Graduate jobs in charity and voluntary work

Author
Jemma Smith, Editor
Posted
November, 2017

There's so much more to third sector jobs than shaking buckets and collecting coins. Discover the variety of careers on offer in this diverse industry

Charity jobs come in all shapes and sizes but the one thing they have in common is that they all work towards a good cause. You can work front-of-house in a hands-on role or behind the scenes. If travelling is your thing you can see the world or if you prefer home ground you can stay put. There are careers to suit all aspirations.

Find out more about third sector jobs and discover which one is right for you.

Advice worker

As an advice worker, you'll provide free, impartial, confidential advice and information to clients on a range of issues.

Advice is generally provided face-to-face or by telephone, email and web-chat services. You could be based in community centres, doctors' surgeries or courts and prisons, as well as in dedicated advice or call centres.

There are no formal degree requirements, although many people do possess a degree and postgraduate or professional qualifications.

Starting salaries for advice workers are between £16,000 and £23,000.

Gain an in-depth insight into the role of an advice worker.

Campaigns assistant

Reporting to the campaigns manager you'll help with developing material to be used in the charity's fundraising activities. This can involve writing press releases, emails and letters, producing e-campaign materials and general admin tasks. In this role you'll act as the link between the organisation and its campaigners and fundraisers 'on the ground'.

You'll need a confident manner and excellent team-working skills to succeed in this role.

Celebrity manager

Also known as a celebrity liaison officer, you'll be responsible for developing a portfolio of VIP supporters and managing these relationships across the organisation. It's your job to implement the celebrity strategy and liaise directly with VIPs and their teams to negotiate the terms of their involvement with the charity.

You'll work with celebrities on campaigns to raise awareness the organisation and its aims. You'll also work closely with your charity's PR, marketing and fundraising departments.

Previous experience of managing VIP relationships in a similar role is usually needed.

Charity director

Developing a charity's services, generating income and raising awareness for the cause are key responsibilities of a charity director. You'll also plan policies, write funding bids and represent the charity at meetings, events and in the media.

You'll need a lot of experience at senior management level and an in-depth knowledge of your charity's service users. The job also requires leadership, motivational and project management skills and negotiation and budgeting ability.

Starting salaries are in the region of £30,000 to £35,000. Highly-experienced professionals could earn £55,000 and above.

Charity fundraiser

To become a charity fundraiser you'll need excellent communications skills and the enthusiasm to drum up support for your organisation. It's your job to increase the contributions of individuals and groups to a charity by building relationships and exploring new fundraising opportunities.

The ability to network is paramount as success depends heavily on being able to forge positive relationships with supporters. You'll also work to raise awareness of the charity's work, aims and goals.

Starting salaries for assistant roles can be as low as £15,000, although you're more likely to start on £18,000 to £22,000 in London. Salaries rise to £26,000 with experience.

Find out more about the qualifications and skills you need to become a charity fundraiser.

Charity officer

Also known as charity administrators, community liaison officers or project development officers, this is a popular career choice among graduates with a passion for helping others.

In large organisations charity officers focus on a specific area, such as project management, business development, finance, marketing, public relations, fundraising or volunteer management. In smaller charities, you'll undertake multiple tasks.

You could carry out marketing and public relations activities, design fundraising materials such as leaflets and flyers, create and organise fundraising initiatives and events or recruit and coordinate volunteers

Charity officers usually earn £16,000 to £25,000.

Learn more about the role of a charity officer.

Community arts worker

In this role you'll collaborate with local groups and individuals, encouraging the use of artistic activities to support their development and improve their quality of life. You'll work in areas where there are social, cultural or environmental issues and use a range of art forms to engage with different community groups.

The role is open to all graduates, HND and foundation degree holders, but a degree in the following subjects may increase your chances:

  • art, design, fine art
  • art history
  • contemporary art
  • drama, theatre, dance or performing arts
  • event management
  • media, film or photography
  • music
  • teaching and education.

Starting salaries for administrative roles begin at £16,000, rising to between £20,000 and £30,000 with experience.

Discover what it's like to work as a community arts worker.

Community development worker

Helping communities to bring about social change and improve quality of life in their local area is all in a day's work for community development workers. You'll work with individuals, families and whole communities on projects that target communities perceived to be culturally, economically or geographically disadvantaged.

This area of work is open to all graduates and those with an HND, but a degree in social sciences may improve your chances.

Starting salaries fall between £15,500 and £26,000.

Read more about the role of a community development worker.

Community education officer

If you have a passion for helping people to gain access to learning and skills working as a community education officer will be ideal for you. You'll help to organise and promote participation in local education or training opportunities, including skills in literacy and numeracy, life skills or practical skills, such as budgeting, cooking or learning how to use a computer.

You'll typically work in areas of social deprivation or high unemployment and may work in non-traditional venues such as community centres, children's centres, libraries and churches.

In the voluntary sector starting salaries begin at £18,000.

Find out what qualifications you'll need to work as a community education officer.

Grants assistant

In this charity job you'll provide administrative support to funding/fundraising departments and help to research and make new grant applications.

You'll need strong organisational and IT skills, excellent attention to detail and the ability to work as part of a team. Experience of working in an office environment may be beneficial.

International aid/development worker

This role is all about meeting the needs of people and communities in the developing world. You'll work with developing countries to set up long-term, sustainable solutions to problems.

Many people who enter this area of work have a degree in social sciences or a relevant vocational subject, although not all posts require a particular degree. The following subjects may increase your chances:

  • economics
  • human rights
  • international development or development studies
  • languages
  • logistics
  • medicine, nursing and other health-related subjects
  • social policy
  • water or sanitation engineering.

Discover what you could earn as an international aid/development worker.

Policy/research assistant

Usually found in larger organisations, this is a popular charity job for graduates looking to develop a career in policy and research.

You'll provide general support to the policy and research teams and will need a high level of written and verbal communication skills, as well as the ability to gather, understand and analyse complex information.

Volunteer coordinator

Working as a volunteer coordinator involves assessing and meeting an organisation's needs through the recruitment, placement and retention of volunteers. You'll manage volunteers and their relationships with those they come into contact with, including employees and service users of a charity.

Opportunities are frequently available in towns and cities and part-time work is possible.

Many volunteer coordinators begin their careers as unpaid volunteers to gain experience. Starting salaries are generally low, particularly in the charity sector, and range from £15,000 to £26,000.

Take a look at the qualifications you'll need to become a volunteer coordinator.

Youth worker

While many youth workers have a degree, relevant work experience and the desire to make a difference in the lives of young people are essential for this job.

You'll guide and support young people in their personal, social and educational development to help them reach their full potential. You'll typically work with those aged between 11 and 25 in a variety of settings such as colleges, schools and youth centres.

The minimum qualification required to work as a professional youth worker is a BA (Hons) degree validated by the National Youth Agency (NYA).

Find out more about a youth workers salary.

Find out more