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21 October 2015
Getting started in the charity world can be a tough job, because volunteering and charity work are so fundamentally different from other sectors. Emma Bennett talks us through some valuable resources for getting started in the third sector.Getting started in the charity world can be a tough job, because volunteering and charity work are so fundamentally different from other sectors. There's a lot of topical issues, influencers and policy information you might find helpful, so here are 10 online resources that you can trust.
The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network
The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network is a section of the Guardian Website dedicated entirely to the charity industry; including volunteering, policy and fundraising. They produce a wide variety of content and have blogs from the biggest influencers out there. It's also a great way of finding out what’s topical, so your knowledge is always up to date.
Just Giving Blog
JustGiving is a social platform for giving and has revolutionised the way people fundraise for charity. This blog is one of the best Third Sector reads out there, updated daily, with a wide variety of content. They are also open to guest submissions, which means you get great insights from charity workers and volunteers from across the board. The articles are short, snappy and always teach you something new.
Charity Sector Comms
Kirsty Marrins is a charity communications professional whose personal blog, Charity Sector Comms, is a great insight into the Third Sector from a person who knows. She posts about topical issues related to charities, digital and strategy. @LondonKirsty
NCVO YouTube Channel
NCVO is The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, so of course their website is bursting with information. However, the NCVO YouTube channel is a particular favourite of mine. There's something much less overwhelming about video when it comes to talking about the slightly heavier stuff like policy and politics.
KnowHow NonProfit is a hub of knowledge and information from NCVO, supported by JustGiving. There are a variety of useful resources including the Knowledge bank, a collection of 'How-to' guides and Study zone. The Study Zone is a collection of online courses delivered by expert trainers, around core topics in the Third Sector - I would highly recommend checking these out alongside your volunteering!
Charity Choice is a charity listings website which is useful for researching organisations. You can access free reports about a specific organisation and their finances, which is useful for understanding the type of charity you're volunteering for. If you don't have a specific charity in mind, you can search by cause and see what is available.
Reason Digital is a social enterprise that provides digital services to projects that do social good. Their 'advice and training' section is split into six areas; get started, make money, inspire action, deliver services, reach people and be efficient. There are loads of cool tech features that are accessible for beginners. @ReasonDigital
The Charity Commission
So if you're starting in charity you're going to need to know about the Charity Commission. They are the most authoritative source of policy information available. It's probably not going to be a fun read, but this is the real nitty gritty of what needs to happen in Charities. I'd recommend The Essential Trustee and Safeguarding Children and Young People for a start.
Doing Good Leeds!
Your local Voluntary Action or CVS will be able to provide the most relevant resources for your area and Doing Good Leeds is an amazing example of this. Browse the website for a breadth of information, follow them on social media or give the lovely people a call!
Emma Bennett is a Management Trustee and Volunteer Coordinator for a Leeds Supplementary School, Charity Blogger, and a former researcher & administrator for Voluntary Action Leeds and Young Lives Leeds. Emma is extremely passionate about volunteering, young people and mental health and has worked extensively on a wide variety of Third Sector projects. She writes and works in digital for High Speed Training, who provide online safeguarding and personal development courses. @emm_benn