Working for NGOs

October 22, 2014 by Curtin CEL Team

Working for NGOs

Many Social Sciences students will pursue careers with Non-Government Organisations. And the best way to start on this path, is to volunteer.

Volunteering will help you to gain an understanding of the organisation, confirm if you in fact do want to pursue a career with them, build contacts and develop the skills needed to work in the organisation. To secure a paid position with the company of your choice, keep an eye on the types of positions they are advertising and the skills they are seeking and use this info to work on your skills gaps. The article NGO Careers: How to Get a Job in an NGO by US online initiative, Funds for NGOs, provides some insight into the dedication needed to go in this direction.

NGOs in Australia

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides a list of accredited non-government organisationsThe Australian Council for International Development also hosts a jobs board to allow you to explore the types of positions they have on offer and where.

For other NGOs and Non-for-Profits operating in Australia and volunteering opportunities see the list below:

Amnesty International
Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people campaigning to protect human rights. Visit Amnesty Volunteering

Australian for Native Title and Reconciliation
ANTaR is a national advocacy organisation dedicated specifically to the rights – and overcoming the disadvantage – of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They do this primarily through lobbying, public campaigns and advocacy. Volunteer Opportunities

Australian Human Rights Commission
The Commission is committed to leading the promotion and protection of human rights in Australia.

Australian Red Cross
Australian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement (the International Movement) with millions of members and volunteers operating in over 188 countries. Volunteer Opportunities

Australian Volunteers for International Development
The Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program is an Australian Government initiative. The program offers a range of opportunities for the Australian community to share skills and foster linkages with people and organisations in developing countries to make a difference as part of Australia’s overseas aid program.

Centre for Advocacy, Support and Education for Refugees
CASE for Refugees is a specialist refugee and immigration community legal centre founded in 2002 through the collaboration of legal, social and refugee service organisations based in Western Australia. Become a volunteer

Centrecare is a not-for-profit, community services organisation with over 200 staff delivering more than 80 quality, professional counselling, support, mediation and training services throughout the Perth metropolitan, Goldfields, Esperance and South West regions of Western Australia. Centrecare’s Volunteer Programs

Goodcompany is meeting place for Australian volunteers and community groups. They offer a diverse range of opportunities for both skilled and unskilled volunteering opportunities.

REDR Australia
RedR Australia is a leading humanitarian agency for international emergency relief. We provide skilled people and training to help communities rebuild and recover in times of crisis. Internship Opportunities

Refugee Council for Australia
The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. It has more than 150 organisational and 500 individual members. Internships for Tertiary Students and Volunteering

Right Now
Right Now is a volunteer, not-for-profit media organisation focused on human rights issues in Australia. Volunteer Opportunities

UNICEF works in over 150 countries and territories to promote and protect the rights of children. UNICEF Young Ambassador Program Australia




  • Amy Clark

    Hey, I’m super passionate about getting involved with NGO’s/NFP’s. Seeing as most of them are small organisations and volunteer based, I was wondering if you had any advice on entering the scene as a paid worker — specifically in PR?

    Thanks for your time :)

    • ccec_admin

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for getting in touch, if you’re committed to working with NGO’s/NFP’s, gear as much of your uni work in this direction as possible. Research campaigns/case studies of relevant organisations and focus on gaining an understanding of how to get the most out of a limited budget; fundraising; dealing with sensitive/emotionally fuelled issues; and, reputation and crisis management. If there are organisations that you’re interested in, you should also research these thoroughly – make sure you understand their philosophy, key principles and projects. If you can clearly articulate how you would add value to an organisation in your cover letters and interviews, you’ll make a great impression.

      Also, volunteer everywhere and anywhere you can. If you can get volunteer work with the organisation that you eventually want to work for, even better – demonstrating your passion, building your networks within the organisation and showing how valuable you are is the most effective way to move into paid positions when they become available.

      While you’re at uni, you can get involved with Curtin Volunteers or JCLA, these sorts of programs will often give you the chance to work with organisations developing comms strategies and managing projects.

      Hope this helps, get in touch on (08) 9266 7802 or if you’d like a chat

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