Posted by: alexswallow | February 18, 2014

Charityworks- everyone who cares about charities should know it

CW_logo_512x512 (1)I am writing this post because I want more people to know about an amazing organisation called Charityworks. Charityworks is the UK non-profit sector’s graduate programme. I tell so many people about it that I thought I should put something on here so I can more easily share it.

I’m in my second year of mentoring on the Programme and I have also run learning sessions for both the previous and the current cohort. I really think that more people should know about it as it is such a positive thing for our sector and it tackles many of the things that I think our sector lacks.

It’s obviously not their official slogan, but I describe it to people as the ‘Teach First of the charity sector’.

For a more detailed explanation of the Programme, please look at their website. I’d like to give you a flavour of my personal experience of it.

Being a Charityworks mentor is so interesting. I mentioned the importance of both having and being a mentor in a recent career post, and the people on the Charityworks Programme are really rewarding to mentor- bright, intellectually curious and keen to share ideas and ask the tough questions that our sector needs to hear.

Outside of my formal volunteering with Charityworks I have had quite a lot of interactions with the young people on the Programme. A couple of years ago two of them helped me promote Board Diversity in Trustees Week. Last year, one did some amazing research for Young Charity Trustees and others are bringing me into the orbit of their organisations and approaching me as a colleague. The best example I can give is that when last summer Charity Finance Group and the Small Charities Coalition put out a joint report into financial management in small charities the main person driving the work forward was an extraordinarily talented Charityworks participant working in the CFG policy team.

I was interviewed by Charityworks some time ago when I was in my previous job. The ‘Charityworks 360’ blog gives a bit more information from people already on the programme.

Creating alternative power structures and sources of support for young people matters a lot to me. It was one of the reasons that before Charityworks I got involved with UpRising, another Programme I love and that I was also a mentor for two years for. I think the people coming through the Charityworks Programme are going to be such a help to each other. It really matters to me that young people assessing their options become interested in the charity sector at an early age, which is one of the reasons I set up a Charity Careers Group up on Linkedin.

I worked with Rachel Whale, the Founder of Charityworks, on the Dame Mary Marsh Review into skills and leadership in our sector. Rachel helped lead on the work about Routes into and Through the sector. She’s a really inspiring and collaborative leader and I’m proud to know her. Rachel has a small but brilliant team behind her- one of the most impressive members of which is Ned Younger, who came through the Charityworks Programme himself and is definitely one to watch.

One of my proudest moments so far in the charity sector was when I was presented with a gift from the Charityworks team at the end of the graduation ceremony last year. The gift was to recognize my support and passion for the work that they do and I was genuinely stunned that they had thought of me. In my view, their efforts are absolutely essential work if we are to create a modern, vibrant and responsive charity sector that has the biggest possible impact on the world.

This photo is the property of Charityworks

This photo is the property of Charityworks

I am extremely excited about the future of Charityworks. I know they can’t change the sector on their own but with our collective support, I believe they will. We need more young people to know that charities can be a real, fulfilling career option. As for the current cohort and the alumni of the Programme- I’ve picked up so much from them already, I can’t wait to see where they go and the impact they have (and it’s worth me praising them now so when they’re my bosses I’ll already have some brownie points!).

So, how can you get involved with Charityworks? For me, there are 5 main ways

1- Apply- consider applying if you are interested

2- Mentor- good mentors are needed for the Programme and it is expanding year on year

3- Host- a Charityworks participant in your  organisation. If you are not the decision-maker for this please tell them about the Programme and put them in touch with the team that run it

4- Speak- at a training session for Charityworks participants

5-Support- let people know about the Programme, tell graduates who you know who might be interested, support Charityworks on Twitter and do whatever else you can do to spread the word

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /


  1. Great article Alex!:-) I have heard of their great work and am a follower of them on Twitter. I am in the process of applying for the graduate scheme. There is also Vodafones World of difference program!

  2. […] I have already blogged about an amazing organisation, Charityworks, that is blazing a trail in encouraging ambitious young people to join the sector. […]

  3. […] After my recent post about Charityworks and why I love it so much, I am very pleased to be able to share some important research with you, released by the Programme today: […]

  4. […] and I have been both a formal and informal mentor a number of times. I am currently a mentor on the Charityworks Programme and used to be a mentor for […]

  5. […] Yet another thing that makes me think that Charityworks is brilliant. […]

  6. […] at how to encourage graduates to join the charity sector. I have spoken already on this blog about my admiration for Charityworks, which is having a real impact in this area. But this is something that we all really need to think […]

  7. […] I met up with the brilliant current Charityworks cohort to talk to them about my own experience of Trusteeship and to encourage them to consider it […]

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