Working for a charity isn't just about helping people. It's about working with others – including donors, beneficiaries, other organisations – to make a difference. There can be many groups involved in a campaign or project, so people working in the charity sector have built up their own jargon to communicate quickly.
If you show you understand these terms in your job applications and interviews, you’ll demonstrate your interest in the sector. You can also make it clear that you’ve explored the complex framework in which charities and not-for-profit bodies work.
Take a look at some of the most common terms.
CIO: charitable incorporated organisation – a type of legal structure that charities use.
CSR: corporate social responsibility – work done by some businesses to benefit society. This work may support local communities, charities and voluntary organisations.
CVS: council for voluntary service – a local organisation that provides information and support for charities in the area.
DfID: Department for International Development – part of the UK government that manages Britain's aid to developing countries.
ESV: employer supported volunteering, also known as corporate volunteering – voluntary activity organised and sometimes funded by companies.
IAG: information, advice and guidance – information for members of the public that helps them make decisions about their lives. It's provided by many charities and advice organisations.
NCVO: National Council for Voluntary Organisations – umbrella organisation for the voluntary and community sector in England.
NGO: non-governmental organisation – not-for-profit organisation funded by private donors and delivering welfare and international development.
OCS: Office for Civil Society – department within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport overseeing charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations.
TSO: third sector organisation – the third sector is an alternative name for the voluntary sector (the first and second sectors being the private and public sectors respectively).
VCS: voluntary and community sector – another name for the not-for-profit or third sector.