Having worked with a variety of large and small charities I know the struggles that both organisations can face. A number of challenges are presented to smaller organisations, from recognition and reach, to staff attraction and retention. With only 3% of charity incoming being drawn in by 73% of charity organisations, it is often easy to forget the fantastic work that small charities do. When considering their next career move, a lot of people are attracted by the big charity brands with the largest incomes, but in this article, I’ll explore why the county’s smaller charities should not be ignored and why you should be considering them in your next career move.
Niche and focused work
This is not to say that larger charities do not engage with crucial and important causes and perform outstanding work, but the reason smaller charities exist is to connect to those who escape the reach of a larger organisation, whether that be demographically, geographically or otherwise. Smaller organisations often emerge to address a local need and engage with a very specific group. In this pursuit, they develop a tremendous passion for their cause. If you have a very specific cause that is close to your heart, you are likely to find likeminded individuals in a small charity.
Connection to the cause
At a small charity, you will often find yourself connected to the cause you are working for in ways a large charity simply cannot achieve for logistical reasons. Whether you are in marketing, fundraising, HR, or another function, you will likely engage with those you are helping in some capacity. While many people at larger charities can achieve this, it is simply not possible for everybody. If you enjoy engaging with people directly and want to feel closely connected to those you are helping through your work, a smaller charity is likely to provide this for you. Not only are you connected to those you help, but you are connected to those who help you! At a smaller charity, funding is incredibly precious. According to the Small Charities Commission, 97% of charities operate on less than £1m a year, meaning every donation is felt much more strongly. With this in mind, smaller charities can often find themselves forging long lasting and close relationships with their donors, who themselves share an intense passion for the cause.
Whether you are just starting out in your career, or are a veteran in the charity sector, working at a smaller organisation can you offer you such a wide amount of exposure. You may be a fundraiser by title but could easily see yourself running events, getting involved with communications strategy, and drafting material for campaigns. While for some people this may sound like a nightmare, it promises a role that is never the same from one day to the next! If you are not quite sure whether your passion lies truly in fundraising, events, marketing, then a small charity will allow you the freedom to experience the lot. They offer great learning opportunities in your career, and if you have already gained a vast amount of experience a smaller charity would benefit hugely from your knowledge, and you will surely learn a thing or two yourself!
Get things done quickly!
A lot of people at larger organisations are often frustrated with the amount of red tape in their role. There are numerous people who need to sign off on projects and ideas, and as a result change and innovation can be limited. In smaller charities, a lot of this red tape doesn’t exist. Due to the smaller nature of the teams, ideas can fly and circulate much more quickly, and ideas can turn into results very quickly! If you are a creative individual and want more scope in your role to express this, a smaller organisation will generally allow more opportunity for this.
If you are considering your next move and have only considered larger organisations, broaden your horizons to include charities of all sizes! The opportunities that they present may end up surprising you.
Get in touch with me to discuss your next move and find out what option is right for you.