What is a Charity Fundraiser?
As a charity fundraiser, you will campaign to grow individual and group contributions for a charity by exploring fundraising opportunities. You will have to be a confident networker and be passionate about the cause you are supporting to ensure authenticity. Success in this role will heavily depend on your ability to form positive relationships.
Other than raising funds, another important responsibility is to raise awareness. You will need to be able to communicate your charity’s goals, aims and work, effectively. You will usually specialise in one particular area of donation however, in smaller charities you may cover several.
Your fundraising title will normally be categorised according to the types of donors you focus on:
- Corporate fundraisers raise money from businesses in various ways, from organising payroll giving to agreeing on sponsorship of major events. This may suit someone with a good understanding of business.
- Trust and statutory fundraisers bid for trust and grant money. This may appeal more to people who enjoy research and preparing proposals.
- Community fundraisers are the main point of contact for most mainstream fundraising involving members of the public. Community fundraising will suit those who can work with people from all walks of life and are keen to get involved in a variety of fundraising activities.
- Major donor fundraisers focus on developing relationships with key supporters who can donate high-value gifts. Often this is a role to which experienced fundraisers progress.
- Legacy fundraisers encourage supporters to consider leaving a gift to the charity in their will. This type of fundraising may suit people with an interest in law or accountancy.
As a charity fundraiser, you’ll need to:
- Motivate and facilitate supporters to maximise the funds they raise
- Inspire new supporters to raise money, while maintaining and developing relationships with existing supporters
- Organise traditional activities, such as sponsored outdoor events and house-to-house collections of donated goods and money
- Develop new and imaginative fundraising activities, many of which involve organising events
- Raise awareness of the charity and its work at local and national levels, e.g. Giving talks to groups or seeking photo opportunities with the media
- Develop and coordinate web-based fundraising, online auctions and merchandise sales
- Increase funds by researching and targeting charitable trusts whose criteria match the charity’s aims and activities
- Develop and implement a strategy for individual and corporate supporter recruitment and development
- Recruit, organise and manage volunteers to carry out various functions within the charity
- Oversee corporate fundraising, including employee giving and matched giving from employers
- Manage and update databases to record donor contact and preference information
- Write applications and mailshots, using direct mailing to reach a range of potential and current donors
- Carry out risk analysis and balance time-cost ratios to focus effort on the fundraising activities that are most appropriate and will have the highest chance of success.
Some charity fundraising work can be undertaken voluntarily, this is often seen in older volunteers who have retired from their previous careers.
However, if seeking a paid role, starting salaries can range between £15,000 to £22,000. More senior fundraisers can earn anywhere between £25,000 to £40,000. Directors can earn up to £60,000+. Due to the nature of the work, performance-related pay is uncommon although not completely unheard of. You may be eligible for other benefits such as a company car or company away days. According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a charity fundraiser is £24,861.
You should expect to work around 35 hours per week, but this will vary depending on the charity and whether you are a volunteer or paid. Larger charities are open to flexible working but you may also be required to work unsociable hours. Events, meetings and campaign days are common. Around 40% of voluntary sector staff work part-time. Job-sharing and career breaks are possible. Self-employment and freelance consultancy are possible, usually after a few years experience.
What to expect
- Fundraisers are increasingly based at home with regional offices, which may be some distance away. You’ll be expected to be out meeting supporters for a significant portion of your time.
- Charity Job and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) both report that around 70% of staff in the voluntary sector are women.
- Short-term contracts are common, especially in event fundraising, and this can result in job uncertainty.
- Vacancies arise throughout the UK, although most opportunities occur in larger population centres. Some types of fundraising, such as corporate and major giving, are more commonly based in London.
- You may be required to travel frequently during the day, with occasional absence from home overnight.
To be a charity fundraiser you do not need any qualifications. Having a degree may give you an advantage and for some more senior roles, it may be required. A qualification or experience in marketing, media or business may also be helpful. There are also training courses available which can bolster your application.
must have skills:
- Commitment to your charity’s cause
- The ability to build and maintain relationships
- Creativity, imagination and an entrepreneurial attitude toward fundraising
- A proactive attitude, drive and enthusiasm to carry out projects to conclusion
- The ability to influence others using excellent communication skills
- The capability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
- The ability to meet financial targets
- Good organisational and project management skills
- The ability to motivate others and work as part of a team
- Resilience, particularly when faced with setbacks
- Sensitivity to the needs of volunteers and donors
- A willingness to carry out a range of administrative tasks.
Previous work experience where you are able to demonstrate transferable skills are desirable. Before looking to apply you should seek opportunities to gain this experience, universities will have charities that you can get involved with.
You may also want to consider doing voluntary work or consider shadowing opportunities in departments such as marketing, publication relations, events, advertising, sales and finance. Some larger charities offer internships, which can provide valuable work experience and sometimes lead to permanent posts.
Typical employers are charities, although their size, structure and purpose vary tremendously. Other organisations that employ fundraisers include:
- Educational establishments
- Arts organisations
- Political parties
- Other local, national and international fundraising agencies.
Most of your training will take place on the job and be prepared to get stuck in from the get-go. You will be given lots of responsibility and have the opportunity to work in different roles. Short courses may be offered which are designed for the not-for-profit sector. These include foundation-level courses, to specialist and experienced fundraiser courses.
You will be eligible for greater opportunity to progress if you work within a larger charity, but this may be specialised. However, in smaller charities, your career progression may not be as quick but you will have the opportunity to gain an excellent breadth of experience due to being responsible for a range of fundraising activities.
Your career path in fundraising might involve moving from volunteering to fundraising officer, then to fundraising manager, head of fundraising in a small charity or a middle management role in a large charity. Eventually becoming a director of fundraising in a small charity, or head of a fundraising department in a large charity.
Studying towards a BA (Hons) in International Business sets students up with the necessary skills to work in a range of professions. The course involves working closely with academic theory and practical case studies, allowing students to grasp how the theory can be applied in real business scenarios.
Within this programme, students will cover modules such as business studies, finance, human resource management, marketing, and economics. BA International Business takes a very hands-on approach to learning by incorporating workshops, guest lectures and field trips into the programme.
Other related courses include:
Postgraduate related courses:
The MBA component of the course takes a broad look at business practice and functions such as accounts, finance, and HR – and how they are all interlinked. This allows students to grasp the importance of strategy and communication within a managerial role.
Alongside a broad business view, this course allows students to specialise in digital marketing in a more focused way. The marketing aspect of the programme is intended to allow professionals with substantial digital marketing experience to hone their skills to enhance their career prospects. Areas of study include digital marketing strategy, management, social media marketing, search engine optimisation, pay-per-click, email and influencer marketing.