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You are here: Home » Career Sector Information » Voluntary & Charity

Voluntary & Charity

Voluntary & Charity

Organisations in  the Voluntary Sector may have hundreds of employees, a six-figure turnover and national or even international recognition such as The National Trust, the NSPCC, Greenpeace or Oxfam. At the other end of the scale, they may have no paid employees, a tiny budget and exist for a short period of time only to tackle a single local issue. Many fall between these two extremes, but the majority are small with few paid employees, short term funding which has to be replenished annually or project by project. There is a constant need to keep their cause in the public eye, encouraging support and ensuring they serve the purpose for which they were established.

By definition, voluntary organisations or charities are independent of government or business and non-profit making. Collectively they form a very big, vibrant sector, contributing significantly to the national economy and delivering a range of services which provide benefits to relevant sections of the public not just the members of the organisation.

Growing numbers of people are employed in this sector and in recent years it has become more professional and "managerial" in culture. This is especially relevant where organisations have taken on government contracts and accepted statutory funding to provide a range of public services such as day care facilities, helplines or advice centres.

A major activity of most voluntary organisations is the recruitment and deployment of the many volunteers who give their time and skills to the sector. Some organisations are run entirely by their volunteers but even relatively small, local charities may have sufficient funding, albeit sometimes rather precarious, to employ a core of paid staff in key roles such as policy and administration, campaigning or fundraising. Most places will have a volunteer bureau or equivalent which can give leads into the work available. A study by the Economic and Social Research Council found a strong link between voluntary activity and overall life satisfaction.

Graduates keen to join the sector may have to consider different ways of getting in, depending on their qualifications, skills and experience. Professionally qualified staff such as social workers, nurses or accountants may be employed directly. Long standing volunteers may gradually acquire relevant experience and skills and find themselves "in the right place, at the right time" when a paid position comes up. Graduates with experience in other sectors such as the Civil Service, PR and marketing, retail, information and administration may find their expertise transferable into the voluntary sector.

Voluntary organisations from international to local can be found in Yorkshire. The mix varies from city to urban to rural context and need. The sections here define and link to some of the key opportunities for graduates in the voluntary sector in Yorkshire.

Job vacancies in Voluntary & Charity

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Useful links:

National Association of Voluntary and Community Action

Yorkshire and Humber Regional Forum

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)