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There are literally thousands of NGOs in the world. Many countries have thriving NGO sectors with small and grass-roots organisations doing great work. There are also many large international organisations that have a global presence. With so many NGOs, it can be hard to know where to apply for jobs. That’s why we’ve put together a breakdown of some of the NGOs in world widely considered as some of the best to work for.
Médecins Sans Frontières
Médecins San Frontières (MSF) is one of the best NGOs to work for. MSF are renowned for their frontline medical work in disaster zones and areas of conflict. Working in 70 countries, MSF are one of the top NGOs running health projects. MSF are known for working in places many NGOs do not, and this makes them one of the top NGOs to work for.
MSF is one of the most famous NGOs in the world. Since its founding in 1971, MSF has built a reputation for providing medical care to people in need, especially those hit by natural disasters, forced to flee their homes or in war zones. MSF is one of the best NGOs to work for due to their good reputation and quality interventions.
How to Apply
If you want to work for MSF, you can apply for either medical or support roles. If you are a qualified medical professional, especially with experience in trauma medicine, public health or tropical diseases, MSF are likely to bring you on board. To work in a support role for MSF, you are likely to need some experience working internationally in the NGO sector, especially in insecure environments.
BRAC – originally known as the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, is the largest NGO is the world. It is also one of the best to work for. With enormous projects in Bangladesh, as well as programmes in countries such as Afghanistan, Liberia, Myanmar, and Rwanda, BRAC focuses on empowering communities to improve their lives. BRAC is known for its innovative approach to development work and the lasting impact it has had in Bangladesh and around the world.
Focusing on programmes including social enterprise, rural development, education, and water and sanitation, BRAC is especially good to work for if you are interested in these areas. Their long history, and proven ability to produce sustainable results, means BRAC is highly regarding in the NGO sector. This is another reason why it is one of the best NGOs to work for.
How to Apply
With nearly 100,000 employees worldwide, there are literally thousands of jobs at BRAC. If you are interested in working for the NGO, a background in social development, microfinance or women’s empowerment would be an asset. However, those experienced working in NGO finance, logistics, human resources, and administration are also extensively recruited for in an NGO as large as BRAC.
Danish Refugee Council
The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is one of the largest NGOs in the world working with displaced people. They are also one of the top NGOs to work for if you want to work helping people who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, disasters or persecution.
Within the NGO sector, DRC is considered one of the best NGOs to get a job with. They are known for their innovative programmes as well as the scale of their response. With projects focusing on protection, education, economic recovery, peacebuilding, camp coordination and shelter, DRC is one of the leading NGOs in the world. They are also known as one of the highest paying NGOs – another reason why they are one of the best to work for.
How to Apply
If you are looking to get a job with the Danish Refugee Council, consider developing an expertise in refugee and migration issues. DRC also often recruits for positions of project coordinator, as well as technical roles related to protection, shelter and camp coordination and camp management.
CARE International is an American NGO founded in 1945. They work in 104 countries and have projects focusing on humanitarian emergency response and poverty reduction. If you are looking to work for one of the best NGOs in the world, consider applying for jobs at CARE. They are known for their well-funded programmes and ability to run effective humanitarian responses.
With decades of experience and a yearly budget of around 582 million dollars, CARE International is one of the leading NGOs in the world. They are highly regarded within the NGO sector and are seen as one of the top organisations to work for.
How to Apply
Experience working in healthcare, food security, or poverty reduction will help you get a job at CARE International. Previous experience in the NGO sector, especially in management or grant positions, will also be beneficial. As one of the best NGOs to work for, previous work with other NGOs will increase your chances of getting a job at CARE International.
NGO Online Courses
If you are looking to work for an NGO, we highly recommend the online course International Humanitarian and Development Careers. We think it provides one of the best overviews of the NGO sector and gives a clear breakdown of the skills needed to get an NGO job. It also provides valuable information on how to successfully apply for positions within NGOs. Click the link to be taken to the course’s page.
We also think the online course Introduction to NGO Management is a must for anyone wanting to work for an NGO. It goes over how NGOs operate and introduces students to the unique aspects of the NGO sector they will need to know in order to land a job. Follow the link for more information.
Another online course we highly recommend for those wanting to join the NGO sector is How To Design and Fund International Development NGO Projects. Anyone working for an NGO needs a basic understanding of how NGO projects are set-up, and how to input to funding proposals. This course is a must for those wanting to work for an NGO. Click the link to get more information on the course.
Save the Children
Save the Children is one of the world’s leading NGOs working with young people affected by conflicts and disasters or living in poverty. They are one of the most important NGOs in the world and widely considered one of the best to work for. If you are interested in working for an NGO and with young people, consider applying for roles with Save the Children.
With projects in over 100 countries, Save the Children is one of the largest NGOs in the world. They are also known for the internal mobility of their staff and the range of options open to them to work in different projects around the world. This is a major reason why they are good to work for. Save the Children are also among the higher paying NGOs in the sector, a further reason why they are one of the best to get a job with.
How to Apply
Save the Children employees over 24,000 people and there are literally hundreds of different jobs within the NGO. A background in child protection will help you get a job with them. Save the Children also works in areas such as education and nutrition, so a technical background in these would also be an asset. As a large NGO, Save the Children will also often recruit supply chain specialists, and those qualified in NGO finance, HR, and management.
Médecins Du Monde
Médecins du Monde (MdM) was founded in 1980 and is one of the world’s leading medical NGOs. MdM runs projects focusing on improving access to quality healthcare for people who may otherwise be excluded. This can include refugees and migrants, drug users, sex workers or homosexual people. MdMs unique focus makes it one of the best regarded NGOs and one of the top ones to work for.
MdM has projects in over 80 countries. As well as emergency responses in countries such as Iraq, Yemen, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, MdM runs long-term development projects in many countries other NGOs do not. With long histories working in countries such as Russia, Bulgaria, and Egypt, MdM is highly respected within the NGO sector. If you want to work for one of the best NGOs in world, consider roles with MdM.
How to Apply
As a medical NGO, MdM will regularly recruit people with a healthcare background. Experience working in emergency settings, or on development projects, will be an asset. MdM also often recruits for Head of Mission, Logistics, HR, and Finance roles.
War Child is the leading NGO in the world helping children who have been recruited into armed groups. They are highly respected within the NGO sector and considered one of the best organisations to work for. With headquarters around the world, including in the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands, War Child has a global presence. The NGO works in 15 countries. They are highly specialised in their work and help thousands of children escape conflict.
Working in difficult areas with extremely vulnerable children, War Child’s work is challenging. However, there proven track record of running successful projects reintegrating child soldiers into communities means they are very well respected. A career at War Child is highly sought after and they are often seen as one of the top NGOs to get a job with.
How to Apply
If you have a background in child protection, consider applying for jobs with War Child. As the NGO often partners with local organisations, experience in partnership building and grants managements is also often highly sought after by War Child.
International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) was founded in 1933 by Albert Einstein. It is one of the world’s leading NGOs assisting displaced people. With extensive projects across the US, as well as in 40 countries, IRC is often seen as one of the top NGOs to work for. The scale of the organisation, combined with their track record of quality humanitarian interventions, makes them one of the best NGOs in the world.
Combining emergency responses to rapidly developing crises, with long-term assistance to displaced people, IRC is highly regarded within the NGO sector. IRC are also known for their good pay, and the internal mobility – further reasons why they are one of the best NGOs to work for.
How to Apply
As one of the top NGOs working with refugees and migrants, if you want to work for IRC consider building an expertise in human displacement. As one of the biggest NGOs in the world, IRC also often recruit for support roles, such as in finance, logistics, supply chain management and human resources. Many jobs at IRC require several years of experience, so perhaps consider working for a small NGO before applying for roles with IRC.
Mercy Corps is an American NGO with headquarters in Portland, Oregon. With projects in more than 40 countries, it is one of the top NGOs in the world. Mercy Corps are known for their innovative programming and work focusing on agriculture, cash transfers, youth and climate change. Within the NGO sector, Mercy Corps are seen as one of the best organisations to work for.
Founded in 1979, Mercy Corps is one of the leading actors in many humanitarian emergency responses. Mercy Corps are known for bringing a fresh approach to humanitarian interventions and working to challenge outdated conventions in the sector. Mercy Corps are also known for paying their staff well – a further reason why they are one of the best NGOs to get a job with.
How to Apply
If you are interested in working for Mercy Corps, consider developing an expertise in emergency response, food security or gender empowerment. As one of the largest NGOs, many roles at Mercy Corps require previous experience in the sector. Consider working for a smaller NGO to build experience before applying for more senior roles with Mercy Corps.
Amnesty International is one of the world’s top human rights NGOs. With over 10 million supporters around the world, Amnesty International campaigns on issues of human rights including illegal detention, capital punishment and torture. If you are interested in human rights, or want to work for a major advocacy NGO, Amnesty International is one of the best to work for.
Founded in 1961, Amnesty International is one of the most famous NGOs in the world. It won the Noble Peace Prize in 1977. Amnesty International is known for its effective efforts to promote human rights. The organisation is widely respected globally. Amnesty International is one of the top campaigning NGOs to get a job with.
How to Apply
There are a wide range of jobs available at Amnesty International. Those interested in running campaigns should be able to prove their previous experience in community mobilisation, advocacy, or communications. Those interested in working in administrative and support roles would likely need prior experience in a similar position.
Sight Savers is a UK NGO working towards ending preventable blindness in many developing countries. They are known for their powerful work and significant impact. Each year they help hundreds of thousands of people who would potentially go blind without their assistance. Sight Savers is highly respected within the NGO sector and is seen as one of the best organisations to work for.
If you are looking to have a direct impact on peoples lives and see for yourself how small acts can have a massive transformation, consider joining Sight Savers. With projects in over 30 countries, Sight Savers is a medium sized NGO. However, their great work and support given to their employees means they are a top NGO to get a job with.
How to Apply
There are many roles with Sight Savers focusing on the technical medical areas related to eyesight. However, there are also support roles in their UK HQ and in their field missions. If you are interested in working for Sight Savers in a non-medical role, they often recruit for project management positions.
Open Society Foundation
The Open Society Foundation is an NGO that provides grants to grassroots organisations around the world. There aim is to promote open media, civil society, global justice, education, and public health. They have branches in 37 countries. The Open Society Foundation is widely respected for it’s work and seen as one of the top NGOs to work for.
The work done by the Open Society Foundation aims to promote democracy and political discourse. It funds a wide range of organisations and is seen as a key NGO working against closed political systems. As an NGO famous around the world for it’s good work, the Open Society Foundation is considered one of the best NGOs.
How to Apply
As a grant making organisation, if you want to work for the Open Society Foundation, consider developing experience in grants management. There are also a wide range of project management and monitoring and evaluation jobs at the Open Society Foundation, as well as management and administrative roles.
Action Against Hunger
Action Against Hunger is one of the leading NGOs in the world working to assist those affected by food insecurity. However, alongside a focus on famine relief, Action Against Hunger also works with communities affected by crises to provide healthcare and gender empowerment. Combining these different needs makes Action Against Hunger a unique NGO and one of the best in the sector to work for.
With headquarters in Paris, UK, France, the US, Canada, and Spain, Action Against Hunger is one of the top NGOs in the world. They work in countries and assist over 50 people a year. Action Against Hunger are highly respected for their work in both humanitarian emergency and in chronic crises. If you want to work for one of the top NGOs in the world, apply for jobs with Action Against Hunger.
How to Apply
Often recruiting technical roles in food security, healthcare, and gender empowerment, having an expertise in any of these areas will help you get a job with Action Against Hunger. They also often recruit support roles and management positions, so experience working in coordination, logistics, HR, or finance would also be beneficial.
If you want more information on how to work for an NGO, explore our list of the top NGO online courses here.