Administrators can often be key employees in charities and non-profits. In small organisations, they may have generalist roles, looking after elements of finance, communications and organisation as needed. In larger organisations, they're likely to be part of larger teams and have more specialist roles. Either way, administrators do essential work that keeps charities running.
Specific responsibilities and the amount of contact with volunteers and the public will vary according to the size of the charity: in larger organisations, administrators may be mostly office-based, whereas those working for smaller employers often have frequent contact with volunteers and the public. Common duties include:
- recruiting, training and managing employees and volunteers
- financial/accounts administration
- handling correspondence
- organising meetings and producing agendas and minutes
- answering telephone calls
- contacting potential donors
- organising social media and other publicity work
- helping to manage IT systems.
Vacancies are advertised by careers services and on specialist charity sector websites such as Charity Times and Third Sector.They're also sometimes advertised in national and local newspapers. Charities don't have large advertising budgets, so look for jobs on social media, local newsletters and other community news sources too.
Opportunities are also advertised by a number of specialist recruitment agencies. Many jobs are only advertised internally, so consider sending speculative applications.
You can become a charities administrator both with or without a degree.
Graduates don’t need to have a specific degree discipline, although a business studies, management or social administration qualification may be helpful. A foundation degree or HND may prove beneficial for school leavers.
However, strong competition for a relatively small number of permanent opportunities means that voluntary and administrative work experience are often valued more highly than academic qualifications. Local charities and volunteer bureaux can often provide work experience placements. Search for opportunities on their websites, or look at central websites such as Do-It and TimeBank.
To find out about other charity sector careers you can get into via a school leaver route (eg an apprenticeship or school leaver programme) see the public sector section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
Recruiters look for candidates who are committed to the organisation's objectives and beneficiaries. Other essential skills and qualities include:
- administrative skills
- the ability to learn quickly and take on tasks outside your skill set
- willingness to do routine tasks
- interpersonal skills
- organisational skills
- social media and IT skills
- confidence working with people from diverse backgrounds.