The job title ‘charity officer’ refers to any individual employed in a charitable or not-for-profit organisation.
If you become a charity officer, you may get involved with public relations and promotional activities, accounting and financial management, training and development, human resources, policy and strategy development, fundraising or programme management. These guys are also commonly known as charity administrators.
If you’re employed by a small or local charity, your job is likely to contain a mix of responsibilities, such as volunteer coordination, PR, business development, fundraising and general office administration tasks. In a larger organisation, your role is likely to be limited to a specific set of functions, depending on which area you choose to specialise in.
Prospective employers are predominantly part of the voluntary sector (a.k.a. the third sector), such as charities, NGOs and not-for-profit organisations. However, you could also secure opportunities with large organisations in the public and private sectors that have active corporate social responsibility programmes.
Salary & benefits
Charity officers with mainly administrative responsibilities tend to earn between £15,000 and £20,000, while officers in specialist roles can earn around £20,000 to £30,000 a year.
Experienced charity officers with supervisory or managerial responsibilities can earn up to £55,000 per annum.
Charity officers with general admin, training and volunteer coordination duties enjoy a regular nine-to-five working schedule.
However, other charity officers, who are engaged in fundraising, project-based assignments or fieldwork, are likely to put in longer hours, with regular weekend work being common.
The majority of your work will be done from the comfort of your office, but you may be required to travel around on a frequent basis to attend conferences and work at fundraising events.
A significant majority of charity officers are employed on a fixed-term contract basis, the length of which may depend on the availability of grants, donations and corporate sponsorship.
This is such a broad area of work that there are no minimum entry-level requirements as such. However, the common preference is for candidates with a degree or higher national diploma in any discipline. However, studying a subject such as marketing, social work, business, finance, economics, law or sociology may be advantageous.
The actual entry requirements will entirely depend on the chosen employer and the specific area of the charity sector in which the organisation operates.
Gaining prior work experience, particularly in a charitable or volunteer setting, is essential, as most employers value practical experience over academic qualifications.
Training & progression
Training is usually facilitated through gaining hands-on experience under the supervision of senior charity officers.
Very few employers in this sector offer structured entry-level training schemes. Several organisations, however, provide useful courses for charity officers who wish to develop their skills, including the Institute of Fundraising and the Directory of Social Change (DSC).
As you progress in your career, it’s likely that you will focus your efforts on a specific area of charity work and take on managerial responsibilities.
Flexibility and a willingness to relocate may be crucial for career progression. Numerous opportunities are even available overseas, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where the majority of charitable operations are focused.