How To Develop a Career In Non For Profits And Charities


Recent studies conducted by The Labour Force Survey (LES) show that over 800,000 individuals in the UK are currently employed in the nonprofits sector. Of the 800,000, about 648,000 individuals are considered full time. The highest number employed by nonprofits work mainly in both nonresidential and residential social care and welfare. If you are considering dedicating your career to nonprofit or charity work, here are some tips to help you get started...

Opportunities Available in the Nonprofit Sector 

Non Profit and charity workers come from a wide variety of professional specialties, including:

  • Business Management
  • Civil Rights Law
  • Education
  • Housing and Community Affairs
  • Marketing
  • Communications
  • Environmental Conservation & Science
  • Social Services
  • Healthcare

The Economical Facts Regarding Nonprofits & Charities

The main difference between nonprofit and for profit companies is that non profits focus on increasing social wealth rather than actual capital. The governance structure of a nonprofit is set up much like a for profit business with the exception of garnering funds for self-profit. 

Marketing schemes, business management, public relations, and human resource departments are very similar to that of for profit businesses. Yet, financials, taxes, and accounting methods used by non profits and charities can vary greatly from that of for profit businesses.

If you intend to focus your studies on accounting for a nonprofit, you must be extremely knowledgeable about how donations and other funds are calculates, allocated, and taxed. For example, when becoming certified as a Chartered Accountant, individuals will need to pay specific attention to study materials and exams related to nonprofit accounting.

Internships & Volunteer Work

Many non profit workers get their start working with a nonprofit as either an intern or a volunteer; this goes for social workers and business focused students. Though these jobs usually only last for a few months to a year and could end in permanent employment. 

Top Rated Internships & Volunteer Programmes for Nonprofit 

  • Cancer Research UK: Internships for this organisation are 12 weeks long and are geared toward helping individuals who are considering pursuing graduate studies. The Cancer Research Society is usually looking for interns with concentrations in marketing, science, and fundraising.
  • OxFam: Internships are volunteer-based and can last from 3 -12 months. The advantage of working with OxFam is the broad range of on the job training available; from HR to IT.
  • Amnesty International: Internship lengths can vary depending on your expertise. AI allows students and recent graduates to work full-time carrying out specific duties related to nonprofit administration and project management.
  • Barnardos: This nonprofit allows students and recent graduates to work in a variety of nonprofit departments, internships usually last about 3 months. 
  • People & Planet: Internships are PAID for this organisation and usually last about 12 months. People & Planet helps recent grads gain the skills necessary to work full-time for a nonprofit or charity.
  • The Charities Advisory Trust: These internships allow students and recent graduates a chance to work in a non profit Care Aid shop. The programme usually lasts about 3 months and usually ends in permanent recruitment.

Pay Scale for Nonprofit and Charity Workers

Though the pay rate depends greatly on the size and scope of the organisation, the median salaries for common nonprofit and charity organisations are:

  • Chief Executive: £71,070 
  • Director: £67,500 
  • Senior Function Head: £52,839 
  • Function Head: £44,792 
  • Department/Section Manager: £37,479 
  • Senior Specialist Staff: £30,900 
  • Specialist Staff:  £23,172 
  • Junior Specialist Staff: £18,871 
  • Trainee Specialist Staff: £15,291 
  • Trainee Non-Professional Staff: £13,661

Depending on your specialty, it is always recommended you obtain the highest level of education and/or certification for your specialty and a good amount of on the job experience to increase your chances of becoming a paid employee of a nonprofit or charity orgainisation. You should also tailor your studies according to the role you intend to pursue within a nonprofit organisation. For example, a dual degree in law and social work will significantly increase your chances of hire with organisation like Amnesty International.




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