How much will I earn working for a charity?
Charities expect their staff to be motivated by wanting to make a difference and support a good cause, rather than by eye-catching starting pay and bonuses. On the whole, salaries are likely to be less than in the private sector. It all depends what skills and experience you have to offer, however, and in the long term, if you rise to a leadership role in a big charity, your salary could be very generous.
Charity salaries for entry-level roles and more senior positions
There are relatively few charity graduate schemes and training schemes for school leavers with A levels are also a rarity. Whether you are a school leaver or a graduate, you are likely to need to apply for entry-level jobs.
A degree may be an advantage when applying for entry-level roles, even if it is not stated as a requirement. Candidates are likely to be expected to be educated to A level standard as a minimum. Work experience is important to charity employers and graduates may have more of this than school leavers, giving them a further advantage. Use our advice on how to get into charity work to give yourself the best chance of getting into the sector, whatever your qualifications.
Some charities use a similar payscale to local government, with the lowest starting salaries at around £13,500, which is comparable to the starting pay you would receive on many school leaver programmes in the private sector. Large charities typically pay more than smaller charities and may offer some apprenticeship roles. These could be paid at more than the minimum wage for apprentices, up to around £10,000 a year.
Here are some examples of the salaries you might receive for entry-level roles in a range of areas of work, and how your pay could progress at a more senior level.
- Assistant role: £14,000–£20,000, with temp roles paying around £10 an hour
- Coordinator/executive assistant/assistant to the directors/membership coordinator/office manager: £20,000–£40,000
- Assistant role: £15,000–£20,000
- Fundraising coordinator with several years’ experience: £20,000–£25,000
- Senior role such as giving manager or development executive: £25,000–£45,000
- Assistant/junior officer role: £15,000–£20,000
- Marketing officer/manager role: £20,000–£40,000
- Senior manager/head of marketing and PR: £40,000–£70,000
Charity financial management
- Administrator role: £14,000
- Director of finance, finance manager or management accounting manager:£30,000–£65,000
What are the highest-paid jobs in the charity sector?
A small minority of those in leadership roles with the biggest charities are paid more than £100,000 – in 2013 there were just 30. These directors and chief executives have often held high-profile roles in the public or private sector previously and have extensive experience at senior level.
Charity internships for graduates
Often graduates are willing to volunteer to get a foot in the door and gain work experience, and may spend weeks or months doing this without receiving a salary. Many graduates apply for charity internships to gain experience. These are extended, structured placements and may be full-time or part-time; if they are part-time, graduates may also hold down a part-time job to enable them to support themselves.
Internships are typically between eight weeks and six months long, with many lasting around three months. Charity internships are often expenses-only, though some are paid or have funding attached to enable people to take them up who would not be able to do so otherwise. Graduates who take up charity internships on a volunteer basis are not entitled to the minimum wage.
Graduate scheme pay in the charity sector
There are relatively few graduate schemes in the charity sector, and school leavers may find themselves up against graduates when competing for entry-level jobs. Here are some examples of starting salaries paid for charity graduate schemes:
Cancer Research: the graduate programme offers a range of different schemes and an annual salary of around £24,000.
Charityworks: this network of charities, including The Children’s Society, Terrence Higgins Trust and The National Autistic Society, runs a management training scheme for graduates. The programme runs for a year, for which graduates will be paid £16,000 to £18,000 depending on location.
The Wellcome Trust: has a relatively new graduate development programme. Graduates receive an annual salary of £25,000 for the duration of their two-year programme.
IntoUniversity: a charity aiming to develop the skills required to go to university among those disadvantaged by their economic, social, linguistic or cultural background. Graduate trainee education workers are paid £20,400 a year.