But the sector has also raised its game considerably when it comes to offering paid work. According to the latest statistics from the NCVO, about 611,000 people - or 2.2 per cent of the UK's entire paid workforce - are now employed in charities or voluntary organisations, which is a 14.9 per cent increase on the same figure in 2000. The growth continues - non-profit organisations, on average, take on an extra 16,000 paid staff every year.
For more statistical analysis of charity work and how it is evolving, take a look at Andy Ricketts' 'Anatomy of the voluntary sector' on pages four to six. Here you'll find a breakdown of data from five major pieces of research, offering insight into everything from training and development to levels of job satisfaction.
Interestingly, one of the statistics highlighted in this piece concerns part-time work. As Ricketts points out, about 39 per cent - or 236,000 staff - are now part-timers, compared with 29 per cent in the public sector and only 23 per cent in the private sector. Such findings demonstrate that the sector is perhaps one of the most forward-thinking when it comes to flexible working arrangements. There will, undoubtedly, be some who remain sceptical about the benefits of a part-time workforce. If you're one of these, turn to pages 13 and 14. Here, Vivienne Riddoch explores how staff and charities alike can make the best of flexible working arrangements, citing examples from voluntary organisations - both large and small - that have taken advantage of them. She offers seven key initial steps for people who are thinking of going part-time.
Elsewhere in the supplement, you'll find an article on securing your next job (see pages nine and 10), a series of career-related questions and answers with people in different kinds of jobs in the sector (pages 16 to 18) and a feature on moving into a management role for the first time (see pages 21 to 22). There are even two features aimed squarely at those who are hoping to progress to chief executive level. And for anyone looking for a little light relief, we conclude with a piece from Third Sector columnist John Burnell on how to muck up any progression plans you ever had (see page 30).
Ultimately, the point of this supplement is to help you make a success of your career in the voluntary sector. Here's to making 2008 the most productive year yet in your working life.