Amanda Norman, careers adviser specialising in charities, shares advice on getting experience in the charity sector during the pandemic
Students thinking of a career in the charity sector may well have been alarmed by reports of the effect of Covid-19 on charity sector recruitment. Stories of devastation abound, with reports that the proposed government help has not delivered the urgent injection of cash needed.
How to find opportunities
Recent graduates will still find many entry-level jobs on www.charity.co.uk. Final year students should make sure that they have completed their career industry interests via Handshake: select “NGOs” and “Non-profit-other” to ensure you are alerted as and when opportunities are advertised. Earlier years are advised to be active in student societies, as this will demonstrate your commitment to the issues you care about, and help develop relevant skills.
Consider an entry-level fundraising role and you could gain experience and get paid more than an internship
Explore the less obvious roles
Charity fundraising has been severely hit by the global pandemic. With increased anxiety about the economy, donations have decreased significantly. There is always a plethora of interesting jobs available in charity fundraising (individual, corporate, institutional and legacy fundraising with roles from data analysis to working with high-net-worth-individuals or organising challenge events) and these can often prove good entry points. Charities will need to keep recruiting for their fundraising teams to restore the income. There are currently around 1,000 fundraising jobs on www.charityjob.co.uk, but only a handful of paid internships. Consider an entry-level fundraising role and you could gain experience and get paid more than an internship.
Brand awareness is vital to charities. This means they are very active in the social media space. If you have experience of running social media campaigns or promotions, perhaps for a student society, consider doing this for a charity sector. Ability to write and some design skills (InDesign, Photoshop) will be useful. There are currently several hundred jobs on www.charityjob.co.uk across advocacy, communications and marketing. Brand awareness is also a big factor in charity recruitment. The most famous charities will receive many more applications than the less well-known ones, so it’s worth targeting niche charities or ones with unusual names that not too many people will have heard of. After a bit of experience, you can always move on to a larger charity if you wish to. Charity recruiters say that animal charities are hard to recruit for, as are faith-based ones, so consider working for one of those in the first instance if they fit your interests.
Listen to the talk on International Development careers and the briefing by Jane Cotton, former Deputy Director of Oxfam, on Getting in and on in the Charity sector for more tactics on getting into this sector.
Think about developing skills in the public or corporate sector first
Do you know what role you would be good at? Communications? HR? Logistics? Project management? Social media marketing? Supporter relations? Policy research? You could look at public or corporate employers who would give you experience and training in these roles that you could take into the charity sector later on. This is a well-trodden route into the third sector. Listen to the talks on graduate schemes and internships in the commercial sector and public and charity sector graduate schemes (note the list of public and charity sector consultancies to download) for some ideas.
Catch up on our Charity and Public Sector Graduate Schemes briefing for further guidance, and to learn which schemes will be opening up this year.
We hope this helps at this time. If you have any queries through the application process, do email us on email@example.com, or book an appointment with a careers adviser