What makes a workplace a great place to work? There may be as many answers as there are workers, but some common themes often crop up.
Happiness at work is often the result of a blend of the nature of the work, the workmates, the culture, the leadership, the challenges, the perks, and ultimately, the fulfillment employees feel working there.
For many people, working for a not-for-profit organisation can be especially stimulating and rewarding, with motivated and like-minded people all driving towards a shared and meaningful cause.
There are 170,000 registered charities in the UK across all manner of sectors, and each offers something different to its staff and volunteers.
Our data team analysed millions of employee ratings and reviews posted on Indeed Company Pages to determine, from a workers’ point of view, which are Britain’s top-rated not-for-profit organisations for 2018.
Cancer Research UK leads the way
Coming out in first place is Cancer Research UK, an outstanding showing for one of the largest charities in the country, which boasts more than 40,000 volunteers.
The top 25 include a healthy variety of not-for-profit organisations, from charities offering aid both domestically and abroad, to military organisations, to those targeting disease prevention and eradication. The NHS, the largest employer in the UK with record staffing levels of 1.65 million, also features among the top-rated not-for-profit organisations.
Cancer Research UK generated total income of £679.2 million in the year to March 2017, with more than two-thirds of that (£463.4 million) coming from fundraising alone.
Just behind comes Oxfam, whose high-profile struggles at the start of 2018 do not seem to have affected its employees’ perceptions or job satisfaction.
The next organisation in the ranking counts a former Prime Minister among its leadership team. David Cameron, who led the country until 2016, is Chairman of Patrons at the National Citizen Service, a volunteer group which seeks to empower teenagers across the UK.
Two other charities, the British Heart Foundation and Sue Ryder, complete the top five while Transport for London – which topped Indeed’s ‘Top-Rated Workplaces for Work-Life Balance’ earlier in the year – is on the right track once again as it takes 12th spot.
Who are the UK’s top-rated not-for-profit organisations?
No charity in the UK generates more from fundraising than Cancer Research UK, and its 40,000 volunteers consistently scored it as a leader in workplace satisfaction as well.
As the world’s largest independent cancer research charity, it is conducting research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease with a wide variety of partners.
While utilising a significant volunteer force, it also employs 4,000 staff. Across its entire workforce, it scores highly as an organisation to work for.
One past employee told us how they “loved working for such an important charity,” continuing: “The work was rewarding and, although challenging at times, completely worth the money raised.”
Another current volunteer said: “Working for Cancer Research UK is a great and fulfilling job that has a great atmosphere. The work is sometimes difficult but it pays off in the end because you know that you are helping others.”
Oxfam is primarily focused on eradicating poverty around the world and on helping those most in need. The organisation topped Indeed’s not-for-profit employer ranking last year and continues to perform strongly.
The start of 2018 saw the charity rocked by high profile stories that dented its public image but still scores high marks from many of its staff. It has 650 shops around the UK and while its headquarters remain in Oxford, Oxfam has long been a truly international organisation.
Many of its staff cited the camaraderie and the flexibility as its major plus points. “A brilliant place to work,” one former employee told Indeed. “I got on really well with everyone I worked with, and the most enjoyable part of the job was getting to meet the different people who came through the door on a regular basis.”
Another described their own personal growth while volunteering for the charity, saying: “Working at Oxfam opened my eyes to a wider world of work and helped me become a far more confident person.”
In a short amount of time, the National Citizen Service has gone from being the new kid on the block to firmly established as one of the country’s best not-for-profit places to work.
Formed under David Cameron’s premiership, it is a voluntary personal and social development programme for 15-17 year olds in England and Northern Ireland.
Now, around 100,000 young people make use of the programme every year, with almost half a million having benefited since its beginning.
The overriding impression left on its former volunteers has been “fun”, with many citing their enjoyment at helping out. One former employee described it as a “productive and fun workplace,” highlighting how they had been able “to work with really great people who are all enthusiastic about what they do.”
Another of the biggest charities in the country, the British Heart Foundation is currently funding more than 1,000 research projects aimed at reducing heart and circulatory diseases and their risk factors.
The charity has more than 700 shops around the UK, with many of the staff praising both the culture and their colleagues.
“Efficient and rewarding,” one employee described their work as, while another former staff member said: “The best part was knowing that all the sales were helping to research heart disease and help those who had been affected by it.”
5. Sue Ryder
The charity that bears its founder’s name supports people with complex needs and life-threatening illnesses across the UK and internationally.
The charity relies heavily on donations to reach its £44 million annual running costs.
Many employees told Indeed about how rewarding it felt to work for Sue Ryder. “I would recommend anyone who is passionate about giving good care,” said one former employee, while another described how enjoyable it was to “work as part of a team to provide a high standard of care for people who need assistance to maintain independence and dignity.”