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Working from home has become increasingly common in recent years. The trend massively accelerated with the Covid-19 pandemic. However, many people still want an exciting and fulfilling career.
Do you want to get a job for an NGO but also want to work from home? Do you already work for an NGO but want to transition to a remote working role? If so, we’ve put together this full guide that breaks down the most common NGO jobs that let you work from home, how to get them, and which NGOs are most likely to let you work away from the office.
Can You Work For An NGO From Home?
Many people want to work for Non-Government Organizations (NGO). Having a job where your focus is helping people in need is incredibly rewarding. NGOs also offer exciting job opportunities and often decent pay. However, many people don’t want to work in an office, or cannot because of family or health reasons. So, can you work for an NGO from home?
Many NGOs have jobs that let you work from home. There are fully remote jobs in many NGOs, however, most have a flexible working arrangements where staff divide their time between office and home working.
The NGO sector has been embracing remote working over recent years. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw million of people forced to work from home, many NGOs were allowing staff to work flexibly.
NGOs general aim for staff to have a good work-life balance. They feel that staff work better when they are allowed a degree of freedom. They also understand that people have commitments, like family or medical appointments, that mean they need to work away from the office.
Many NGOs see creating a quality working life for their staff a key part of their ethos.
Another reason many NGOs are happy to let their employees work from home is because they are accustomed to operating with staff in many locations. Most NGOs have international programmes, often across many continents. They regularly have teams working together across different locations and have adapted their ways or working to suit having staff not all in the same office.
NGOs focus heavily on cost effectiveness. They want to maximize the money they raise for their programmes and for directly helping people in need. This means many NGOs are happy to have staff work from home as it allows them to reduce their office costs.
What NGOs Jobs Can You Do From Home?
Although NGOs have generally embraced remote working, and you definitely find jobs in the NGO sector where you can work entirely from home, as well hybrid working roles, realistically, not every job in an NGO is remote.
Below are some of the most common NGO jobs where you can work from home, broken into different categories:
Business Development Officer
|Communications||Social Media Officer|
Digital Marketing Manager
Community Engagement Officer
Proposal Development Consultant
Strategy Development Consultant
|Deployable Emergency Staff||Team Leader|
Head of Mission
Emergency Response Manager
|Programmes Support||Programme Officer|
Operations Support Officer
These are just a few examples of types of NGO jobs that you can do from home. If you are looking to get a job with an NGO and want to work away from the office, these are a few areas you can specifically target that are more likely to have remote working roles.
One of the main areas of the NGO sector you will find remote working jobs in is grants. NGOs receive funding grants from donors for specific projects. Grants jobs such Proposal Writer, Reporting Officer, Business Development Officer and Grants Manager can often be done remotely. These positions all involve coordinating between different teams, often in different countries, and so working from home is often not a problem.
Another area of the NGO sector where you will find many jobs that let you work away from the office is in communications. The comms department of an NGO focuses on its external messaging, including supporting fundraising and liaising with the media. Many comms jobs, such as Social Media Officer or Communications Manager can be done remotely.
Fundraising is another part of the NGO sector where there are often remote jobs. Fundraising roles are rarely entirely remote, as often teams must get together for workshops or events, but often fundraising jobs are a mixture of office and home working.
Many NGOs hire consultants for specific jobs. Consultants usually charge a daily rate and have a set brief that is agreed on at the beginning of their contracts. NGO consultants often work remotely. They are given a degree of freedom as they are not formal employees of the NGOs and are hired to achieve a set objective. You can often work from anywhere in the world as a consultant in the NGO sector.
Deployable Emergency Staff
NGOs often have a roster of staff that they retain to deploy at short notice into new emergencies. These staff usually work from home between missions. Although these jobs are not entirely remote, you can spend significant amounts of time at your home base whilst preparing for your next emergency deployment.
A final area of the NGO sector that has many remote jobs is in programme support. These roles, often based at HQ, support an NGO’s field operations. Programme support roles in the NGO sector are often not entirely remote, but you can usually negotiate to work some days in the office and some day from home each week.
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.
Getting An NGO Job Where You Work From Home
So, we now know that many NGOs are happy to have staff work from home, and that there are certain jobs in the NGO sector that are more commonly remote roles. But how do you get yourself a job where you can work away from the office for an NGO?
There are really two ways to get an NGO job where you can work from home. The first is to apply for jobs within NGOs that are advertised as remote positions. The second is to take a job within an NGO and then negotiate home working.
If you definitely want a remote job with an NGO, you are best to apply for jobs that are advertised as being remote. There are less of these in the sector as most NGOs either want staff in the office or staff doing hybrid working. However, there are roles regularly advertised by NGOs that are either remote, or where you can choose the location you work.
If you apply for a job advertised as being remote, you should not need to discuss extensively with the NGO in order to work from home. They will be expecting whoever the successful candidate is to be working away from the office. Again, if you are sure you only want to work from home, we advise to only apply for roles with NGOs that are advertised as being fully remote.
The second option for getting a work from home job for an NGO is to negotiate your remote working. To do this you could either get a job with an NGO that is a mixture of office and home working, and then discuss with your manager to increase the amount of time you are working away from the office. Alternately, you could get a job for an NGO that’s entirely office-based, and then request to work a few days a week from home.
If an NGO has advertised a role and not included that it is remote or hybrid-working, there is no guarantee they will let you work from home. If you take an office-based NGO job, you can try negotiating remote working, but do not be disappointed if they say no, as the role was never announced as a remote position.
It is advisable to spend some time in your job within an NGO before discussing remote working with your manager. You should prove yourself a good and capable worker, who is a valuable to the team, can be trusted and is able to take the initiative. These the attributes many managers will look for when approving home working.
Finally, check if your NGO has a policy on remote working. This is usually included in the HR guidelines or the conditions of employment handbook. Some NGOs include in their staff regulations that after a set period of time employees can begin working from home. Others include that all staff must attend the office and working from home is not possible.
Which NGOs Let You Work From Home?
Most NGOs have some staff who work remotely. Many NGOs also have staff work some days in the office and some from home. The number of NGOs allowing staff to work from home has increased significantly since the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is not a set list of NGOs that allow home working. However, there are a few things to look for when trying to find an NGO job where you can work away from the office. These include:
- Size of the NGO
- NGOs that advertise remote positions
- Work culture of the NGO
As we said, there is not set criteria you should follow when looking for an NGO that will let you work from home. However, many large NGOs now let staff work remotely, even if its only for a few days a week.
Size of The NGO
Large NGOs are complex organizations. They need a degree of flexibility in their working in order to be effective. This means they are likely to let staff work from home. Large NGOs also compete for the top talent in the industry. As working away from the office has become more popular, NGO’s that want to attract, and retain, experienced staff, need to reward them with good working conditions.
NGOs That Advertise Remote Positions
If an NGO advertises remote positions, especially if they have many roles that work away from the office, they are obviously an organization equipped for home working. Even if you get a job with an NGO that does not allow home working, if they have many other roles that are remote, it will be easier to negotiate a home working arrangement once you are established in your job.
Work Culture of The NGO
Finally, the work culture of an NGO is very important when determining if they will let you work remotely. Some NGOs top the list of ‘best employers’ or do well in surveys on employee satisfaction. These types of lists are often published in newspapers or online. You can also ask friends or colleagues which NGOs they have worked for that have valued their employees work-life balance and had a good working culture.
If you want more information on how to work for an NGO, explore our list of the top NGO online courses here.