Charity shops have moved on from the cluttered, untidy and sometimes a little whiffy places they used to be. Today charity shops look and feel more like upmarket boutiques and are professional, clean and creative spaces to work in. 

More and more people are looking to work in an organisation that has a sense of purpose. They want to join a community with an inclusive culture that gives them a sense of fulfillment in their work. If these are the qualities you are seeking for your next management role, then here are seven reasons why a job in the charity retail sector might be just what you are looking for. 

1. Job satisfaction

Working in charity retail brings great job satisfaction as no two days are the same. Like most retail settings you never know what each day will bring when you open the doors to the general public each morning. Stock comes in through the door from kind donors so no more 6am deliveries to unload. Each piece you sell is unique and this brings a welcome variety to how charity shops operate. Your customers know this too. Research has shown that charity shop shoppers visit frequently as they know that new stock goes out every day, so you’ll get to know your regular customers. 

2. Meeting a diverse range of people

Working in charity retail allows you to meet all kinds of people and to really get to know those in your local community. Many charity shops act as a community hub for their local area. Most of your colleagues will be willing volunteers which adds a completely different dimension to how you manage and to the atmosphere in the shop. Social interaction is a big part of working in a charity shop, which is a great opportunity for career and personal development. 

3. Space to be Creative

Charity retail is not just about the shop anymore. The pandemic has hastened the move to social media and other online activities for many charity shops. As the shop manager you may be responsible for managing your socials to promote your shop as well as using them to foster community spirit and engagement from your volunteers. Many charities sell through online platforms such as ebay and also run pop up shops and other events. As the shop manager you will have a lot of freedom to experiment, be creative and try something new.

4. Good pay and working conditions

Charity retail competes with mainstream retail for the best people so pay rates are generally comparable with a similar set of benefits. Trading hours and therefore your working hours are not as long as mainstream retail. The charity sector is a kinder place to work, with a more family centred approach, recognising the importance of a work life balance. A community of like minded people supporting a great cause is created by all who work and volunteer in a charity shop.

5. Job stability

Tori Utley's article in Forbes magazine in 2016 says that charities are less likely to take risks when expanding, so are less likely to suffer financially compared to companies that focus purely on profit. Charities very rarely go bankrupt as they do not have owners or shareholders. However they are often dependent on government funding for their services and on donations from the general public. As a charity shop manager your job is to maximise the “profit” from your shop to support your charity’s cause. Therefore you are part of the solution.  

6. Be part of the Circular Economy

Charity retail is the essence of sustainable shopping and the opposite of fast fashion. It operates to the Triple Bottom Line of the three Ps: profit, people and planet. This measures financial, social and environmental performance. Charity retail generates funding for their charities to provide services but they also have huge environmental and social benefits. Find out more on this link. The Circular Economy is one where we keep resources in use as long as possible, and charity retail plays an important role in this.

7. A sense of purpose

It could be said that there are more jobs out there than people to fill them. But doing a job that is rewarding in every sense has become increasingly important for many people. Charity retail gives you the opportunity to find the right organisation with a sense of purpose and cause that resonates with you.

Check out our jobs page if you would like the opportunity to join a great charity and help to support a cause that you believe in.

Click here for links to the websites for all ICSA members. Just click on each charity’s logo to go to their website.