Charity officers work for charitable or non-profit organisations - either in a role with a specific focus or a broader role covering a range of responsibilities

As a charity officer for a large organisation, you could be working on a specific area of their work, such as:

  • project management
  • business development
  • finance
  • marketing and public relations
  • fundraising
  • volunteer management.

In smaller charities, however, you'll often be involved in multiple aspects of the work and may manage several projects.

Job titles vary depending on the nature of the role and include charity administrator, community liaison officer, charity coordinator and charity or project development officer.

For specific details about charity fundraising see charity fundraiser.


Your activities will vary depending on the size and type of charity you work for. However, you'll typically need to:

  • carry out marketing and public relations activities to raise the profile of the organisation's services and campaigns
  • design fundraising materials such as leaflets and flyers
  • create and organise fundraising initiatives and events
  • approach potential donors and maintain donor lists
  • liaise with external agencies, including voluntary sector organisations, the media, local authorities, business contacts, trustees and other stakeholders or clients
  • recruit, train and coordinate the work of volunteers
  • lobby government and other policymakers on behalf of a cause or a client group
  • carry out administrative tasks such as applying for grants and other sources of funding, managing budgets, gathering data, preparing reports, database management and clerical work to meet the charity's needs.


  • Charity administrators usually earn around £16,000 to £25,000 per year.
  • Salaries for specialist and professional posts range from £20,000 to £35,000.
  • Salaries at senior level typically range from £30,000 to in excess of £65,000 for senior posts in the largest charities.

Salaries vary depending on the size and type of charity, your location, your experience and skills, and the nature of the role and your level of responsibility.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

Core working hours are usually 9am to 5pm, five days a week, though this varies according to the requirements of the role. If you're working in fundraising, for example, you may have to attend events during evenings or weekends.

Flexible working patterns such as part-time work or job sharing may be available. There may be some opportunities for hybrid working.

What to expect

  • Work is often office-based, but may involve travel to meet service users, deliver off-site service provision, attend promotional events, and carry out campaign work. Some charity officers cover a particular region or even a whole country. Depending on the focus of the charity, you may travel overseas as part of your role.
  • Some charities second staff to another part of the organisation or similar organisations. International charities sometimes let staff volunteer abroad to develop their knowledge of the organisation's beneficiaries.
  • Job opportunities exist throughout the UK.
  • There are opportunities for paid employment overseas, but these may require specialist qualifications and experience of working abroad.
  • Fluctuating funding means that many jobs are on temporary contracts, typically from six months to two or three years. The lack of job security can have financial and lifestyle implications.


Entry requirements vary depending on the type of organisation you're applying to and the nature of the role. For some roles, employers will be looking for evidence of genuine passion, commitment and relevant skills. For other, more specialist roles, you may also be expected to have relevant qualifications and/or significant work experience in a particular area.

While this area of work is open to all graduates, a degree, HND or foundation degree in the following subjects may increase your chances:

  • business studies
  • community development
  • community studies
  • economics
  • finance or accounting
  • law
  • marketing
  • public relations
  • social policy and administration
  • sociology
  • voluntary sector management
  • youth work.

Charity graduate schemes are rare, although a small number exist with large charities, such as Cancer Research UK. You can also apply for a 12-month graduate programme run by Charityworks, where graduates work full time for a partner charity (such as Age UK) and also take part in a leadership programme.

Although you don't usually need a postgraduate qualification, unless your job involves a lot of research, it may be useful, especially as the charity sector grows in popularity with graduates. Do your research to make sure any course you're interested in is relevant to your career aims.

Entry without a degree, HND or foundation degree is possible. Employers are interested in a candidate's voluntary experience, personal qualities, commitment and knowledge of the organisation's work.

You'll need to undergo some training and security vetting before an employer will allow you to work directly with service users.


You'll need to have:

  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • well-developed interpersonal skills and the ability to build successful partnerships
  • commitment to, passion for and belief in the organisation's aims
  • good understanding of the charity and voluntary work sector, and its relationship with other sectors
  • a proactive and organised approach to work
  • strong administrative skills, including numeracy and IT
  • initiative, creativity and good forward thinking
  • research, analysis and planning skills
  • time management skills with the ability to multi-task and prioritise
  • the ability to work well both on your own and as part of a team
  • understanding of the important role of volunteers
  • commercial awareness
  • the ability to learn quickly and adapt.

Work experience

Charity work is a popular career choice and getting a job can be competitive. Getting some voluntary experience with a charitable organisation is helpful as it demonstrates to potential employers your commitment to, and understanding of, the sector and individual charities. It also shows that you have initiative, are developing relevant skills and are not solely motivated by money.

There are a small number of paid internships available with some of the larger charitable organisations, such as Cancer Research UK and Wellcome.

The majority of charity internships are voluntary, however, and are usually offered by large charities such as:

  • Barnardo's
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Marie Curie
  • Oxfam
  • The Children's Trust.

Getting experience, either paid or voluntary, in areas such as fundraising, marketing, events and PR, administration, project management, finance, digital media or managing volunteers will help boost your application. Smaller charities may also have useful work experience opportunities.

You can look for voluntary work experience opportunities on the websites of charitable organisations or on websites such as Volunteer - Do IT.

Other bodies that provide information on volunteering include:

Work shadowing, setting up a community group or student society, or organising fundraising events are also useful activities and give you something extra to discuss at interview.

Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.


Charitable organisations are the largest employers of charity officers. These include local, regional, national and international charities, ranging from small-scale groups with a few paid staff and volunteers to large, well-known international charities with thousands of employees and volunteers.

The charity sector also includes:

  • philanthropic organisations
  • housing associations
  • trade unions
  • educational institutions
  • think tanks
  • NGOs with charitable status.

You can search for contact details of UK charitable organisations via the online directory - Charity Choice.

Some large and multinational commercial companies fulfil their corporate social responsibility by having at least one designated person to liaise with local charities and community groups. Their role is often to advise on internal fundraising activities and staff volunteering, and to deal with media enquiries on community-focused initiatives.

Look for job vacancies at:

Specialist recruitment agencies such as Charity People also advertise vacancies.

Voluntary sector exhibitions and recruitment fairs are a useful way of learning about organisations and available positions. Some of the larger voluntary sector organisations recruit at fairs organised by careers services.

Volunteering is a good way to gain some experience and create networking opportunities.

Professional development

You'll usually receive a mixture of on-the-job training and training through external courses.

It's important to keep up with developments in the sector by joining professional associations, registering with local, regional or national networks, attending training courses and conferences, and networking with people in similar roles.

Your employer may encourage you to embark upon a relevant professional qualification by funding study and allowing study leave.

Some organisations specialise in training courses for charity and voluntary sector workers. These range from one or two-day programmes to courses consisting of several modules. They are delivered either at centres throughout the country or by distance learning. Providers include:

  • Directory of Social Change (DSC) - short training courses, covering areas such as management, fundraising, finance, governance, personal development and communication.
  • Chartered Institute of Fundraising - short courses, conferences, webinars and leadership programmes.
  • NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) - courses on all aspects of charities management.
  • SCVO (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations) - short courses and events for people working in Scotland's voluntary sector.

A small number of universities offer postgraduate courses related to the charity and voluntary sector.

Career prospects

Opportunities for career development vary according to the size and aims of the charity you work for and the budget available for staff training and development. It will also depend on your own personal aims and determination.

In larger charities and voluntary sector organisations, there is usually a structured route for promotion, and bigger budgets and larger remits often mean more travel, training and professional qualification opportunities.

Although smaller charities and voluntary sector organisations often lack the same level of structure and resources, being exposed to more aspects of the organisation's work and often being given a greater degree of responsibility may mean you can develop a greater range of skills and experience.

You may be able to move into a more senior role related to the management or fundraising activities of the charity.

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