taken either for credit or for extra credit. There is no charge for taking this module for extra credit. www.kent.ac.uk/courses/modules/module/SO670
- SO645 The Third Sector: Charities and Social Enterprises in Modern Societies. This module is perfect for those who want to understand the theory and practice of charities and the charity sector. Covering social theory, volunteering, philanthropy, policy and international comparisons, you will get a broad overview of the charity sector. www.kent.ac.uk/courses/modules/module/SO645
- SO686 Social Justice Practice. This module supports students in undertaking 100 hours of volunteering over the academic year. This module provides an opportunity to gain practical experience of the charity sector and combine it with academic study of the sector and of related theoretical concepts such as social capital, social justice, altruism and philanthropy. Lectures also cover topics such as the role, management, financing and governance – essential knowledge if you are planning to work in a wide range of different professions. www.kent.ac.uk/courses/modules/module/SO686
For more information on these three modules contact Dr Eddy Hogg E.Hogg@kent.ac.uk
You may also be interested in …
- Voluntary Work: short and longer term, in the UK and overseas www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/voluntaryWork.htm
- International Development www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/developing.htm and
- Development Organisations www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/InternationalDevelopmentOrganisations.htm
- Environment and Biodiversity www.kent.ac.uk/careers/Environment.htm
- Human Rights www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/humanrights.htm
- Refugees and Migrants Help www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/refugees.htm
- Alternatives www.kent.ac.uk/careers/alternatives.htm time out, ethical careers and corporate social responsibility
- Helping Careers www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/helping.htm
Last fully updated 2015