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Moving to the charity sector

Posted over 4 years ago by Rebecca Thomas
Pexels Photo 951290

With reports indicating the number of people giving directly to charities in the UK declined for the third year running during 2019 to 57%, marketing communications have never been as critical as now for the charity sector.

If you are a commercially savvy and creative marketer, 2020 could be the perfect time to make the move to not for profit. But whilst working for a charity can be a highly rewarding experience, certain marketing challenges exist which may require specialist talent.

For instance, trust in charities has fallen below 50%. This may require a shift in marketing strategies to better improve a not-for-profits public image, demonstrating the beneficial uses of donations to the wider public. Other factors to consider as a marketer would be how to build long-term donator loyalty, alongside how a pinch in consumer wallets will impact charity selection.

As our resident specialist with a decade of experience recruiting into the charity & not for profit sectors, I receive calls, emails and applications daily from experienced marketing, PR, digital and creative candidates who are eager to transfer their skills and experience into the third sector and whilst it’s not easy, making the switch is definitely achievable if you approach the sector with the right ethos.

Here are some key considerations:

  • Are you ready for a challenge? Our charity sector clients generally have more limited resources, leaner teams and smaller budgets. This means, you will have to be open to turning your hand to most disciplines and happy to work at both strategic and tactical levels to deliver brand objectives.
  • Is it all about the money? We all work to earn a living, however moving charity side, you often need to balance your salary expectations against intangible benefits including better work-life balance, more flexible working conditions, increased annual leave and the feel-good factor knowing that you’re making a positive contribution.
  • Flex is key – Don’t limit yourself to traditional charities or well-known brands. Pitch work with a range of organisations from the NHS and traditional public sector bodies; schools, colleges and universities through to niche membership organisations, social enterprises and the arts & culture sector. All of these offer their own unique attractions and challenges which may better suit your skillset.

  • Ever thought about interim? Interim or temporary roles are a great way to enter the sector. Requirements tend to be less specific in terms of sector background and due to restricted timescales, recruiting managers can be more flexible with their requirements. We work on a range of opportunities from 12-month maternity cover roles to ad-hoc immediate temp bookings.
  • Are you prepared to give back? Whilst by no means essential, demonstrating some relevant volunteer work is advantageous; offering to help a local charity or school with their marketing or fundraising is a great way of showing your commitment and also gives you first-hand experience of the sector without taking the leap full-time.
  • Do you want to stay informed? Why not join relevant social media groups and sign up to publications to keep up to date with industry news? This would make you stand out in the market and be a real talking point at interview. You could try: or


  • Keep it real - Don’t expect not for profit to be all ‘feel good factor' and fundraisers. Here at Pitch, we work with some hugely commercial organisations who are targeted in much the same way as their for-profit equivalents – it’s just a matter of donations v’s sales or supporter engagement v’s customer loyalty.

If you are considering a move to the not for profit sector and would like to discuss the market, please contact me.

Image credit: 

Header: Man and woman sitting in front of a table by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

Image 1: Person holding a stress ball by Matthias Zomer .