These days a lot of us feel lucky just to have a job that keeps the bills paid and leaves something left for food afterwards. But as you got through the daily slog of getting up, going to work, sitting at your desk and watching the clock for eight hours, then going home and sitting in front of the TV because you’re too knackered to do anything else, it must have crossed your mind that maybe, just maybe, you could be doing something with your life that actually does some good in the world.
People work for charities for all sorts of reasons. Some do it to feel like they’re doing something constructive with their tie. Some appreciate the different kinds of challenges that charity work represents, some have a particular cause or problem that they care deeply about. Whatever the reason there are a number of issues you’re going to need to think about before deciding if this is the path for you.
Which Charity Do You Want To Work With?
Perhaps the most obvious question, but one that requires thought- it’s not enough to say “I want to work with a charity”. There are charities covering everything from donkey sanctuaries to curing cancer to fighting domestic abuse to protecting free speech. Which of these issues do you most care about? Which of these areas are you most informed about and what can you do to help them?
Remember, it’s better to decide what the vacancy you want is, and look for that, than it is to simply hurl yourself head first into the first vacancy that comes along.
What Do You Actually Want To Do With This Charity?
Where do your skills lie? Are you an admin king, a sales wizard, a marketing guru? Do you work better in an office, organising things behind the scenes, or are you a people person who needs to be right on the front lines where the action is?
Charities need fundraisers, marketers, admin staff, support workers, the range of positions in the charity sector is every bit as diverse as it is in the job market as a whole. Knowing what you want to do is every bit as important, if not more so than knowing where you want to do it.
How Are You Going To Get The Job You Want?
Now you know which cause you want to fight for and what skills you have that will help you fight for it, you have to go about actually find that vacancy you want so much. If you feel like you’re lacking in experience, most charities are in dire need of volunteers, which is a great way to learn how the organisation works while simultaneously padding out your CV. It’s also a good to find out as much as you can about your chosen organisation. Go along to events they organise, check out their social media feeds and website. Keep an eye out not just for things they’re asking after but also the areas that could be improved so you can demonstrate that you have something new to give to the table when you get to interview.
Charity jobs are hard work. It can also be dispiriting in ways few other jobs can when things go wrong, as the stakes are higher than in almost any other field of work. But the rewards are the sort of thing that make you feel like you’re really doing something important, and when things go well it’s the best feeling in the world.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Sam Wright is a freelance writer who is constantly working to make the world a better place.