How To Get Into The Third Sector

Here at Rusher Rogers, we’re gearing up for our second year as partners of the Not-For-Profit People Conference on the 13th and 14th of November. The conference, an exciting initiative of EthicalJobs, is ‘Australia’s largest event focused on how to attract, manage, train and retain the best people for the NFP sector’.

21 years ago Rusher Rogers filled its first job with a NFP, the Australian Institute of Management. Our Director, Susie, placed an Accounts Receivable clerk who ended up staying with the company for 17 years, eventually becoming the company’s HRM. Susie vividly remembers the excitement [and emotions!] surrounding this first placement; an indication of the passion and integrity that this company has been built on. It set the tone for a specialisation in the NFP field and a unique insight into what NFPs want and need from new recruits.

Over the years, this affinity with the NFP sector has grown and flourished and we are regularly contacted by candidates looking to break into the third sector, as well as NFPs looking to source unique and talented people for their organisation.

With this in mind, how can candidates prepare and what can they expect when they decide they’d like to work within the NFP sector?


  • Temping can be a foot-in-the-door

It goes without saying that NFPs are always interested to know about volunteering experiences, but temping is also a viable option to gaining experience and networking within the NFP sector. One of our temps was recently made permanent in his HR administration assignment…

Volunteering or temping also offers an opportunity to network, and who you know can often be as important as what you know when it comes to finding out about new opportunities in an NFP organisation.

In an interview with EthicalJobs, Stephanie Clee from MDA had the following advice:

* ‘Short-term contracts are a great way to gain exposure […] and showcase your personality and talents […]we find there is less competition for short or fixed-term positions.’

* ‘Some vacancies are only sent to internal staff, meaning once you are employed at MDA you’ll have access to more opportunities.’

* ‘A history of volunteeringlooks great on a resume because it means the applicant is already familiar with the work and values of our organisation.’

  • Background Checks

Depending on their cause, a NFP may require a WWCC (Working With Childrens Check) or Police Check or both for all employees, including temps and volunteers. Some will cover the costs of this but if you’re temping through an agency, you may be required to have these completed yourself.



  • Do your homework

NFPs are driven by values and meaning, so ensuring that you fully understand what drives the organisation forward is crucial. Hiring managers will look for people whose passions and ethics are aligned with their organisation.

Ethical Jobs have some excellent interviews on their blog that provide an insight into what some of these organisations are looking for when they hire:


  • Adjust your salary expectations 

Especially if you’re coming from a corporate background, do your research when it comes to salaries. NFP organisations have limited budgets and a well-researched salary proposal will make it easier to reasonably negotiate.



  • Keep an eye on our website 

If you’re ready to find your next NFP opportunity, keep an eye on our website for vacancies. We’re always happy to answer any specific questions you have about a role and your suitability to the position, so contact the appropriate consultant to find out more.


By Claudia Bellwood, Temp Consultant, Rusher Rogers 

If it takes your fancy, you can peruse more of our musings here.

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