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Not-for-profit careers

The charity sector in Australia is large and diverse, covering a broad range of activities.

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While it is hard to get an accurate snapshot of just how far reaching and impactful charities’ work is, the recent introduction of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), and their commitment to gathering and analysing data on the sector, is helping to increase understanding about this important work in Australia.

A report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that the not-for-profit sector employed 1,081,900 people in 2012–2013 and used 521 million volunteer hours, equating to an equivalent of 265,600 full time employed persons in the same year. The report also found that the sector contributed about $54,796 billion to Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP). 

Why people work for a charity

People who decide to work for a charity often do out of their benevolent nature and a genuine desire to help others. Many experience a sense of happiness and satisfaction in knowing that their work days are spent contributing to the greater good of humanity and the environment. There are a number of reasons people may find working for a charity worthwhile:

Much of the work undertaken by the sector is very visible and workers are often able to see measurable, tangible results. This can be an enormous encouragement and spur individuals, teams and organisations on to increase and develop the work they do.

Charities and not-for-profits provide workers with great job satisfaction. Whether the rewards are personal, emotional, mental, spiritual or physical in nature the privilege of doing something that you truly believe in is a great motivator for workers in this sector.

The growth and popularity of the sector means that charities employ high quality, interesting people who are often very experienced and driven to make the world a better place.

Organisations often face the challenge of maintaining relevance and addressing current needs with very limited resources. Many have become highly adaptable, open to new ways of working and creative in their solutions. Workers have the ability to play their part in providing solutions and initiating fresh approaches.

Within small organisations there is often the need for workers to undertake a range of tasks relating to the business needs of the organisation. This gives workers the opportunity to increase their skills and gain experience in new areas. Larger organisations that employ people in more specialist roles often provide the opportunity for workers to diversify their work and develop their career within the organisation.

Charities are increasingly being approached by people who have spent significant time in the corporate or business world and have decided they would like to make a change. They find that their knowledge and expertise is valued, harnessed and appreciated in the sector. Increasingly, the lines between community and corporate sectors are crossing and the value of people from each sector is being understood and taken advantage of.

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