Working For A Charity
Charity work is categorised as work in the “third sector” or “not for profit sector” and aims to improve the community and the lives of others through the accumulation of social wealth.
Individuals in this sector typically report high job satisfaction because their roles are directly tied to improving the lives of others.
Working for a charity allows individuals to:
- Build strong ties with their community
- Develop skills that are highly valued on the job market
- Improve personal and life skills
Positions in the third sector are flexible and allow employees to manage their own time.
While culture typically only gets to witness the success stories of charities, charity work can be demanding, especially when resources are scarce, and manpower is low.
Many charities are in constant need of funding, materials, and resources. So, while the pay off is often large, charity work requires individuals who are willing to dedicate time and passion to their cause. Because of these demands, charity workers should have the following skills and qualities:
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Communication Skills
- Budgeting and Fundraising
- Business Awareness
Areas of Charity Work
Most people think of fundraising when they think of charity work. However, there are many other aspects to the job.
There are a variety of charity areas you can work in, depending on your expertise:
- Administration: Charities need administrators to oversee the daily functioning of the charity as a whole.
- Project Management: Sometimes charities run various projects and campaigns simultaneously, meaning that there are various positions for project managers.
- Marketing: The key to a successful charity is the marketing team, which is vital to a charity’s social capital.
- Information Technology: IT maintains the technical integrity of a charity.
- Research: Charities rely on statistics and information to strategically plan their approaches to maximise their impact on society.
- Education: Many employers that work for a charity are tasked with educating the community on the issue of the charity’s focus.
- Coordination: Charities rely on volunteers, meaning that someone has to coordinate volunteers and manage schedules.
- Finance and Accounting: Charities primary function to raise money for their causes, so a savvy accountant or finance specialist is vital to a charity’s success.
Types of Charity Jobs
There are many types of charity jobs in the third sector. However, three of the most common positions include:
- Charity Officer: There are many different officers in a charity, and these officers typically focus on a specific area of a charity (Average salary £16,000-£25,000 per annum).
- Volunteer Coordination: Coordinators recruit, organise, and ensure retention of volunteers (Average salary £15,000-£26,000 per annum).
- Charity Fundraiser: Fundraisers negotiate donations, build relationships with donors, and promote a charity’s cause (Average salary £15,000-£27,000 per annum).
Responsibilities of a Charity Worker
Daily responsibilities for charity workers vary depending on the size of the charity. Some of these responsibilities include:
- Recruit Volunteers: Charities rely on volunteers who dedicate time and skills to a charity.
- Organise Events: Charity workers may organise fundraising events, plan service days, or campaigns that raise awareness.
- Grant Writing: Some charity workers help write grants to raise capital for a charity.
- Manage Data: Charities have massive amounts of data that ranges from information about their cause to financial information about donations.
- Strategy Development: Employees discuss and implement a strategy to produce successful campaigns.
- Profile Raising: Charity workers promote a charity and participate in community events to raise the profile of their project.
- Administration: Administrators for charities prepare reports, gather data, and manage databases.
- Promotion: Some charity workers may be responsible for designing promotional materials or maintaining social media platforms.
Charity Working Hours
Depending on the size of a charity, working hours are often flexible for many employees, and some charities offer part-time and at home opportunities.
Extremely large charities typically employ individuals to work full time during normal working hours. However, for both small community charities and large national charities, employees may be required to attend events after hours or on weekends.
International Opportunities for Charity Work
Some charities have agendas that focus on international issues. These charities may require international travel to promote a charity’s campaign, liaise with potential donors, or establish initiatives in new locations. If interested in an international career that also benefits others, a career in the third sector may be a great starting point.
Progression in the Charity Sector
Employees in the charity sector undergo professional development with on the ground training and external certification courses. However, career progression often depends on the size of a charity and your own goals.
Large charities typically follow progression tracks of companies, and they have more resources that enable them to promote and train employees. Small community charities more often have limited resources. These limited resources allow workers to develop a wide variety of skills, which may help them in the job market if they pursue a larger charity.
Charity work is extremely fulfilling, but it requires a dedicated individual with a passion for the cause. With various areas of specialisation within charity work, there is sure to be a position that highlights your expertise and offers exciting opportunities to develop your skills.