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20 NGO Job Types: Salaries, Qualifications, Tasks

Millions of small and large NGOs (non-governmental organizations) work independently of governments around the world. You can work for NGOs dedicated to issues like healthcare, education, economic development, children’s rights, reproductive justice, and humanitarian aid, but what types of jobs are available? In this article, we’ll describe 20 types of NGO jobs, including what salaries you can expect, what qualifications you need, and what tasks you might be responsible for.

Campaigner Researcher
Grant Writer Educator
Program Assistant Activism Coordinator
Communications Officer Advocacy Officer
Impact Advisor Policy Analyst
M&E Officer Interpreter/Translator
Outreach Coordinator Finance Officer
Accountant Fundraiser
HR Officer Digital Content Manager
Project Manager Director

#1. Campaigner

Description: Campaigners work on campaigns, projects, and programs that aim to grow the organization, raise awareness of specific goals, and attract donors or members. They’re often part of an NGO’s communications and strategy division.

Average salary: $47,912/year (US-based campaigner/Zippia))

Qualifications: Campaigners typically need at least a bachelor’s degree and 2-5 years of campaigning experience. The specific degree depends on what type of NGO you work for. For example, a sustainable food campaigner would benefit from a degree in international development, environment and food, or sustainable food production.

Tasks: As strategists, campaigners create and deliver campaign/project strategies and initiatives. They manage projects, organize community outreach campaigns, and monitor a campaign’s budget, timeline, and success.

#2. Researcher

Description: All NGOs depend on research to shape their campaigns, pick fundraising strategies, and assess how successful different strategies are. Research that influences change is also a primary goal for NGOs, especially advocacy-based ones.

Average salary: $71,066/year (US-based non-profit research assisant/Salary.com)

Qualifications: Entry-level research jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in a field like social science (it depends on what the NGO focuses on), but to advance in your career, most NGOs want candidates with a master’s or even a doctorate. NGOs also want researchers to have experience with analysis tools and databases, strong analytical skills, excellent communication, and a few years of professional experience (for entry-level research jobs).

Tasks: Specific tasks depend on what field you’re working in, but most research consists of developing research projects, determining research methods, collecting and analyzing data, and discussing what you find with the NGO’s stakeholders. Research is often published, so report-writing is a big part of researcher jobs.

#3. Grant Writer

Description: Most NGOs depend on grants for at least a portion of their funding. Grant writers research appropriate grants, write proposals, and work with team members to disperse money.

Average salary: $50,022/year (US-based non-profit grant writer/Salary.com)

Qualifications: Grant writers need at least a bachelor’s degree in English, communications, or a related field. To advance in your career, many NGOs ask for a master’s degree. You’ll also need at least two years of grant-writing experience, excellent research skills, excellent communication, and an understanding of the grant process.

Tasks: Grant writers do a lot of research and writing. Research involves finding grants and identifying which are the right fit for their NGO. Grant writing consists of developing persuasive, clear proposals describing why their NGO is the best recipient of the grant.

#4. Educator

Description: Educators at NGOs can work as education officers, program managers, teachers, and more. Because the right to education is a human right, many NGOs focus on education or include education as part of their goals. Educators are professionals with backgrounds in educational development, education policy, and/or classroom instruction or instructional design.

Average salary: $46,534/year (US-based non-profit education coordinator/Payscale.com)

Qualifications: Many NGOs offer entry-level jobs that only require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, but a master’s degree is always preferred, if not required.

Tasks: Your tasks vary widely depending on your specific job title. If you’re working on the program management side, your responsibilities could include developing educational programs, coordinating programs, doing field monitoring, and communicating with partners. Teachers will create lesson plans, lead classrooms, and assist students.

#5. Program Assistant

Description: Program assistants are part of teams that create and implement NGO programs. As assistants, they support program managers and other staff.

Average salary: $50,306/year (US-based non-profit program assistant/Salary.com)

Qualifications: Most NGOs will require at least a bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to the NGO, but you may only need a high school degree or associate’s depending on the NGO. NGOs also want candidates with excellent organizational skills, time management, problem-solving, excellent communication, and familiarity with computer and phone systems.

Tasks: Program assistants are responsible for tasks like scheduling meetings, taking minutes, communicating with staff and stakeholders, overseeing budgets and timelines, and doing anything else needed to ensure programs run smoothly.

#6. Activism Coordinator

Description: Activism coordinators, who are a type of community organizer, coordinate activism activities like peaceful protests and other public events.

Average salary: $70,497/year (US-based community activist/ZipRecruiter)

Qualifications: Experience is usually the most important factor NGOs consider. Good candidates will have experience in event organizing, community engagement, and project management. Depending on the NGO, you may also need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work, social sciences, or a similar field. You’ll need excellent communication skills, time management skills, problem-solving, and leadership.

Tasks: Activism coordination involves many moving parts, such as developing ideas for events, budgeting, scheduling speakers and activities, raising awareness in the community, and managing an event. You’ll also need to understand the risks involved in activism and create safety plans.

#7. Communications Officer

Description: Communications officers work in an NGO’s marketing, brand awareness, and public relations division. They focus on communicating the NGO’s vision, goals, programs, and how people can get involved.

Average salary: $51,601/year (US-based non-profit communications/Salary.com)

Qualifications: Most NGOs want their communications officers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or a similar field. They should have excellent speaking and written communication skills, good problem-solving, excellent networking skills, and strong leadership.

Tasks: Communications officers are typically spokespeople for an NGO, but they’re also responsible for maintaining a database of media contacts; creating content like social media posts, blogs, and press releases; and managing the communication budget.

#8. Advocacy Officer

Description: Advocacy officers represent the NGO’s vision and goals to the public and government agencies. They work with the media and stakeholders such as volunteers and donors.

Average salary: $52,464/year (US-based advocacy officer/ZipRecruiter)

Qualifications: NGOs want candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree (though often a master’s degree) in communications, journalism, social science, or a related field. An educational background in NGO’s focus area is also desirable. Advocacy officers are excellent communicators and networkers who have at least a few years of experience in advocacy or public relations.

Tasks: Advocacy officers work closely with partners and stakeholders, including NGO members, partner organizations, the private sector, and government agencies. They coordinate advocacy campaigns, meet with project managers, and work with other communications professionals in the NGO.

#9. Impact Advisor/Social Impact Consultant 

Description: Impact advisors and social impact consultants provide NGOs and other organizations with advice on improving an organization’s social and environmental impact and raising more funds.

Average salary: $81,923/year (US-based social impact consultant/ZipRecruiter)

Qualifications: Most social impact consultants have a master’s degree in business, marketing, finance, or a field relevant to the NGOs you want to consult for. Experience is arguably more important to most NGOs as they expect consultants to be experts with years-long track records. Other desired skills include excellent communication, leadership, critical thinking, management, and problem-solving.

Tasks: Consultants come into an NGO to help it improve its impact while preserving (or improving) its finances. Tasks can include auditing the organization’s efficiency and impact, helping the NGO develop new strategies and programs, working on marketing campaigns, and identifying new sources of funding.

#10. Policy Analyst

Description: Policy analysts study how laws and regulations impact policy, organizations, groups of people, and society at large. That can include developing policy ideas relevant to the NGO they work for.

Average salary: $73,278/year (US-based policy analyst/ZipRecruiter)

Qualifications: Many NGOs ask that candidates have at least a master’s degree in public policy, economics, political science, or a field relevant to the NGO, though some positions may only require a bachelor’s degree. Policy analysts typically specialize in an area like gender equality or economic development, so you’ll need professional and/or research experience.

Tasks: Policy analysts study policies and laws, collect and analyze data, provide recommendations on new legislation and policies, create policy drafts, and work with NGO stakeholders.

#11. M&E Officer

Description: M&E officers specialize in monitoring and evaluating an NGO’s campaigns and programs, which makes them vital to an NGO’s long-term success.

Average salary: $79,482/year (US-based M&E officer/ZipRecruiter)

Qualifications: M&E officers typically need a master’s degree in a field like statistics, economics, public policy, or research design. They also need excellent research skills, communication skills, and several years of experience unless the job is entry-level.

Tasks: M&E officers develop methods and strategies for monitoring and measuring an NGO’s impact. That can include interviewing people impacted by the NGO’s programs, coordinating surveys, making field visits, analyzing data, and communicating with other stakeholders and NGOs.

#12. Interpreter/Translator

Description: Interpreters and translators translate between different languages in spoken and written form. This is an especially important job when an NGO works internationally or within communities that speak multiple languages.

Average salary: $44,278/year (US-based translator/Zippia)

Qualifications: Experience and language proficiency are the most important factors for NGOs, though you may need at least a bachelor’s degree. Beyond fluency, NGOs also want candidates with excellent problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, adaptability, and cultural knowledge.

Tasks: Interpreters/translators translate between languages while preserving content and style, listen to speakers, write down translations, create and proofread translated documents, and develop strategies for future translation projects.

#13. Outreach Coordinator

Description: Outreach coordinators design and implement activities and projects that raise awareness of an NGO’s vision, goals, and programs. As part of an NGO’s marketing/public relations division, outreach coordinators often work closely with communications officers, advocacy officers, and activism coordinators.

Average salary: $45,897/year (US-based outreach coordinator/Zippia)

Qualifications: Outreach coordinators typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing, public relations, social work, journalism, or a related field. The NGO may also ask for at least 2-3 years of experience, though it depends on the job level. Outreach coordinators need excellent communication and networking skills, excellent time management, and good organization.

Tasks: Responsibilities may include organizing events within the community, managing events, monitoring budgets, acting as a representative for the NGO, meeting with community leaders and stakeholders, and helping with fundraising events.

#14. Fundraiser

Description: Fundraisers organize fundraising campaigns and events to raise funds for an organization’s overhead and program costs.

Average salary: $50,000/year (US-based non-profit fundraiser/Payscale.com)

Qualifications: Fundraisers typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, or business, though higher-level fundraisers may have a master’s degree. Fundraisers need excellent organizational skills, good communication and networking skills, critical-thinking skills, strong problem-solving skills, and strong money-management skills. NGOs also want fundraisers with a deep understanding of legal processes.

Tasks: Fundraisers develop fundraising strategies, research potential donors, design and implement fundraising events, monitor budgets and donations, maintain donor databases, and analyze past campaigns.

#15. Finance Officer

Description: Finance officers oversee all financial activities within an NGO, including donations, grants, and payroll. Because NGOs have such specific finance rules, finance officers have specialized skills and knowledge.

Average salary: $67,723/year (US-based finance officer/Indeed.com)

Qualifications: Most NGOs want their finance officers to have at least a master’s degree in business, finance, accounting, or a similar field. Depending on the job level, you’ll likely need a few years of experience. Desired skills include finance software knowledge, excellent financial management, budgeting, time management, and organization.

Tasks: Finance officers monitor, evaluate, and organize an NGO’s overall finances. That includes tracking expenses, staying updated on legal processes, and working with other staff members (like program managers) on where to allocate finances. Finance officers’ tasks are broader than accountants’.

#16. Accountant

Description: Accountants balance an NGO’s financial books, ensure legal compliance, and help ensure long-term success and sustainability.

Average salary: $56,686/year (US-based non-profit staff accountant/ZipRecruiter)

Qualifications: NGO accountants should have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, or a similar field. Depending on the job level, you’ll need at least 2-5 years of experience, as well as knowledge of accounting software, excellent time management skills, close attention to detail, and excellent organization.

Tasks: Accountants make sure an NGO’s financial documents are accurate and compliant with all laws and regulations. Accountants also prepare tax returns, evaluate an NGO’s financial activities, and perform other day-to-day financial activities. Unlike finance officers, accountants focus more on record-keeping than financial strategy.

#17. HR Officer

Description: Human resources officers work in an NGO’s human resources department. They serve the staff members of an NGO, including recruiting, hiring, training, and anything to do with workplace ethics.

Average salary: $58,188/year (US-based non-profit human resources/ZipRecruiter)

Qualifications: Entry-level HR officers need at least a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, or a similar field, as well as around 2 years of work experience. Desired skills include excellent organization, adaptability, problem-solving, and excellent communication.

Tasks: HR officers maintain employee records; review work conditions; create hiring, onboarding, and training programs; support management; help with payroll; and manage employee disputes.

#18. Digital Content Manager

Description: Digital content managers are marketers who focus on an NGO’s digital strategy and content like websites, blogs, and social media pages.

Average salary: $72,207/year (US-based digital content manager/Zippia)

Qualifications: Most NGOs want their digital content managers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, social media, or a related field. You’ll also want a few years of experience with social media strategy or digital marketing, as well as excellent communication skills, good writing skills, and strong knowledge of social media platforms, trends, SEO, and more.

Tasks: Digital content managers create digital campaigns; write and post content like blogs and videos; and manage an NGO’s overall digital content strategy. Managers also monitor traffic and trends to ensure strategies succeed.

#19. Project manager

Description: Project managers oversee an NGO’s projects, campaigns, and initiatives from the development phase through the project’s completion.

Average salary: $81,982/year (NGO project manager/ZipRecruiter)

Qualifications: Project management doesn’t require a specific degree; it depends on what your NGO focuses on. Because many NGOs require a master’s degree for higher-level jobs, you’re more likely to become a project manager with a master’s. You should also have 3-5 years of experience and skills like excellent communication, time management, problem-solving, critical thinking, and adaptability.

Tasks: Project managers vary in seniority, but generally, managers are responsible for planning projects, coordinating with team members, leading meetings, developing and monitoring budgets, and evaluating a project’s success.

#20. Director

Description: Directors are leaders at an NGO. They help create and implement the NGO’s vision and goals through programs, guidance, and crucial decision-making. Executive directors are the top leaders.

Average salary: $72,453/year (US-based NGO director/ZipRecruiter)

Qualifications: As a leader in an NGO, directors typically have at least a master’s degree in a field like international relations, global affairs, business, or another field relevant to the NGO. They also have many years of experience and deep knowledge of the NGO’s focus area. Desired skills include excellent communication, networking, time management, adaptability, creativity, and leadership.

Tasks: Directors lead NGOs to success. They create (or help create with the NGO’s board) the NGO’s vision, goals, and strategies. They help hire and manage employees, represent the NGO to the public, oversee financial and fundraising activities, and communicate with the board.

About the author

Emmaline Soken-Huberty

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.