You may have always wanted to work for a charity organization but are not sure if you have what it takes. Typically focused on improving the lives of others or doing good for the community and society, working for a charity or nonprofit can be a gratifying career for the right individual. Here are 8 qualities and skills that are valuable assets for any charity employee.
Passion and Dedication
Everyone will be happier and more motivated in a job if they like what they do, but with charity work you must have a heightened passion for the organization’s cause. With fundraising and campaigning so important for a charity’s success, you will need that drive and desire to make a difference if you are going to convince people to help the cause. The more personally invested and interested you are, the more dedicated you will be at putting in the time for the organization to succeed.
Flexibility and Team Player
You must be a person who is flexible and willing to do what it takes to get a job done. Budgets for charities are often lean, so you will be asked to pitch in on multiple fronts. You may be a back-office employee most of the time. But be willing to take on a different role when extra bodies are needed to staff a major fundraising event. The nature of charities makes it likely you will be working and communicating with a diverse group of people of different ages, races and cultures, so teamwork and collaboration skills are extremely valuable. Do not be afraid to speak up and volunteer services or expertise gained from previous jobs. Perhaps your knowledge of QuickBooks Pro can save the company from needing a full-time accounting person, or web design skills you picked up along the way could be handy when planning a major fundraising campaign. You will also need to be flexible about when you work. Charity work, especially fundraisers, may involve late hours or even weekend events, where you will be asked to contribute.
Many jobs require good communication skills, but being able to speak, write and listen well are critical for charity work. A central part of charity work involves spreading the word about the organization’s mission and convincing others to support it. Whether it is a public-facing role or internally focused job, it is important that you can convey thoughts clearly and calmly. Good communication also means being able to address difficult or sensitive situations with empathy and tact. The nature of charities puts them public facing 24-7 so you must always be conscious of this when exchanging thoughts and views. Digital marketing is important for charities, so even if you do not officially engage on social sites or mobile apps for the company, you must be conscious of saying the right thing in both your personal and professional postings. The ability to listen well is just as important to good communication as writing and speaking. Listening helps you understand others and makes you more effective at convincing people to support the mission.
Innovative and Creative
A fundamental premise for charities is making profound changes, so a culture of innovation and creativity is central to accomplishing the mission. Local children’s charities compete with one another for the pool of donor dollars. Formulating innovative ways of raising awareness or money for the charity’s cause creates a major advantage. Since charity work is usually executed on a shoestring budget, the ability to generate new and fresh ideas that are effective within this environment is critical. Innovation and creativity skills are equally important even if your job is not directly involved with fundraising. Finding more efficient and cheaper ways to get things accomplished can make a significant difference in a company faced with budget limitations. You must be a person who is resourceful, thinks outside the box and can translate ideas into action.
The rewards of charity work are many, but so are the challenges. Despite all the best-efforts, fundraising campaigns can end up not meeting a goal. You will be a valuable employee if you can look beyond the moment, keep the overall mission in sight and always persevere forward despite any obstacles. Your perseverance will be an asset as it inspires other employees to move beyond disappointments or tough situations.
Possessing these essential skills and qualities, in addition to the required job-related expertise, will make you stand out as a valuable charity organization employee.