January 24, 2023, by aoyab1

Why You Should Attend Talks: Spotlight on Charities and NGOs

By Alice Bennett, Politics and International Relations student blogger

At the beginning of the year, my course convenor told us that our master’s year would be one of the most important years of our lives and that it is essential that we make the most of the opportunities at university that won’t be available once you graduate. He stressed the importance of attending as many talks and events as we possibly can.

I took this on board and have since attended a number of talks which have both enabled me to explore my interests and listen to interesting people and their experiences and also helped me choose how to progress in my career path – inspiring me to look into the Charity and NGO (non-governmental organisation) sector.

Exploring your interests: a starting point

At the beginning of the year, I attended a talk held by charity Azadi; a survivor-led charity supporting survivors of human trafficking. The subject matter was of interest to me, particularly the aspect of it being survivor-focused, long-term. The speaker was very engaging and went purely for my own interests, but left wanting to find out more about the charity sector.

Spotlight on Charity and NGOs

As a non-STEM student, the prospect of graduating is often daunting, especially because with courses like mine that are non-vocational, a career path is not always clear. This talk provided some relief and gave me options.

Here are some of the things I learned from the talk:

There are more roles than you think

From fundraising and philanthropy to communications and marketing, the charity sector has a much wider variety of roles than I expected. This means that people with a variety of backgrounds and qualifications can apply to work for a charity or NGO.


The main appeal of the charity sector, for me, is the fact that I would be contributing to an organisation that helps those in need. It was inspiring to hear the guest speakers talk about how they were making a difference.


Another theme that many speakers emphasised was that, often, there are many instances in which they have had to learn new skills and take on other jobs, meaning that there is plenty of skill development opportunities.


A great way to show your interest in the charity sector is to simply volunteer- this can be as flexible as you like, and you can even start by volunteering at a charity shop.

Different types of organisations

I was surprised to learn that there were also similar fundraising roles in the cultural and arts sectors- with one of the speakers being a philanthropy manager for the Royal Opera House.

Attending talks like these can only help when exploring your options and is ultimately a great way to take advantage of the university’s resources and connections in order to gain insight and perspective. To start looking at the charity and NGO sector, look into charities that interest you or start searching on websites like Charity Jobs.

Find out more about careers in the charity sector.

Posted in Careers AdviceFurther studyStudent Bloggers