Get a job working for the WWF

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  1. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) employing around 1,300 people in 100 different countries.
  2. Generally speaking, permanent jobs at WWF can be divided into fundraising, campaigning, communications and conservation roles.
  3. There is no single route into WWF, with its staff coming from a wide range of professional backgrounds.
  4. However, you’re most likely to get a job with WWF if you specialise in one area of work are able to demonstrate some relevant professional experience.
  5. Experience in marketing, journalism, PR, fundraising and marketing may help you land a job with the charity.
  6. If you lack relevant professional experience, WWF offers a range of internships and volunteering opportunities.
  7. Rates of pay at WWF vary according to the exact role, though fundraising and marketing officers can earn from £25,000 a year, while salaries for management can be upwards of £40,000.

Who Are the WWF and Why Work for Them?

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) working to protect wildlife and the environment. It works in more than 100 countries, employing around 1,300 people of all ages and backgrounds. While originally the WWF focused its attentions on saving endangered species, these days it also campaigns on issues such as habitat destruction, climate change and pollution.

Given the exciting, campaigning nature of its work, the number of people wanting to work for WWF always far exceeds the number of opportunities available. As it says itself: “At WWF, our employees know they are making a difference every day. We share a spirit and devotion for wildlife and nature. So whether you're working at a desk in our D.C. office, attending a climate change meeting in Europe, or relocating rhinos in Nepal, you have the benefit of knowing that everything you do is part of WWF's global effort to conserve life on Earth.”

Jobs Available at the WWF

WWF employs hundreds of people in a wide range of different roles, either on a temporary or permanent basis. Generally speaking, these jobs can be divided into the following categories:

  • Fundraising: WWF gets more than half of all its funds from individual givers, for example through direct debit payments and legacies. Fundraising officers and managers work to encourage new and prospective donors to give money, mainly through direct marketing campaigns and events. At the same time, corporate fundraisers and grants fundraisers help the WWF secure money from businesses, governments and international bodies such as the EU and UNESCO.
  • Campaigning: Campaigners lobby businesses and governments to do more to protect wildlife and the environment in general. Members of WWF’s campaigning teams may, for example, organise petitions to send to government decision-makers, put pressure on major corporations to act in a more eco-friendly manner or use advertising to raise awareness of conservation issues among the public.
  • Communications: Working alongside the fundraising and campaigning departments, WWF’s communications teams attempt to get its work as much publicity as possible. Press officers will work with the media to produce stories on pressing issues, while PR professionals will attempt to get its work noticed in innovative and eye-catching ways.
  • Conservation: Alongside its office-based roles, WWF also employs large numbers of field conservationists. These work on the ground overseeing and implementing a huge range of projects, including monitoring and protecting tiger populations, guarding against deforestation and combating marine pollution.

Qualifications and Skills

There is no single route into WWF. In fact, its staff come from a wide range of professional background, even if they have a shared passion for the natural world.

As a rule, you’re most likely to get a job with WWF if you specialise in one area of work are able to demonstrate some relevant professional experience. That is, a degree in marketing, journalism or PR, alongside some relevant professional experience will give you a good chance of working in a communications capacity for WWF. Similarly, experience in fundraising, direct marketing, report-writing and donor cultivation will also boost your odds of getting an office-based job at WWF.

If you want to work in the field as a conservationist, you will need either a relevant PhD or significant amount of relevant experience, or both. Note, however, that most conservationists are recruited in-country. That is, unless you establish yourself as a leading expert in tiger behaviour, it’s highly unlikely WWF will employ you on the frontline of its tiger protection work, preferring instead to employ a locally-based conservation professional.

  • Alongside relevant experience, WWF may also look for some or all of the following:
  • A genuine passion for wildlife conservation and the environment as well as a commitment to its aims and sympathy with its methods.
  • A working knowledge of at least two languages, including English; WWF is a truly international organisation, so being multi-lingual is a definite plus.
  • An ability to work well as part of a team; again WWF is a massive organisation with departments working together towards common goals, so being a team player is essential. 

All new vacancies for jobs with WWF UK are advertised online here (http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/about_us/jobs/), with the UK site also providing links to WWF in other countries and possible international employment opportunities.

Volunteering and Internships

Volunteering or undertaking an internship can be a great way of getting a ‘foot in the door’ at WWF, either through demonstrating your commitment to its work or by giving you the chance to boost your professional skills.

All departments offer formal internships on a regular basis, though even for these, competition can be fierce. While internships are unpaid, expenses are covered and WWF is committed to ensuring you reach your professional goals while having the chance to make a real contribution to its work.

Volunteering is much less formal. Opportunities to help out at head office are limited, though as a volunteer you may want to take part in a range of campaigning, publicity and fundraising initiatives.

Pay and Benefits

Rates of pay for WWF UK headquarters jobs are in line with the charity/NGO sector as a whole. That is, while wages will never be on a par with those offered in the corporate sector, they are still relatively high, with positions based at Panda House in Surrey coming with a London Weighting Allowance on top of a basic salary.

As a guideline, as of 2013, WWF UK advertises marketing jobs with salaries ranging from £20,000 to £30,000, while more senior staff such as chief advisers on issues such as climate change, can expect to earn in excess of £50,000.

Aside from the pay, working for WWF may also offer the following benefits:

  • Relative career stability: while many smaller charities may struggle in tough economic times, WWF’s size and prestige gives it a certain amount of protection.
  • Great career opportunities: WWF is committed to ensuring its staff reach their potential and many new roles are only advertised internally.
  • The ability to feel like you’re making a difference in the fight against climate change and other key conservation issues.

Further Reading

Want to stand out from the crowd? Check out our career advice section for CV writing tips and advice. 


 
 
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