NGOs need skilled people with specialisation
With changing social systems and an exploding population; humanity’s problems are becoming more complex. This has increased the requirement of people with special skills combined with a genuine concern for society. A career in NGOs is thus becoming an attractive proposition for both entry-level graduates and mid-career changers looking for more fulfilling work.
Career fields in the area of Social Work are:
Community Social Workers: They work with groups having common problems e.g. lack of local civic amenities, eviction and displacement etc. They are required to work within the administrative framework and jobs are provided by government or voluntary organisations.
Family and Child Welfare Officers: Family and Child Welfare Officers are required to uplift the condition of women and children. They identify and monitor the problems pertaining to women and children and if required they also advise them on family planning methods, health care etc
Probation Officers: Probation Officers counsel the offenders who are released on condition that they will not involve themselves in any further criminal activities. These social workers help them regain a positive frame of mind and become socially responsible and economically independent citizens of the country.
Besides social workers, NGOs also need professionals from specialised fields like marketing, human resource, finance and media in various capacities. However the role of these professionals depends on the size and the scope of the organisation. Marketing professionals are required for fund raising for existing projects as well as for initializing new projects. Media and communication experts create awareness about social issues.
A Bachelors or Masters degree in Social Welfare or Social Sciences or a Degree in Rural Management is the ideal educational qualification for those seeking to enter the sector. Some well known institutes offering such courses are:
Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai,
- The Xavier Institute of Social Science, Ranchi,
- Institute of Rural Management, Anand,
- Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
To seek admission into any Post Graduate course, one has to qualify the entrance test conducted by the university. Graduates in any discipline are eligible to take the course.
Many NGOs require graduates in the field of Economics, Physical Sciences, Biotechnology, Forestry, Engineering, Law, and Sociology & Psychology too.
Government departments which require Probation Officers recruit Law, Sociology and Psychology Graduates through Combined State Public Services Examination. NGOs like TERI (The Energy Research Institute), recruit researchers in various disciplines. TERI mainly focuses on research activities in the areas of energy, environment and sustainable development.
Apart from NGOs and Government, Public and Private Hospitals also employ people who have the relevant qualifications. Post-Graduates in Social Work can also look at jobs in the industrial and corporate sectors in their welfare departments.
Generally, the salary ranges from Rs. 6000 -12,000 per month depending on qualification and role. Salaries for middle management is in the range of Rs. 10,000 to 20,000 and for senior management it is between Rs. 20,000 to 50,000 on an average. Some of the international NGOs pay over Rs 1 Lakh per month too.
The non-profit sector is also a great place for part-time jobs. Opportunities for part time workers vary depending on the availability of projects with the NGO. Volunteers are also highly in demand in the industry. Volunteers can also join social activists and support them in their mission.
Some NGOs fighting for common problems faced by people are: Azim Premji Foundation, (universalisation of elementary education), Amitasha (for the marginalized Girl Child), Child Relief and You (educating children), Action Aid (Eradicate poverty), Helpage (Improving the living standard of older people). Social Centre (Maharashtra), Deepalaya ( Delhi), NIPCD, CSWB etc are a few NGOs working for family and child welfare.
The most important qualification required for a career in NGOs is a genuine concern for a social cause. Soft skills required for joining the non-profit sector are, genuine concern for people/society, no prejudices regarding religion, class, community etc. ability to work under difficult conditions, flexibility and adaptability, tolerance, dedication, innovation.