You may have volunteered at some point in your life, whether you’ve fundraised for a charity at school, helped at a charity shop or visited the local elderly home. It’s certainly true that charities rely on volunteers for support, but they also have a variety of paid roles too. There are over 170,000 registered charities in the UK, which employ over 600,000 people who work in a range of fields from human rights, animal welfare, medical research, youth work and more!
Often known as the third sector or not-for-profits, the charity sector can offer students the chance to work for an organisation which is making a real difference. As well as the “feel-good factor”, the charity sector throws up a range of challenges, from managing budgets and being creative with your ideas, to having excellent business skills and commercial awareness. A job in the charity sector is far from easy. You need passion, commitment and dedication, as well as a willingness to work hard. Traditionally, the average salary in a charity is lower than if you were to work at a big corporate company, but if you are passionate about a particular cause then we say that money shouldn’t stand in your way!Types of jobs in the charity sector
There are various job-types on-offer within the charity sector, some which are often specific to the cause or area of interest for the charity. We have listed some of the common jobs found within the charity sector below:
- PR / Marketing
- IT services
- Programme manager
- Volunteer Coordinator
- Youth worker
- Legal roles
- Policy / Research
How can you get involved?
You can kick-start your future career in the charity sector whilst you are at school or college. If you are passionate about a particular cause, you should look into ways that you can get stuck-in. Some charities might allow you to work at their head office so you can see what happens behind the scenes, whilst others will allow you to work on the ground to fundraise or volunteer at local shops and centres.
Most charities will have a Board of Trustees which consists of people who have a vested interest in seeing the charity do well, and influencing some of the key decisions made. It’s not for all, but if it sounds like something which might be of interest, contact the charity to ask if you would be allowed to join the Board as a young representative. Most charities will welcome the fresh ideas and energy that you will bring!Volunteer during your holidays
As well as volunteering throughout the year, you can also use those long summer holidays (lucky for some!) to do something more than just lazing on the sofa watching TV. Why not spend your summer abroad, volunteering on a project which is close to your heart. Whether you’re interested in working with children, building a school, working in a medical camp or a keen conservationist, there will be a project which fits your interests. Not only will you have an amazing time and have the chance to really make a difference to the local community, charity and project, but it will look fantastic on your CV, and employers will be impressed by your initiative, especially if you’re looking to work in the charity sector after you finish school, college of university.
The Diana Award are our official charity partner. Check out their profile page for more info.