The best podcasts to improve your VCSE organisation and career development

Hand in grey sweatshirt holding pink headphones on pink background
Image Credit: 
Raw Pixel
5 July, 2021


As pandemic recovery rolls on, it may still be some time before you’re back in the workplace with all your colleagues and attending face-to-face events. Things might be a little too quiet right now, after 16 months of COVID-19 work patterns and solo coffee breaks.

If you feel you’re missing out on the kind of VCSE sector information and career development that you’d usually pick up from office conversations or from networking events and talks, we recommend trying some of these podcasts, full of useful conversations to spark ideas and get you thinking. Listen on through your web browser, through a podcast platform (such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Soundcloud), or download episodes to catch up later on your smartphone or tablet.

Good Charity Bad Charity, by The Business School (formerly Cass)  
Hot topics: Social justice; structural inequality; charity shops; the role of faith charities; collaboration.

Produced in association with the Centre for Charity Effectiveness, this sharply-titled podcast interviews leaders from all types of charity, from site-specific (Welsh National Opera; Pembroke House; Elthorne Pride) to communities of interest (Bloody Good Period; Muslim Charities Forum; Prison Radio Association) and household names (Age UK; BBC Children in Need; British Red Cross). We also hear from policy-makers and funders, too.

Third Sector Podcast, by Third Sector 
Hot topics: Sexual harassment in fundraising; returning to the office after lockdown; hidden disabilities and charity leadership; job hunting; Giving Tuesday.

This is a weekly podcast of “quick-fire conversation”, with new episodes released every Friday, and each episode lasting roughly 25-40 minutes. It’s run by two Third Sector staff: Rebecca Cooney, Senior Features and Analysis Writer; and Emily Burt, Editor. The hosts make a point of including good news stories about the VCSE sector in each episode, even when tackling thorny issues such as Brexit, sector pay, preventing burnout, and climate change.

Leadership Worth Sharing, by ACEVO 
Hot topics: Anti-racism in the charity sector; listening to your communications team; power dynamics in charities; leading with feminist principles.

ACEVO stands for the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, so ACEVO’s podcast is, as you’ve probably guessed, all about leaders. ACEVO members come from organisations of all sizes, and the podcast takes the same approach: you’ll recognise some big names, like Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award, and Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, but there are lots more local organisation leaders profiled as well.

The Charity CEO Podcast, by Dhivya O’Connor 
Hot topics: Creating change; what equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) really means; Corporate Social Responsibility; food poverty; youth unemployment; maternity leave.

We’re in awe of host Dhivya’s ability to multi-task; she launched this podcast in 2020 whilst on maternity leave, she’s currently interim CEO of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, and also a current charity trustee, with experience in philanthropy, fundraising and NGOs. Her podcast guests include Julie Bentley, CEO of Samaritans; Sophie Livingstone MBE, Managing Director of Trustees Unlimited; and Girish Menon, then CEO of Action Aid, now CEO of STiR Education.

CIPD Podcast, by CIPD
Hot topics: Post-Brexit recruitment; challenging systemic racism at work; digital fatigue; wellbeing for remote workers; workplace conflict.

This isn’t a VCSE sector-specific podcast, but one that focuses on all types of professional development, from equality, diversity and inclusion to human resources. If your role involves managing others, making hiring decisions, developing the organisation or focusing on diversity, you’ll find this podcast useful, even if you don’t have an HR department. Transcripts are available for each episode.

Bristol Unpacked, by The Bristol Cable 
Hot topics: Racism; ageism and the intergenerational divide; the city’s carbon footprint and the green movement; knife crime. 

Our local podcast recommendation comes from one of Bristol’s thriving independent newspapers, The Bristol Cable. Many of the stories covered by the newspaper and its website address topics that are important to the VCSE sector, such as the environment, poverty, addiction issues, and equalities groups. This is matched by the podcast content, too. Host Neil Maggs talks to community leaders, local councillors, and creatives.

Do you have a podcast recommendation that should be on our list? Contact us on Facebook or Twitter.