So you want to get involved with a charity, but how to you take those first steps? Well, there’s obviously a big difference between unpaid short-term tasks and full-time roles designed to progress you along your career path. Also, as a hefty chunk of the UK job market, the charity sector contains myriad job types, and to go into all of these would require substantially more of your time than we intend to take up, so instead we’re going to focus on a few key areas.
Most charitable organisations live or die by their public perception – the better known a charity is, the more likely it is to maintain those all-important fundraising contributions at a level that allow it to continue its good work. In this regard, public relations and marketing staff are vital in ensuring that media outlets are constantly being reminded of the charity’s actions and that the charity’s brand is consistently implemented to help keep its aims and needs in people’s minds. Either of these roles are available in virtually every sector, but the kudos of boosting a charity’s efforts is always a significant lure.
Behind the frontline care and services provided by any charity lies the fundraising department, feverishly generating cash below the surface to ensure the smooth operation of the charity’s work. Roles are available as both full-time and occasional fundraisers, with the latter seeing you thrown into the deep end on high streets up and down the country. As a full-time, career-based fundraiser, don’t expect to work any less hard or face less rejection, but expect much higher targets, way more autonomy and even more goodwill flowing into your karma bank.
If you really want to get involved in charity work at the sharp end, then providing your services as a carer or mentor will certainly allow you to gain experience of what service the organisation in question actually offers to people. Again, if you are prepared to do this on a part-time, voluntary basis, then you can expect to be trained quickly by qualified staff. Once you’ve completed this, you’ll be able to provide your services when they are needed. But if you want to be a full-time carer or mentor, and really get involved in people’s development over time, then you’ll be required to complete an SVQ or equivalent. The majority of people who have chosen this hands-on career gain an immense amount from it.
Getting the gig
It’s all well and good for us to bang on about relevant charity positions, but how do you actually get into charity work in the first place? Well, in most cases, the first step would be to get in touch with your chosen charitable organisation and offer your services on a voluntary basis. If you’re looking for a long-term charity-based career, then prospective employers will view your volunteering efforts as an example of your dedication.