There’s been some debate recently around the subject of TOIL in the charity sector and during my recent holiday, it got me to thinking about the other benefits of working in the sector. The old chestnut of lower salaries than commercial equivalents is a debate we can’t really advance in one blog but, having asked around, I was surprised at just how many other tangible benefits there are.
I’m not talking about gym membership, pensions and other more frequently seen benefits. And nor are we talking about the ethereal ‘I feel better about myself’ glow that invariably we all do experience but which is hard to articulate to someone considering volunteering or applying for a role.
I am talking about the tangible experiences those in roles, paid and voluntary, enjoy but that seldom seem to get shared when we’re trying to attract new talent. Here’s just a few of the examples I came across:
- Getting to meet celebrities. For events and high value donor roles, this can be a real buzz, especially when the experience can be shared with friends via social media. The girls in the British Lung Foundation fundraising teams haven’t stopped talking about what a nice bloke Colin Jackson is since meeting him at the Great North Run.
- Attending free learning events. The charity sector has more great opportunities to learn from others and pick up new skills than I can count. From NFP Tweetups to Institute of Fundraising masterclasses and free ‘lunchtime learning’ sessions to a number of Google-based peer support groups. The sector is hugely focused on sharing what works with others and helping volunteers and staff to develop personally.
- Meeting people who open your mind almost every day. I know this sounds a bit ethereal but spending time regularly with charity beneficiaries does open your mind and very often results in us behaving more positively towards people.
- Awards. Both personal and organisational awards can really boost motivation and recognise the energies and outcomes of great charity people. Do recruiters share these achievements with potential team members (and supporters) enough?
- Freebies. I know it might not be appropriate to shout about this but chocolate, biscuits, T-shirts, cakes, books and games are just some of the things I’ve seen staff and volunteers receive from happy corporate partners, supporters and even Trustees. A small random act of kindness does indeed go a long way…
I’m sure if we shared just some of these with the right target audiences, it could promote our charity brands as causes and as great places to work or volunteer. What have been your best non-benefit benefits?