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Charity work does not necessarily mean volunteering at your local hospice or homeless shelter. The not-for-profit industry, also referred to as the Third Sector is made up of hundreds of thousands of people, each with individual skills and talents, working in diverse roles trying to improve the lives of people across the globe.
Currently, there are 180,000 registered charities in England and Wales, and many more small charities that are not required to register (Charity Commission). The Charity Commission explains what an organisation needs to do to be called a charity: "To be a charity, an organisation must have exclusively charitable purposes and must operate for the public benefit".
Modern charities and not-for-profit organisations are run similarly to businesses: businesses raise profits; charities raise donations and, within these structures, there are numerous different areas of specialisation which require a host of qualifications and types of experience, including Finance, Fundraising, Human Resources, Events Organisation, Marketing and PR.
The one thing that is universally expected of all people working in the industry is drive and passion for the cause they are supporting. Working for a charity can be an extremely fulfilling job, both emotionally and financially. Prospects for career development are also on the whole very good, which is why an increasing number of people are leaving the private sector to work for the charity and voluntary industry.