Why your next tech role should be in the charity sector
We explain the top reasons why people in tech and digital should consider charities for their next job move.
Considering a charity sector tech job? The main driver for a lot of people is the job satisfaction, sense of purpose and fulfilment that comes from making a difference to a cause. The opportunity to help make a lasting impact and to work with like-minded, passionate people can be enormously motivating and rewarding.
If you’re digitally skilled or work in a technical role, you might be wondering what life would be like for you in a charity organisation. Here are five reasons to make the leap.
1 – There are a wide variety of roles
There are a growing variety of new digital roles opening up in almost every area of the charity sector, as non-profit organisations look to replicate the successes of the commercial sector and use digital tools and services to drive efficiencies and make the most of tight budgets.
Non-technical roles that haven’t traditionally been digital are increasingly demanding a digital mindset, particularly in fields such as fundraising, communications and marketing.
There is also a huge demand for technical roles in IT and project management, database and CRM management, web development and user experience design and infrastructure.
Post GDPR, maintaining the integrity of their data and the trust that the sector is built on has become a central concern for charities of all kinds, and as a result roles in security and compliance are multiplying.
In a smaller charity, you’re likely to be more of a generalist, with the chance to get stuck in and lend your skills to many different areas and projects.
2 – Charities need your digital skills
According to the latest Charity Digital Skills Report, 73% of charities say developing better digital skills in their organisations would help them grow their network, and 72% say it would help them to increase fundraising.
84% of them think it’s important to develop their digital capabilities further, while just over half (51%) of charities say that a lack of digitally skilled staff is their biggest barrier to making the most out of digital.
At the same time, the release of the landmark Charity Digital Code Benchmark Report last Autumn saw charities warned that they need to act now to improve their digital strategy or they will ‘go the way of Woolworths.’
In a sector that is hungry to grasp the opportunities from digital, you can be sure that your contributions are valued. It’s an exciting time for digitally skilled individuals in charities, who have the opportunity to drive transformative change in a sector concerned with lagging behind.
3 – The charity sector is welcoming to diversity in every sense
The charity sector as a whole is female-dominated, with women representing around two thirds of workers in charity and voluntary organisations. This is compared to the UK workforce as a whole, where just under half (46.5%) are women.
This paints a picture of a more inclusive space for digital workers of all genders. Charities are likely to have more opportunities in place to support flexible working and part-time workers, and have a strong impetus to encourage diversity and inclusion as a whole.
This could sound like a breath of fresh air if you are a non-male or non-white employee in tech, where only 15% of employees in UK STEM roles are female.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the diversity the sector is known for hasn’t yet reached the upper levels of management, where there is under-representation of ethnic minority and non-male trustees and leaders.
To this end, there is a mandate to bring in minimum targets for charities. And in 2018, ACEVO and the Institute of Fundraising jointly published a diversity charter that calls on charity leaders to commit to eight principles to tackle racial diversity within their own organisations.
4 – Charities are exploring emerging tech
While the commercial sector is leading the way, there is a growing interest among charities in exploring the benefits of many of the more exciting, emerging technologies such as AI/machine learning and blockchain.
Charities are innovating especially in the area of fundraising, where many charities are delving into trialling voice-enabled technology.
Charities are embracing the chatbot revolution, as AI assistants transform the world of customer service for time-strapped organisations with lots of information to deliver online.
And there is a lot of interest around blockchain and its applications in the sector as a way to boost transparency and trust.