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Getting a support job in a charity

Support staff may work behind the scenes but they play a vital role in any charity, and it is possible to learn highly specialised skills and build an extremely rewarding career.

There is an extremely wide variety of office and specialist support roles within the not for profit sector, attracting candidates with different skills and career backgrounds but who all have a natural passion for and commitment to the third sector in common.

In the past, some charities have been reluctant to invest in administration, assuming that it takes funding away from the front line. However, this attitude is changing and more not for profit organisations are acknowledging that
spending more money on administration, including recruiting effective charity administration staff, makes a charity more effective. Support roles are now seen as an attractive career option for those who want to work in the third sector.

Jobs in charity support range from reasonably generic administration, secretarial and receptionist roles to extremely specialist charity jobs such as Supporter Services Managers or prospect researchers.  There are also many support jobs involving the use of fundraising databases.

Depending on your skills, interests and previous experience, you could consider these support roles within a charity:

Administration Jobs

PA & Secretary Jobs

Business Development Jobs

Policy & Advocacy Jobs

Database Jobs

Post Room Jobs

Education & Training Jobs

Programme Jobs

Events Jobs

Project Jobs

Facilities Jobs

Receptionist Jobs

Grants Jobs

Research Jobs

IT Jobs

Supporter Services Jobs

Memberships Jobs

Volunteer Management Jobs

Operations Jobs

Temporary Jobs

Some of these roles require specific qualifications, but many employers prefer GCSEs, eg in Maths and English. A course in administration, such as the OCR and NVQ courses, can also be beneficial. The most commonly required skill is a good working knowledge of fundraising databases, eg Raiser’s Edge, Visual Alms, GiftAid etc.

The not for profit sector is an extremely competitive market, and there are more jobseekers than paid jobs at the moment. We have found that charities are unlikely to consider candidates with no previous experience whatsoever. We recommend a period of volunteering for our candidates, to help them gain the skills they will need for future paid work. For help with volunteering, see How to Volunteer.

Temporary or contract jobs are also a good way of gaining experience in charity support, and employers are more likely to consider you for a short-term role if you have little experience but the right attitude.

TPP is the charity recruitment specialist. Our Office & Specialist Support team excels in placing candidates in temporary, contract and permanent support jobs in charities. For more information, please contact them on 020 7198 6020 or