Are you a Durham student or society? We are here to help you with all your fundraising and charity-led endeavours!
Charities like to employ staff who genuinely believe in their mission, so they remain motivated and enthusiastic. Together with Careers & Enterprise, we have devised some advice on how to get into the charities sector.
Welcome to the charities sector
Charities and community organisations form a large part of the not-for-profit or ‘third’ sector and offer a range of career and development opportunities. There are currently over 160,000 charities in the UK employing around 850,000 paid staff. They vary in size, with most being small organisations. The larger charities employ the greatest number of staff.
Working in the charity sector can lead to global experiences and provide excellent training for a selection of skills and endless job satisfaction. Roles include fundraising, administration, IT, finance and marketing/campaign work, fieldwork, accountancy, project management, coordination of volunteers and human rights work – so the roles overlap other vocational sectors and can lead to movement between them (e.g. policy work, legal work, Non-Governmental Organisations [NGOs - non-profit, voluntary citizens' groups organised on a local, national or international level], marketing, etc.). Many graduates will therefore gain private or public sector experience (e.g. in a particular function such as finance), before working for a charitable organisation.
A period of voluntary work in the type of organisation you would like to work for will help to give you an insight and allow you to develop relevant skills and useful contacts, while showing your commitment to the cause.
Challenges for the sector include recent high-profile ethical and financial issues, Brexit, an uncertain economy and stretched local authority funding. Awareness of current sector news and developments can be useful for applications and interviews.
The salaries offered are likely to be lower than the commercial sector, but some of the bigger charities’ salaries can be quite competitive. Graduate fundraising roles are currently on the increase due to falling donations.
Types of job
Roles are varied, and the Prospects Overview of the Charity Sector can be a great place to start your research. Example job roles include:
International Aid/Development Worker
What skills may I need?
Since the roles vary, it is important that you specifically research the requirements of jobs that interest you. However, the following skills, and your ability to provide evidence of them, may be helpful.
Creativity and innovation, particularly for ‘cause marketing’ Flexibility and adaptability
Enthusiasm and commitment to the cause
Leadership and project management
Partnership development and collaborative working
Strategic IT / digital expertise – a current shortage area
Legal knowledge – depending on the role
Work experience Opportunities
Work experience is crucial if you want to demonstrate you are a good prospect to potential employers and competition will be fierce for jobs in the better-known charities. It is important to show knowledge of, and have demonstrated a commitment to, the charity / voluntary sector. Work experience will enable you to develop relevant skills while gaining an insight into how a charity operates.
In the main, experience in this sector can be gained through the following:
Volunteering - this could include hands-on support roles with a specific client group, administrative or fundraising activities - positions are wide-ranging. Search Do-It and online charity directories to identify volunteering opportunities.
Paid internship schemes - are sometimes available with larger charities (e.g. Cancer Research UK, the British Red Cross, Oxfam,Amnesty International, Barnardo's) and Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Check individually for opportunities.
Speculative approaches - If you are interested in working for a particular charity, contact them directly to enquire about work experience opportunities. Online networking can be particularly effective.
Broader experience - e.g. undertaking part-time or vacation jobs, internships, volunteering etc. in a related field (e.g. marketing, administration, health care) could support you to build relevant professional experience, skills and awareness to strengthen your future applications to the charity sector.
Charityworks - leadership training scheme
Worthwhile UK - place graduates into small charities and social enterprises
upReach - social mobility leadership programme
Wellcome Trust - investment programme and general scheme
Cancer Research - 6 training streams available
gradunique - Joint scheme with Macmillan Cancer Support and British Heart Foundation
IntoUniversity – education worker training delivering widening participation programmes
Sanctuary Group – social housing programmes
There are many other useful vacancy sources such as:
If you have an other enquiries about the sector, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Like our Facebook page to find out when our workshops are going to be!
We will be introducing workshops for all Durham students and college outreach teams with advice on fundraising, publicising events and a series other other important features of student fundraising
For any further information or questions please contact Sophie, our Fundraising Officer, email@example.com
Success story: Sophie Jago
Amount Raised: £33,166
Time taken: 3 years
Most of the money went towards building a school in Nepal called Hillside Academy - it took 3 years to build and is now open with over 200 students. The rest went to helping schools in Nepal and Sri Lanka
How did she do it?
We got the most money through sponsored events like walks, runs, sleep outs in school. A really successful event was our quiz nights as we ran a raffle at the same time. We also did car boot sales and organised treasure hunts for younger kids.
Sophie and her team outside the school which she fundraised £33,166 to build.