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By :
Rose Harvey

Why working for a charity or not-for-profit is so rewarding.

For my first post on our blog, I thought it would be fitting to get back to basics and talk about why you might want to consider working for a charity.
If you’ve been feeling uninspired and are considering your next move, a job with a wider purpose could be motivating, varied and challenging.
People I talk to who work within the charity sector feel positive and rewarded; they feel like they are making a difference and changing the world! 
Here are the 5 most common reasons why my network loves working for charities.  

1)   Working with like-minded people

Everyone I talk to in the industry says the best thing about their job is the people. Having made the switch from corporate hiring to the third sector, I must say, I agree! I work with an incredibly diverse network of people from dramatically different backgrounds. What brings them all together is belief and support for the cause. 

This common sense of purpose is the foundation for building a productive culture. Diverse teams bring different ideas and perspectives to tackle shared goals and this produces a highly effective working environment that can have a hugely positive influence on your career.

2)   You get to make a difference 

A major factor driving people to develop a career at a charity is the desire to contribute to positive change. Charities have very clear, and ethical, goals. They are a way we can make a wider difference to society.

We spend a lot of our lives working, and for many, the opportunity to work for a charity provides a much more rewarding experience. Knowing you’ve spent the day contributing to helping people or changing the world for the better creates a deep sense of job satisfaction. 

“Working for a charity is about working for a bigger vision, as well as individual goals and ambitions.”

Explains Mark Devlin, Chief Operating Officer for Unicef UK.

3)   Excellent Benefits 

OK, salaries can struggle to reach the levels that a similar role in the corporate world would, although this isn’t always true. However, the main motivation for a career with a charity isn’t usually money, and the increase in job satisfaction makes it more than worth it!

Charities know they still need to fight for the best talent! To do this, they offer highly competitive ancillary benefits. Annual leave is a prime example – charities offer exceptional allowances, on top of Christmas closures.

If flexibility is a major consideration, charities can be a great option. Around 20% of charity jobs are advertised as flexible or remote from the outset – 3 times more than average. Greater support for employee well-being and education are another plus.

4)   Career development

A charity is run just like a business, so all corporate functions are represented. There are a huge breadth of roles available – IT, finance and customer support to marketing, fundraising and data-analytics. 

Usually, charities run various different projects and workshops, providing chances to get involved, be creative and innovate. In smaller organisations with less staff, roles that would usually be separate are merged, giving you the opportunity to expand your skillset. 

Culture tends to be supportive, and at busy times an ‘all hands on deck’ approach means you can be thrown into new areas! It can be really exciting, with lots of things going on. There are always opportunities to try new things, and maybe change direction.

Nurturing talent is a priority for charities, and they understand that career progression is important. They are likely to support you by investing in your development, helping you gain new qualifications and skills. 

5)   Charities are agile 

Because charities have clear, shared goals and a ‘can-do’ culture, they tend to operate in a more agile way, embracing new ideas and change in their bid to generate better outcomes. They often have more freedom and can react quickly to rapidly changing situations, unencumbered by internal bureaucracy and politics.

This provides a refreshing change for people used to the corporate environment, where legacy systems and processes can be a barrier to change. Of course, this isn’t always the case! 

But, the third sector has proven that having a culture where people are empowered and driven, when everyone has a clear mission and vision and where people feel they are doing good every day goes a long way to creating a productive environment.

 

If you would like to find out more, are looking to hire or want some advice about moving into a job within the charity sector, please get in touch!
 

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