5 Features You Need to Have to Work in NGOs

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Have you ever considered working in non-governmental organizations?

If your answer is no, you should start thinking as there are many opportunities for meaningful careers in many areas of the civil society sector. Non-governmental organizations offer you a purpose as they work towards several significant topics and needs such as hunger, access to health services, education, human rights, animal rights, environmental problems and democratic goals.

Back then, people used to find themselves working in non-governmental organizations, somehow far from their conscious choices. But this has changed. In fact, the number of employees has steadily increased over the past 10 years. Today, there are more than 10 million NGOs world-wide. If all NGOs unite as a country, it would be the 5th largest economy in the world among 193 countries. Yes, bigger than United Kingdom, France or Italy.

After these figures, it may seem that civil society organizations are desperately trying to hire job seekers and can almost hire anyone to fill the empty seats, but that is not the case. These organizations have to make very careful decisions when hiring, as they face many different challenges, from lack of resources to sustainability, as opposed to profit-making competitors. And successful and influential NGOs hire staff with a wide range of major skills, such as the ability to see the big picture from their daily communication skills. These core capabilities provide civil society managers and executive managers with the ability to maneuver against the challenges they face. Those seeking a opportunities in an intermediate NGO job should better have experience in finding and protecting donors, capital development, campaign management and strategic planning.

Since non-governmental organizations generally have a limited staff capacity, number of salaried employees should not exceed the budget. So NGOs are willing employ candidates who are skilled and ready to work in different tasks. Here are 5 main features that NGOs are looking for:


Regardless of position, communication skills are very important. Communication is not only established among colleagues, but also with external organizations such as current and potential donors, associations, government offices and companies. Poor quality written communication can make the organization look bad and cause them to lose the essential capital resources. For example, a request for a poorly written donation will probably be rejected.

In addition to being able to communicate professionally, there is another important feature for non-governmental organizations: storytelling. It could be a story about a dog who has a palate surgery, traveling from a temporary shelter to a little girl who will be its family forever. The story should encourage the donors put their hands into pocket.


Campaign management, event planning, administration, donation offers and management, gift tracking and financial reporting is an important feature in addition to a wide range of responsibilities. If the organizer of a donation campaign forgets that donor X and donor Y should not sit side by side, both donors may leave the event.

Building New Relations

Although there are some non-governmental organizations funded by grants, most NGOs need donations for their economic needs and promises. These donations come from the sincere relationships that an organization has with a donor. This is especially important for large donations. These relationships are established over time. In some cases, it takes years for a donor to make a significant contribution. Even some donors make the biggest donation after they die.

Besides direct donations, a good network is also the cornerstone of community partnerships and company sponsorships, and non-governmental organizations rely heavily on it for programming and supporting all of its tasks. In short, everything is focused on building relationships with people sitting on the other side of the table. This includes remembering birthdays, allergies or their favorite food, providing requested information, or checking how a vacation goes. This part of the job also requires organizing.


More and more NGOs are looking for employees who show flexibility because it is an indication of their adaptability. Since many non-profit organizations have limited resources that require their employees to take part in different tasks, flexibility is a key aspect and must-have feature. Contrary to the profit making company logic, in which employees are often isolated, in civil society organizations, due to their limited budgets, everyone stick their neck out and do what they need to do.


NGOs face different challenges such as sustainability, maintenance and growth of the donor database, and limited resources. Thus, creativity is a treasure for these organizations. Whenever an employee finds a resource-saving solution, it allows the organization to allocate these resources to other goals. This will not only benefit the beneficiaries, but will also mean that the organization can cut costs, which is attractive to potential donors.

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