Prepare or beware!

Being prepared for an interview heightens your chances of becoming hired. Follow this list for tips on what to prepare before the interview, and what to do in and after the interview to wow the hiring manager!


How to prepare for a job interview - Charity Careers Scotland

1. Do your research

What does the charity do overall? Do you understand the mission and vision statement? -Where is the charity located? Is there sufficient parking? What is the best form of transportation to get there? -Do you understand what is expected of your role? -Research the financial standing of the charity – this will help you answer the salary question if it arises -Compile a general list of questions from your research

2. Plan your Outfit

Dress professional, as if you were on the first day of the job. If asked to dress ‘business casual’, clarification will help alleviate embarrassment from dressing inappropriately -Strive to be scent free and well groomed -Analyze your chosen outfit for proper fit, stains, strings, holes and wrinkles -Plan to arrive 10 minutes early unless the interviewer states otherwise

3. Plan what to Bring

Multiple copies of your resume -Volunteer list, if available -Portfolio, if necessary -Recommendation letters -Reference list -Pen and notepad, including a folder to hold these items -A list of questions or statements -Important documents, if needed for the application – Drivers License #, SIN Card – who knows, you may be hired on the spot!

4. Plan your Speech

Engage in a mock interview with a friend or yourself -Memorize the best responses by reviewing the questions that would be posed based on the job description. Prepare by acting as if you are a contestant on Jeopardy -Think of how you will genuinely help the charity write them down to share in the interview

5. What to do in the Interview

Greet the interviewer with a confident handshake and warm smile -Control your facial expressions -Maintain great eye contact -Stay professional, do not stray off into personal stories unless asked -Be polite and enthusiastic -Give the employer personal space -Be aware of the non-verbal cues the interviewer may present -No gum -No looking at the time or your phone -Put your phone on silent and away -Be energetic -Don’t let off that you are desperate

6. Plan how to Communicate

Verbalize only positives, careful of being too negative about yourself and others -Filter what you say and think before responding -Advertise your worth -Memorize your qualifications and experiences -Don’t interrupt or over-talk -Listen -Ask for clarification if you do not understand the question -What personality traits do you possess that make you a perfect fit for the job? -Watch the length of your pauses -Don’t use slang words -Do not bring up salary expectations -Ask about the hiring process if it had not been previously indicated

7. After the Interview

Send a thank you email no later than 24 hours after the interview – thank them for inviting you to be interviewed while stating your interest in the role and your qualifications -Reflect on what you did well and what you didn’t do well, write this down -Call if you have had no response for one week


Bruce Tait - How to prepare for an interview

Bruce Tait, is the Founder of Charity Careers Scotland.  During his thirty years as Director of Fundraising and Consultant to a number of Scottish Charities, Bruce worked with all levels of staff and Boards as he helped them grow their annual fundraising revenues. It was his passion for mentoring countless individuals as well as the recruitment and retention of staff for his own company and many of his charity clients that has led to the creation of Charity Careers Scotland.

how to answer the salary question

The question every interviewee dreads usually comes close to the end of an interview.

“So, what is your expected salary range?”

The salary question is often mentioned, as charities need to know if they can afford to pay you before hiring you. The proposed question also answers several other questions – whether you are willing to settle for anything or whether you see your contribution to the charity as worthwhile.

What do you do in this case? Grasp the tips and scenarios below to make sure you receive what you envision.

Tip #1: Do not ask how much you will make before or during the interview. Employers will suspect you are not truly interestedd in the work – just the pay.

Tip #2: Research the salary range of your targeted role within your area. If possible, research the organisation as well – can they go over their budget to include you on their team?

Tip #3: Make yourself stand out with your skills, education and beaming personality. Be honest, are you worth what you think you are worth?

Tip #4: Try to delay answering the question, if possible.

Tip #5: When you are asked, do not mention a lower number than what is the base rate for your role. Employers will either agree on that rate, leaving you happy you have a job but unfulfilled because you are now stuck with a low rate. Or the employer will decline that rate and your employment because they feel you do not value yourself.

Tip #6: Do not name a price that is too high. Unless you are so qualified that a multitude of employers are reaching out to you to work for them… no one will pay you higher than needed, unless you are unmistakeably one of a kind.

Tip #7: When employers do tell you the salary range – do not negotiate the compensation. Instead, ask if there is room for growth in the company.

Tip #8: When asked salary expectations on a job application, do not leave it blank.

Scenario #1:

Interviewer: What are your salary expectations?

You: I am looking for a job that is fitting, yet competitively fair. According to my research, employees in Glasgow are offered a salary of £30,000 in this position. We may agree on a salary together if needed; is there a particular salary you had in mind?

Scenario #2:

Interviewer: What was your previous salary?

You: The role at my previous job was very different from this role. I will be able to provide a more sufficient answer when I know more about what this role entails.

Scenario #3:

Interviewer: Can you give me a numerical range of your previous salary?

You: I would appreciate it if I could keep this private – my current employment arrangement requests that I keep this confidential. OR My current salary is in the range of £___ (provide your current salary as a base and go up another £10K).

Scenario #4:

Interviewer: Unfortunately, my budget does not support the rate you mentioned. Are you willing to accept a salary of £40,000?

I am willing to consider, as I am passionate about the work you do. I am assuming the salary is fair and matches the responsibilities involved?

Having a job that pays you well is motivational – to work hard to keep the job. Having a job that underpays you leads to decreased job satisfaction and productivity, increased stress and over time contributes to an overall nonchalant attitude. In the case of answering the salary question – know your worth and be able to prove it.

Bruce Tait is the creator of Charity Careers Scotland, an affordable easy to use jobs board built specifically for charities and those looking for work in the voluntary sector in Scotland.  He has worked in senior positions in the voluntary sector for over 25 years and has recently been named as a Fellow of the Institute of Fundraising. Over the last 10 years, he has successfully recruited great staff for charities throughout the UK, Ireland in Canada.


A covering letter can make or break your chances of getting shortlisted for your dream job, however, it’s the area that most candidates fall down on. While CVs are carefully considered and crafted, all too often the covering letter is written in haste and half-heartedly. This does not go unnoticed by prospective employers and can result in you being ruled out before they even read your CV. I hope the following top 10 tips will help you get it right and excite the reader rather than get you eliminated.


 While the CV is a factual record of your employment history, the covering letter allows you to give employers an insight into who you are and why you’d be a great asset to their organisation. This is much more personality lead and an opportunity for you to “sell” yourself in a completely different way. Employers need your skills but also want to enjoy working alongside you.


Don’t bullet point the covering letter or do headings, underlined or otherwise. Address the letter with a warm and engaging “Dear Mr/Ms………..” Sign off in the same way, expressing your gratitude to the hiring manager for “taking time out of their busy schedule to read the letter” or for “taking an interest” in your application. Perhaps say at the end that you very much hope to get the opportunity to meet them in person.


Always start with your passion for the work the charity does and your sincere commitment to helping them achieve their goals. If you have a personal motivation for applying e.g. you or a family member directly benefitted from the services, make sure you mention that. It’s amazing (and worrying) when the covering letter doesn’t even mention the charity by name. This is a big black mark against you and if the job has attracted a large number of candidates, you could get rejected on this count alone.


 Allow yourself to inject some personality into this document so the charity can begin to build a profile of who you really are. Be disciplined and professional throughout but don’t be too stiff or formal. That can be off-putting by making you sound cold or pompous. You should aim for a more conversational tone, similar to how you’d interact at interview and, further down the line, with colleagues. Provided it’s well thought through and appropriate, some lightness of tone or humour can work very well e.g. at the end when you’re talking about your hobbies.


 Your CV will only have limited information about your career history. Using the BTA candidate pack and job/person specification as a guide, elaborate on relevant skills and experiences. For example, if the job is for a major donor fundraiser, use one or two paragraphs to give a couple of tangible examples of your success in terms of prospecting, cultivation and stewardship, remembering to include the sums of money generated. If you’re applying for a manager position, talk about how you have motivated your team and led them to achieve or even surpass their goals. If this would be your first manager position, talk about how you’d approach it and the style and techniques you would use.


You aren’t just a sum of your professional career. Many people who’ve succeeded at interview have done so because they have done something exceptional or meaningful in their personal life that makes them ideally suited to the job being advertised. Take this as an example. If you’ve been a volunteer for a charity for a number of years and a Volunteer Co-Ordinator position comes up, you will have a very valuable and empathetic perspective on the job. The covering letter is the ideal place to explain this so make the most of it.


 Your covering letter is the beginning of the interview process. The same rules apply – don’t be long winded or repetitive and give relevant and valuable information only. You should aim to fill no more than two pages, although when it comes to senior roles, the expectation is that you will do 3-4 pages as you will have a broader base of skills and experience, not to mention successes. Remember the goal is to give enough information to get you into the interview room not to provide every cough and splutter of your career history. Selling yourself as a good communicator and then showing a lack of discipline in this area can be catastrophic.


It is apparent to everyone when a candidate does a cut and paste job from a previous application. Not only have we encountered the wrong charity name being used (a dead giveaway) but the covering letter will undoubtedly miss the mark in terms of highlighting your suitability to the specific requirements of the job being applied for. This is a blatantly lazy approach that will give off a very bad signal to the employer about your professionalism and passion for this job, not to mention your attention to detail.


It never ceases to amaze us how often CV s are sent to us riddled with typos, mistakes, wrong names and appalling grammatical errors. This is across the board but is particularly notable when it comes to senior, and even Chief Executives. Use spell check on your laptop and always, always proof read several times. It’s advisable to ask someone you trust to double check before you submit. There is often time to correct the document if these errors are pointed out but it gives a terrible first impression if they are not. Remember, we do the first shortlist for our clients so you need to impress us first and foremost.


Candidates tend to leave it until the last minute to send their CV s and covering letters to us. Sometimes they arrive a minute before the deadline. On occasion, we need to submit the shortlist to the client by the end of the day so this does not give us time to read your covering letter and track you down to recommend any changes. The earlier you get it to us, the more support we can give you. It also gets you on our radar and, possibly, on the shortlist at the very start.

Gender Imbalance in Fundraising

Bruce Tait, Chief Executive of Charity Careers Scotland and Fellow of the Institute of Fundraising talks about Gender Discriminsation in his latest article….

“Gender Discrimination Is Hindering Tech Industry Growth!” That was the headline in February when McKinsey Global Institute reported that women make up only 22% of game developers. The report was presented as a considerable challenge to the gaming industry, with many commentators comparing this statistic to another report showing that as many women as men played games. “A missed opportunity” was the general consensus.

It’s not just the gaming industry. The technology sector in general is dominated by men. Less than one in five engineering or computer degrees go to women. The sector recognises this as a big problem and has recently launched numerous initiatives to interest women in technology and actively encourage them to pursue technology degrees and professions.

In America, celebrities like Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory) promote the idea of getting girls interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). In the UK, organisations like Women Who Code are working on getting women into IT.

Other professions that are female dominated are teaching (only one in eight teachers are men) and childcare (where just 2% of staff are male).

As with STEM, various groups and initiatives have been formed to redress this imbalance through research projects, social media drives, government careers programmes and advertising campaigns.

So if these professions recognise gender imbalance as a serious issue, why doesn’t fundraising?

A “clear and endemic” gender imbalance

On average, UK fundraisers are 78% female. But I don’t see any campaigns to redress this imbalance. I don’t recall a celebrity-led campaign to get more young men to consider a career in legacy fundraising. So why aren’t we looking at a clear and endemic gender imbalance in fundraising as a lost opportunity – not only to develop our profession, but to raise more funds for our causes?

Is the reason for this sectoral shrug of the shoulders perhaps that it doesn’t affect donations? Well, I’m afraid it might. For each of the last nine years, considerably more women than men gave to charity – on average only 70% of men gave, compared to 79% of women. And while it used to be the case that men gave higher-level donations, the last three years have seen a reversal of this and now women give both more frequently, and at a higher level, than men.

People might say that’s because women are naturally more generous. Perhaps, but is that all that’s going on here? As a mature profession, I think we need to dig a little bit deeper than that. Might it be the case that the high proportion of female fundraisers is itself attracting a higher level of female donors?

Inadvertent female-centric fundraising

We know that men and women respond differently to different types of fundraising message. Peter Maple, a philanthropy researcher and visiting lecturer at St. Mary’s University, says:

“A lot of the received wisdom about direct mail within philanthropy, for instance, has it that you write very short, to-the-point letters to men, who ‘want the facts’. Women will be more bothered to read longer things, reacting to human interest stories and engaging far more with the subject. Men and women respond to different things and fundraising appeals inadvertently or not, can play to stereotypically ‘female’ sensibilities, hence more female donors”.

Some charities have definitely understood this and use gender targeting to lower costs and raise more money. The Brooke animal welfare organisation receives three-quarters of its donations from women, and it makes perfect sense for them to involve gender in their fundraising strategy.

Jasvir Kaur, the organisation’s international director of fundraising and communications said:

“Around 75 percent of our donors are women, and anecdotally we know that they have a passion for horses, some from a horseriding background or from riding horses when they were young. Equestrianism is one of the only sports where women outnumber men, almost three to one according to the British Horse Society. So as most of our supporters are women we of course aim to reach them – advertising through women’s magazines, TV programme slots aimed at women, and of course the horse-focused media. It’s really important that we speak to the people who are more likely to want to support us.”

So what might motivate men to give more to charity? According to recent research – it’s other men. University College London and the University of Bristol recently released a study showing that men give more money through fundraising websites after seeing that other men have donated large amounts. Sarah Smith, professor of economics at the University of Bristol, said the research showed that “men had an innate desire to signal that they were the most generous of their peers”.

So doesn’t it stand to reason that if you want more men to give, get male fundraisers to ask them? And do it using messages that are more male focused than most fundraising currently is.

Back in 2015 John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said:

“Charities clearly need to do more to motivate certain groups of society to get involved with charities in their communities, especially younger men. Fundraisers such as Movember and Tough Mudder have gone some way in catching the imagination of this group over the last few years, but there is clearly still some way to go”.

A more gender-balanced fundraising approach

I think part of the answer is to recruit more male fundraisers. Not just for “male-orientated” causes, but for all causes. I think that charities should take this seriously – not just as employers, but in terms of the fundraising opportunities that a more gender-balanced fundraising approach might offer.

So how could more men be attracted to our profession? How do we remove the recruitment barriers that have prevented men from joining our profession? Here are five thoughts from a recruiter’s perspective:

Be more open to bringing in skills from outside the sector. Some charities aren’t particularly keen on attracting people from other sectors – preferring to insist on sectoral experience when, arguably, someone with transferable skills from the public or private sectors might be as good a fit for some fundraising posts. So, because the sector is already gender imbalanced, recruiting exclusively from within it will perpetuate the imbalance.

I’d like to see our professional body take the lead here.The Institute of Fundraising should be doing more work to encourage people to join our profession – through careers centres, universities, working with employers etc. When they do so they should be sure to specifically include careers messages that tell men that working in fundraising is fulfilling, challenging, and offers good career progression. The advice needs to ‘normalise’ male participation in the fundraising profession.

One of the things that makes the voluntary sector so strong is that it has embraced flexible working. Many charities offer term-time working, compressed working, job-sharing, part-time work and home working. As a result charities have been able to tap into the huge talent base of women returning to work after starting a family. It now needs to develop the male equivalent to that approach. For example, might it be helpful to focus on promoting fundraising careers as a ‘second career’ option for older men? Aiming for a workforce that is diverse in age as well as gender could bring additional benefits to the fundraising performance.

Routine recruitment materials should use positive images of men as well as women, and include messages designed specifically to appeal to men as a target group.

We need to try to avoid ‘revolving door syndrome’. Recruitment is only part of the story: the studies on childcare found that, just as women in male-dominated professions experience isolation, pressures and prejudices, men in female-dominated professions like childcare experienced these too. It’s not always easy for a man to find his place as an equal in an all-female team, so do what you can to help him fit in by dealing with any negativity from female colleagues and encouraging open conversations about gender.

Taking ownership of the issue

It’s clear that we will not transform the gender imbalance of the fundraising profession overnight, but I think we need to accept that there is a problem here and turn it into an opportunity by taking ownership of the issue.

And just so that I’m absolutely clear on this, I’m talking about the core of the profession – the community fundraisers, the corporate fundraising officers, the events managers. I’m not talking about our fundraising leaders, the fundraising directors.

Because there is a different problem there. Successive studies show that there are slightly more women than men (51%) in fundraising director roles. But before we start patting ourselves on the back saying there is no glass ceiling for women in fundraising – consider this. If 78% of fundraisers are female, but only 51% of fundraising directors are female – there is a hidden gender imbalance going on there too.

But that’s another article!

Bruce Tait, Chief Executive, Charity Careers Scotland


Great! you’ve got your new funding in place and have an idea about what kind of person you want for the role.  Now you need to craft the perfect job description.

Here are our top tips to help you best present your vacancy and attract the best people.


1. Remember that the job description has a “shelf-life” and it’s not just a document that is used as part of the recruitment process. When someone is in post this document outlines their core activities and may form part of a re-grading or job scoping exercise at a later date. So give it due care and consideration.

2. Include a stand-alone paragraph early in the document that clearly outlines the main purpose of the role – not the tasks, not the responsibilities – the clear and actual reason for the job existing in the first place.

3. Although this is a formal document, try and give it some “personality”.  Choose language, a writing style, even a font, that represents your charity’s style and ethos.

4. Use two sections to outline the tasks. Every job has some really important elements, call these Key Responsibilities. Other, less frequent or lower priority elements of the role should be called Other Responsibilities.  If you lump them all together, applicants won’t know what the priorities of the role are, and therefore how suitable they are for the position.

5. Link the job description with a clear person specification. Know the difference between the two – the job description outlines what the job entails and the Person Specification outlines what skills and experience you need to do it.

Have you ever wondered why even though you apply for lots of roles, either you don’t hear back or miss out on shortlisting? It might be the case that you’ve got some excellent skills and experience and you know that you would be a great candidate for a role – but that’s just where there may be an issue – YOU know you would be, but are you making it clear enough? Often applications can come in to recruitment agencies and charities which aren’t always clear to read, or lack some crucial information about you, like a particular type of experience or how many events you’ve organised. Very often application forms can come in where the recruiter or charity can see potential in a prospective candidate gives them a call and finds out that in fact they would make a great candidate!

So the question is, how do you fill out an excellent, clear and descriptive application form?

We’ve come up with a few tips below to try and help, and if you’ve got any other helpful tips then we’d love to hear from you – simply email us.

  1. Read the Application Pack Thoroughly – It may sound like a simple request, but often when prospective candidates come to fill in their application form they can sometimes forget that they need to address every point in the application pack. If there is a list of essential and desirable skills or qualities, list these down and explain how you match each of them. If there are certain personal qualities or interests that the charity asks for then explain and give examples of you having them. Remember that you may have transferrable skills too – there might for example be a mention of event management as a charity member, but if you’ve managed an event as a volunteer then that is still useful to mention!
  2. Give Examples – Quite often a candidate may say that they are good at such and such, but if you’ve not given evidence showing how or why you are whatever this is then its difficult for the recruiter or charity to appreciate your abilities.
  3. Be Clear – don’t presume that recruiters of charities will understand everything without explanation – of course you don’t need to explain what fundraising is, but if you’re using business style abbreviations then it can be useful to explain these if relevant. Also, often candidates are willing to move location for a role, and if this is the case then make it clear on your application. We’ve all been confused when a candidate living in Sydney applies for a role in Edinburgh – until we find out that they have been in a temporary role abroad and are moving back to the UK!
  4. Try Not to Leave it Too Late – We all live busy lives, but if there’s any chance that you can get your application form filled out a week or so before the closing date you are really setting yourself up for lots of benefits (not only concerning your blood pressure). If you fill out your form in advance then you can get friends and family to check it for you for little mishaps or you might even be able to get in contact with the recruitment agency and ask that they briefly look it over before you send the final version to them. A fresh set of eyes over your application can be very helpful.
  5. Don’t Panic, Ask for Help – If you’re having difficulty filling in your application form, get in touch with the recruiter and ask for a bit of help, we are always happy to do this! Sometimes things can be confusing in this kind of form so a hand can be very welcome.
  6. Do Your Research – You might be surprised by the number of potential candidates who don’t do their research on the charity whose role they are applying for. You’d think that surely candidates would want to know exactly what kind of charity they are effectively signing themselves up to possibly be a part of! Particularly when it comes to interview it is essential that you’re up to date with the main facts about the charity. No one wants to asked in interview what they think of the £2 million project which the charity is fundraising for, only to have not known about it at all. Show your interest and passion for the charity you are applying for!
  7. Simply Does It – We’re talking about the presentation of your application (or indeed CV or covering letter too). As a rule of thumb size 12 or 10 Ariel font in a safe option. Don’t use comic sans. Ever.


Social care is a growing sector with rewarding careers, different job roles and great opportunities for progression. Careers in care provide job security and help you gain a sense of personal achievement by helping others and making a positive impact on people’s lives. The care sector is a very diverse field with a variety of different paths to pursue. For example, you could work with children and young people, adults that have additional support needs and disability, the elderly or even families.

Regardless of what part of the care sector you want to pursue, there are a many essential attributes that are universal across any caring job.

Some of these attributes are; having a warm and sociable personality in order to interact with those being cared for, good communication skills so that you can communicate with families and other carers; being patient and supportive and understanding so that you can help individuals be able to function independently (like everyone else people in care can have good days and days which are a bit more challenging) someone who can be supportive can ease the strain on individuals and families and help them to be included parts of society.

Each day as a carer offers something different to the last so this is a great job to do if you like variety. Carers often have to tend to the daily needs of clients so they can live with dignity as well as planning and organising leisure activities, transport and budgeting finances.  You will get the opportunity to interact with people across different levels from health care professionals, to the clients and their families.

Being a carer can be pretty action packed but the role that carers play is an invaluable part of many people’s lives.

For those who like flexible working hours then a career in care can offer that.  Carers usually work shift patterns, which means that you can work can work evenings and weekends or stay overnight depending on the circumstances.  Most care roles offer the choice to work on a voluntary basis, part time or full time.  Although most people don’t decide on a career in care based on the salary alone, an experienced carer can earn around £24,000 per year and managers around £30,000 per year.

The care sector has a variety of openings through, charities, not-for-profits, local authorities and the private sector. The best way to start a career in care (aside from doing a professional qualification) or even find out if a career in care is for you, is by volunteering.  Volunteering allows you to gain experience and learn new skills whilst being supported.  If applying for a career in care bear in mind that extra qualifications such as first aid or a food hygiene might put you at an advantage in the eyes of employers.

To conclude, a career in care offers a wide array of prospects, it is a path that can often be challenging but even more rewarding. By using some of your skills and personality you are able to make a big difference for many people’s lives. There is possibilities to climb the ladder as well as being able to work flexibly around your own life.  The skills and experience you will gain will be able to translate into all forms of work.

If a career in this sector is something that interests you, then check out the various exciting jobs on to see if there is a position that is right for you.


Benefits of becoming a Trustee

A trustee is the most important person in a charity.  They oversee the running of the charity, set the overarching strategy of the business and ensure that their goals are being achieved. By bringing a variety of skills and experiences from their working lives, individuals can make a real difference to a cause that is close to their heart. Currently there are 180,000 trustees in Scotland according to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

There are a variety of benefits to being a trustee.  Firstly it is a fantastic way of gaining further experience of management roles. No matter what role you play, you are making a huge contribution to a charity and the community as a whole. Working as part of a team of people in a variety of fields is a tremendous boost to your skills and helps your CV. Employers are often looking for people who have outside interests and by committing your time to a good cause whilst developing your skills puts you at an advantage.

Despite the various benefits, being a trustee is certainly a position not to be taken lightly, it is a big responsibility for anyone. Trustees are responsible for the future of the charity. You need to put the interests of the charity first ahead of anything else.   It can also be a big commitment as each charity is different and some may want you to put in a lot of time, whilst others may be more manageable to fit around your life. Making sure a charity is the right one for you is vital. From the management style of the board to  ensuring that the aims of the charity fit in what you want to do is very important.

Even though the UK is one of the best countries in the world for volunteering, it doesn’t necessarily translate to people becoming trustees. In Edinburgh alone there are 1800 voluntary sector organisations of which 90% have a vacancy of some sort at a senior level. This highlights firstly that charities are missing out on the talent and innovation in order for them to be successful but also that there is an opportunity to contribute to a wide variety of charities whatever your experiences and whatever you have an interest in. There is role out there for just about everyone.

There is a stereotype that trustee positions are reserved for older people who use their experience to help get a charity running smoothly. However whilst it may be true that the average age of trustees is 57, with 67% aged over 60, there is a real need for young people to get involved. A real mix of youth and experience ensures that a wide range of perspectives are heard. An older trustee may have vast experience of running a business but may not be as strong at relating to younger people. Young people can bring expertise of technology and bring a hunger and passion that benefits any charity. Everyone can learn a great deal from being on the board of a charity.

Therefore, whilst there are some challenges to being a trustee, it is a position that can be tremendously beneficial on a personal level and has the potential to do a lot of good in the community. With such a scope of skills required to help charities progress it is something that almost anyone can help to make a difference to the third sector and be very rewarding to those who decide to become trustees.

Trustees Week is 7-13 November. Charity Careers is posting this feature as we are recruiting a lot of board members this month. Have a look at for details about these positions.

 Written by Adam Lawrie

  ©Charity Careers Scotland


Image result for scottish charity sectorScottish charities make up what is called the “third” or voluntary sector – the other two being the public sector (government; both local and national) and the private sector (commercial companies whose purpose is to make a profit. Other phrases used to describe charities include:


  • Non-Profits
  • Non-Governmental Organisations
  • Good Causes

Scotland has over 23,000 charities, employing 138,000 people.  They include a wide range of organisations including international aid providers, community groups, schools, churches universities and family centres.

What they all have in common; and what distinguishes them from other organisations are three key organisational necessities:

  • Charities cannot be set up to make a profit
  • Charities must be governed by volunteers
  • Charities must declare exactly what it is that they have been set up to do, and have this approved before they can do it

The organisation that approves what charities do, and checks that they are doing it properly is OSCR (the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator).  All charities in Scotland must submit a range of information to OSCR to show that they are behaving properly as a charity.  Because OSCR makes this information public, the OSCR website ( is also a good place to look to find out more about an individual charity.

Charities employ a huge range of people with many different skills.  Around 75% of charity staff hold non-fundraising roles such as carers, social workers, therapists, project managers and many other types of specialist staff to work directly with the beneficiaries of the charity.

Like any other organisation, charities also need people to keep them running smoothly, and charities also employ finance, HR, administration, legal, marketing, fundraising and management personnel.


What do you know about our organisation?

This one comes up 90% of the time. Be sure you have done your homework!

Why do you want to work for us?

Tailor your answer so that you show you can contribute in positive ways, to provide a solution for what the charity needs.

Tell me about yourself…

Remember to point out those characteristics and qualities that suit the position. This is not a time for a personal history.

What motivates you? What are your personal goals?

Indicate a desire to contribute to the charity in specific ways that you enjoy and do well, trying to make a match between the needs of the organisation and your abilities.

Why are you leaving your job?

Be sure you have a level-headed answer for this one. Do not rubbish your previous position or boss! Indicate positive reasons for seeking advancement, a change or a new challenge.

What qualities and experience do you have that are important for this position?

The interviewer has your CV, but he or she wants to hear how you can express your success. This is also a time when the interviewer may test your communication skills.

What has been your greatest accomplishment?

Remember to make your answer outcome orientated focusing on the organization and its clients rather than your ego. Stick to this guide and you’ll definitely come across as a stronger candidate in interviews.

We also suggest you refer to the job description and person specification and prepare good, detailed examples under each required skill set. Remember to be confident and articulate!

Finally, everyone at Charity Careers Scotland wishes you the best of luck!