Home > Blog > What’s it like to work in… charity management?
A graduate position in charity management can be rewarding, challenging and a great avenue to launch your career. Although the themes of work will vary depending on which charity you are working for, tasks involved in charity management graduate schemes can include stakeholder management, communications, proposal editing, general project management or policy research. You don’t necessarily need a degree in a related field to join a charity management scheme, although relevant work experience is likely to support your application along with the ability to be adaptive, great communication skills and innovation skills. Here are some insights taken directly from graduates working in charity management:
‘I work with a wide range of internal and external partners, working to understand and influence stakeholder requirements, analysing and shaping recommendations, and coordinating and managing delivery of work. Typical activities included meetings, digesting and analysing material and drafting documents.’
Project Analyst, Corporate Resources at Cancer Research UK
‘My placement involves working within the organisation to review our policies. This could involve updating current policy, drafting new policy, carrying out consultation or improving the resources provided to employees and managers to support our processes. Alongside my placement, I take part in regular learning sessions with the other members of the Charityworks cohort. These sessions cover a range of subjects relevant to management and the charity sector. The sessions are supported by a range of learning materials which give a good introduction to the topics.’
Graduate Trainee, Charityworks
‘My daily tasks include talking to other members of the Tech team to capture their opinions on where we are doing well & where there is room for improvement, I also work on analysing other technology review sites. When looking at other sites I focus on identifying what products they cover, how quickly they report on them and any exciting features or functions that they may include on their website. Currently I am putting my findings together in a presentation.’
‘Interesting subject matter. Highly competent and interesting colleagues. Flexible working hours and good work/life balance. Evidence based organisation. Great cause. Work about more than the bottom line. Occasional frustration at the slow pace of politics. Can spend too much time at my desk staring at a screen. Too many relevant policy areas to deal with, difficult to focus specifically on a few!’
Policy Advisor, at Cancer Research UK
‘Amazing insight to large scale INGO work at headquarters. Good networking opportunities, but hard to get upward movement. Great lectures/talks and training to attend. Lectures from programmes around the world probably occur twice weekly. Stressful job, which, if it wasn’t in an exciting context and so busy, would be a little boring.’
Administrator, Business/HR at Oxfam GB
‘Trying to solve some really interesting and hard problems. Great interactions with other people in the space.’
Health Development Intern, India at Clinton Foundation
Application Advice: Be open-minded and be honest in applications. Part of the job is welcoming new information and being challenged and if you aren’t honest or open minded you won’t learn and grow.
Interview Advice: Be positive through the interview process and buy into the vision of the grad scheme. It will help in answering questions and showing off your best self.
Marketing and Brand Assistant, Communications at Charityworks
Application Advice: You need a real passion for the charity itself- this will shine through in any application. Think carefully about the implications of a charity on this scale.
Interview Advice: Do some in-depth research into the organisation and the industry in general- there is plenty of organisation-specific information available online and general charity forms- even some Tedtalks.
Graduate, Cancer Research UK
Application Advice: I think my interviewers were very keen to find out if I could join a fast-paced environment with minimal hand-holding. They wanted to know if I could get up to speed quickly and remain flexible.
Interview Advice: There was only one interview, which lasted about 20min. My main advice is to have a tangible example of your experience for each competency/skill. It’s not about what role you were previously in, it’s about what you did whilst in that role. And your interviewers won’t know anything unless you explicitly tell them. I also think it’s important to be friendly and honest. They’re not only looking for someone who can do the job, but they’re also looking for a new colleague.
GEM Support Officer, Business & Markets Team at Oxfam GB
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