A career in the 'third sector' is highly sought after and volunteering and experience is key.
This area appeals to many as it has lots to offer: a busy working environment, a variety of roles, being surrounded by passionate like-minded people and a feeling of doing good.
Types of jobs in Charities
Opportunities in the charity and voluntary work sector fall into the following areas:
- Management and Administration
- Personnel and Human Resources
- Marketing, Communications and Campaigns
- Volunteer Managers and Coordinators
- Policy Analysts
- Fundraising/Development Officers
- Outreach and Education Officers
- Finance and Accounts
As well as the large, well-known organisations, other employers include small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), voluntary organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social enterprises.
Find out more about the sector by visiting 'Introduction to the voluntary sector' and 'Working for a voluntary organisation'.
You can find out more about roles within the charity sector in this Bright Network article. You can also read about the different areas of charity work on the TARGETjobs website, where you can also find detailed job descriptions for a Charities Administrator and Charities Fundraiser.
Entry routes into Charities
Entry-level positions are often in administrative roles or within fundraising, marketing or events departments.
Graduate Schemes are few and far between, but some organisations do offer them such as Oxfam, Cancer Research, Charityworks and IntoUniversity. Further information about finding a graduate role within the Charity sector can be found on Prospects
Doing vocational postgraduate study could help you develop specific skills but most entry level positions focus on experience. There are some postgraduate courses that focus on different elements of the sector but these are not essential for entry-level roles. It may be worth considering postgraduate study when you have a better sense of what you would like to specialise in and whether it will impact on your career progression.
Getting experience in Charities
The Guild of Students has lots of volunteer groups to get involved in. You can also find volunteering opportunities on websites such as Do-it, Vinspired and Volunteering Matters.
Some charities offer internships including Oxfam, the British Red Cross, Cancer Research UK and Amnesty. Check on their websites for details of when to apply.
Look out for internships in the charity sector advertised through Careers Network. Look out for details of these via our newsletters and on social media.
Speculative applications are one of the best ways of building experience in the charity sector. You may want to consider offering your services in one of the following ways:
- Offering to create video for use on the charity’s website
- Offering to analyse the potential use of a social media platform
- Offering to create a student-engagement or fundraising campaign
The University of Birmingham offers work experience bursaries for any student in their first, second or penultimate year of study. For more details visit the internship funding pages.
The Small Charity Commission is a good resource to find information on charities in all regions of UK. This may help you identify which charities to contact for work experience.
There are also numerous organisations that can help you find volunteering projects abroad. To find out more about this visit the international work experience page.
Finding a job in Charities
Here are some of the most popular websites for finding jobs within the third sector:
Useful websites about Charities
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