This page contains affiliate links. This means if you a follow a link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you, Humanitarian Careers will receive a commission. Thank you for supporting the site.
NGOs have a wide range of administrative needs. This means there are many jobs in the NGO sector for people qualified in administration and for those wanting to begin a career in admin management. Within an NGO, admin staff are responsible for the smooth running of administrative processes and ensuring the NGOs programmes receive the admin support they need.
If you are looking to join the NGO sector in an administrative role, check-out of break-down of the most common NGO admin jobs. We’ve also included an overview of what you need to apply for each role.
The role of Admin Coordinator is the most senior administrative role in an NGO. They are responsible for overseeing the implementation of administrative processes. In most NGOs the Admin Coordinator also has oversight of financial management and human resource management.
The Admin Coordinator will report to the Country Director or Head of Support Services. They will manage the admin team, often directly line-managing the Finance, Admin and HR Officers. They will indirectly report to HQ regarding finance, admin and HR.
How to Apply
If you’re looking to get a job as an Admin Coordinator in an NGO you should have up to five years’ experience working in similar roles. You should also have a relevant qualification, ideally a master’s degree in finance, HR or business administration. Most NGO’s will look for some field experience when hiring for the position of Admin Coordinator.
The job of Admin Officer is the mid-level position within an NGOs administration department. They are responsible for day-to-day admin tasks and ensuring the smooth running of the NGO in relation to administration. The Admin Officer is usually line-managed either by the Admin Coordinator or Finance Manager.
In most NGOs, the Admin Officer is either part of the admin team – covering admin, HR and finance, or part of the finance or HR teams. Some NGOs combine the role of Admin Officer with other functions. Only larger NGOs will have a dedicated Admin Officer in their staff.
How to Apply
If you want to apply for jobs as an Admin Officer in the NGO sector, focus on building administration skills relevant to the position. NGOs will definitely preference applicants with previous experience in the sector, however private and public sector experience may also be beneficial. A relevant degree, ideally to master’s level, would also be advantageous.
HR – Admin Officer
In some smaller NGOs, or smaller missions, the Admin and HR Officer roles are combined as the HR-Admin Officer. This job is responsible for the regular implementation of both human resources and admin processes. Many NGOs see a cross-over in these two functions and so have one role covering both areas.
The HR-Admin Officer is usually line-managed by the Admin Coordinator. They can also be line-managed by the HR Coordinator. They often have direct management over the HR or Admin Assistants. HR-Admin Officers are usually based at Country Officer or HQ-level, rather than within field bases.
How to Apply
If you want to apply for jobs as a HR-Admin Officer within an NGO, try and get some years’ experience in either human resource management or business administration. NGOs will prioritize recruiting staff with previous experience working in the non-profit sector. A relevant degree will help you, as well will any a relevant trainings you can do.
One of more junior admin jobs within the NGO sector is the role of Project Assistant. Usually dedicated to a specific programme, the job of the Project Assistant is to provide a range of administrative support to the programmes team. This can include record keeping, report writing, minute taking and arranging travel and movements.
Across the NGO sector, the tasks for the Project Assistant changes. The specifics of the Project Assistants job is determined by the actual needs of the NGO’s programmes. The Project Assistant often reports to the Project Officer or Programme Manager.
How to Apply
Project Assistant jobs within the NGO sector are entry-level. You do not need extensive previous experience to apply. However, the NGO sector is competitive. Completing an internship or having relevant project support or administration experience will help you. A relevant masters in NGO management, humanitarian or development work will also assist your application.
NGO Administration Online Courses
If you’re looking to work for an NGO in an Administration role, we highly recommend the online course Improving Leadership and Governance in Non-profit Organizations offered by the University of Buffalo, New York. This course shows how effective governance processes, and admin implementation, can be vital to an NGO’s success. Click the link for more information on the course.
Another fantastic online course for those wanting to take an administrative position with an NGO is the Complete Finance Manager Course. It covers the basics of key admin processes all NGOs need, including financial management, accounting, budgeting, and administrative systems. It would be a great addition to the CV of anyone applying for admin jobs within NGOs. The link is to the course’s page.
If you’re looking to gain the skills needed to get an admin job with an NGO, take the Become an Admin and Office Manager online short course. It covers all the key administrative areas NGOs need to function effectively. Follow the link to the course’s page for more information.
NGO staff travel frequently. They also often travel to hard-to-reach destinations. Large NGOs will employ a Travel Administrator. Their job is to make travel arrangements for NGO staff. This includes booking flights, arranging visas, making accommodation arrangements and assisting with pre-departure health checks.
With sometimes hundreds of staff moving around the world, the job of Travel Administrator is key to the smooth running of many large NGOs. In smaller NGOs, the tasks of arranging travel often comes under the Admin or HR Assistants. Very large NGOs have a dedicated team to deploying staff, especially into emergency contexts.
How to Apply
NGOs look for a combination of previous experience making complex travel arrangements and a strong understanding of how NGO staff move around the world, when hiring a travel administrator. Previous NGO sector experience booking travel is highly sought after. Previous experience in the private sector in a travel related role can also be good.
Finance – Admin Officer
The role of Finance-Admin Officer combines both finance and admin functions into a single role. In some NGOs, the Finance-Admin Officer will also be responsible for human resources. Finance-Admin Officers are often stationed at field-bases where there is less need for dedicated HR and admin staff.
If stationed at a field-base, the Finance-Admin Officer is usually line-managed by the Field Coordinator. If stationed at the country office or HQ, they are usually managed by Finance Coordinator or Admin Coordinator.
How to Apply
To become a Finance-Admin Officer for an NGO you will need a strong understanding of finance, admin and HR. Formal qualifications in one of these areas would assist your application. You will also need some years’ experience in the NGO sector.
The job of Logistics-Admin Coordinator covers both logistics and administration functions. The role is often in-place in smaller NGOs or on smaller missions. The Logistics-Admin Coordinator is responsible for ensuring the effective implementation of logistics processes, whilst also covering administration work. In some NGOs, the Logistics-Admin Coordinator is also responsible for financial management.
The Logistics-Admin Coordinator is line-managed by the Country Director or Head of Mission. They will usually manage the Finance, Admin or Logistics Officers. They are usually based in the country office but travel frequently to field bases.
How to Apply
If you are applying for jobs as a Logistics-Admin Coordinator in an NGO, you should have several years’ experience in NGO logistics and admin management. NGOs will often look for people with significant field experience. A strong understanding of the technical aspects of humanitarian logistics will definitely be needed. Formal qualifications, including a relevant masters, will help your application.
The job of Admin Assistant is the entry-level position within the admin team in an NGO. They are responsible for providing a range of support to the admin team. Their specific tasks are determined by the administration needs of the NGO, but could include assisting with finance, HR and/or administration depending on the NGO’s structure.
The Admin Assistant is often line-managed by the Admin Officer. They can also be managed by the HR Officer or the Finance Officer. They often provide support across multiple functions and also often provide assistants to other teams in the NGO as well, such as making travel bookings, processing invoices and paying expenses.
How to Apply
If you are looking to start a career in the NGO sector in an admin role, apply for Admin Assistant positions. As an entry-level job most NGOs do not look for much prior experience when recruiting Admin Assistants. However, recruitment will be competitive so having an internship or some relevant experience would help. A relevant master’s degree will also show your dedication to working in the NGO sector.
Senior members of staff at an NGO may have a Personal Assistant. The job of the Personal Assistant is to provide administrative support to director-level staff. This can include responding to emails, making travel arrangements, taking minutes and coordinating meetings. The exact duties of the Personal Assistant will be determined by the senior staff’s needs.
Few staff within NGOs have Personal Assistants. Some smaller NGOs will not have the role. In medium and some large NGOs only the directors of major teams have direct assistants. It’s also possible that the Personal Assistants role provides support to multiple senior-level staff.
How to Apply
If you want to work in the NGO sector in administrative roles, getting a job as a Personal Assistant can be a great entry-point. NGOs look for candidates with a proven track-record of providing affective administrative support to senior staff. Previous experience in the non-profit sector would be a plus, but private and public sector experience will also definitely be considered.
Head of Support Services
The Head of Support Services is a senior-level administrative position within an NGO. Support services within the NGO sector cover finance, HR, logistics and admin. The job of Head of Support Services is to have final oversight of all functions that support the implementation of the NGO’s programmes.
In most NGOs, the Head of Support Services reports to the Country Director. They line-manage the logistics, admin, finance and HR coordinators. The Head of Support Services must ensure the smooth running of all support areas, including having oversight of administration and ensuring front-line staff are supported in their admin needs.
How to Apply
The job of Head of Support Services is a senior management role in the NGO sector. To apply, you will need more than six years progressive professional experience related to NGO logistics, finance, HR and admin. NGO’s will specifically look for candidates with extensive field experience. A related masters in one of the main support areas in the NGO sector will also help your application.
The Team Coordinator within an NGO is responsible for providing administrative support to a specific team. This can include a range of tasks including arranging meetings, booking travel, taking minutes, handling petty cash and paying invoices. The Team Coordinator is often an entry-level role in many NGOs.
Different NGOs have different structures for Team Coordinators – in some they report directly to the senior-management level staff of the team. In others the Team Coordinator reports to the Project Officer or Admin Manager.
How to Apply
If you want to start a career working for NGOs then applying for Team Coordinator positions is a good start. They are considered entry-level jobs in the sector and so require minimal previous experience. Completing an internship will assist your application, but it is not entirely necessary. A relevant degree, ideally to master’s level, in NGO management, humanitarian work or international development will show your commitment to working in NGOs.
If you want to learn more about how to get a job at an NGO, including in an administrative role, explore our list of the top NGO online courses here.