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Charity, Not-for-profit & NGO careers


Why work in an environmental charity?

In the words of American comedian Robert Orben: “there’s so much pollution in the air now; if it weren’t for our lungs, there’d be nowhere to put it all.”

If you share similar thoughts on the state of the environment, a job in environmental charity work could be the road to pursue.

What does environmental charity work involve?

With growing environmental concerns across the world, this area of charity work is growing and growing. You might be working for a charity that aims to generally improve people’s awareness of environmental issues, or you might be working in an organisation that actively carries out conservation activities in various locations across the globe. Alternatively, you could work for NGOs that pursue environmental activism in an organised and official manner, such as Greenpeace.

The career options are hugely varied, from project management and marketing, to more hands-on scientific research roles. There’s certainly enough here for you to get your teeth into and make a difference. You also have the choice of whether to work in the UK or abroad, depending on what sort of thing you’re looking for.

If you pine for a role abroad, there are various avenues that you can pursue. Financially, this can be a much tougher road to take because many environmental jobs abroad are volunteer roles only.

However, your travel costs may be paid for by the organisation and you can’t put a price on the experience you’ll gain. It’s a good opportunity to practice a foreign language, meet new people and help different ecosystems, people and communities in need.

What could I do in an environmental charity?

Environmental charities, NGOs and not-for-profit organisations offer the whole range of charity careers.

You could use your marketing skills and get involved with the campaigning, communications and marketing side of things. You could also use your organisational talents and take on an administrative role.

For a more hands-on experience, you could kick off by getting involved as a volunteer before moving into a volunteer coordinator position. Alternatively, you could use your research skills to help influence environmental policies.

If you’ve got a science background, you could get involved with scientific research and hands-on conservation activities in a role such as a nature conservation officer. These positions may give you the best opportunities for travel. You never know, you could be living on a beach in the Bahamas, scuba diving every day and surveying coral reefs!

Admittedly, your opportunities will be entirely dependent on the specific charities you apply to. A whole bunch of factors may affect your career progression, such as the size of the charity, how well-known it is and the amount of funding it receives. It’s certainly not a case of “the bigger, the better,” but in a larger company, you’ll have a wider choice of career options.

When you kick start your environmental charity career, you might even be required to take on a number of jobs at the same time and will therefore need to have a knack for multi-tasking.

Are you keen on green? Do you want the opportunity to travel, to meet exciting people and, most crucially of all, to make a difference? If so, perhaps you should consider a career in environmental charities...

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