Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are groups that operate around the world, but are not associated with the government of any nation. This makes them distinct entities from the United Nations, which is a collaborative effort of the different governments of the world. Individual NGOs differ in their missions and goals, with some being humanitarian groups dedicated to providing food and medical care to people all over the world. Others are research and policy-oriented institutions. NGO jobs can involve both working in traditional roles, such as publicity and fundraising, or going out into the world to directly help people in need.
NGOs are usually non-profit or not-for-profit organizations, and therefore dependent upon donations to fund operations and pay employees. For this reason, many NGO jobs involve working in different kinds of fundraising. These can include tele-fundraisers, who make calls to solicit donations from potential donors; street canvassers, who ask for donations from individuals in person; and grant writers, who complete applications for funding from different government programs and private charity organizations. For many organizations, these fundraising positions are the entry level positions that lead to promotion within the NGO.
Individuals who are interested in working with the needy can find a number of NGO jobs that involve distributing food and supplies. Those who work in these aid worker positions are usually sent by an NGO that specializes in humanitarian aid to impoverished areas of the world in which that particular organization operates. Such aid workers then distribute basic food staples and supplies, such as warm blankets and mosquito nets, that the NGO purchases with the money its fundraising arm gathered. These NGO jobs can also involve distributing medicine and providing medical care to the sick and injured.
For organizations that focus on research and policy advocacy, many NGO jobs involve conducting research in the field. These individuals may observe fighting, and interview a variety of leaders, combatants, and bystanders. They may also ask what these individuals believe is the cause of the fighting, what they think will end the conflict, and how the conflict is affecting the lives of everyone in the region. NGO researchers will then take this information to write reports, which can both inform the world about these conflicts and make specific recommendations on how the fighting can be stopped.
Publicity and advertising is just as important to NGOs as it is for for-profit businesses, but for different reasons. Businesses want to attract customers. NGOs want the public to be aware that they exist to attract donors, and the public can read the educational materials that these groups publish about their causes. NGO jobs in publicity typically focus on writing press releases, designing advertisements, maintaining an organization's presence on various social networking platforms, and organizing conferences and events to both raise money and awareness of the work a particular NGO does.