- What do charity fundraisers do?
- Charity fundraiser career path
- Charity fundraiser salaries
- Qualifications & training
- Charity fundraiser skills
- Pros and cons of being a charity fundraiser
- Charity fundraiser work-life balance
- Charity fundraiser employers
- Related jobs
Do you have the ability to rally a community for a great cause? Are you a proactive go-getter who is skilled at creating relationships and networking amongst a wide variety of people? If you are looking for a fulfilling career in the charity sector, then a career as a charity fundraiser may be for you.
Interested in a career as a charity fundraiser? Explore graduate opportunities in charity and social enterprise and take your first step towards a career in this exciting role.
What does a charity fundraiser do?
A charity fundraiser is responsible for the networking and communication of a cause with the ultimate goal of raising valuable funds for a charity. They are expected to explore all avenues for raising necessary funds, from community fundraising to applications of grant money. Most community fundraisers are expected to work across different income streams, however, you may have the option to specialise in one of five different types of fundraising.
- Trust and grants. You write and present proposals to grants or trusts who are offering a set amount of money for certain types of charities. These grants often have strict allocations for these funds, so proposals will need to be adapted for each application.
- Community fundraisers. These fundraisers go out into a community of volunteers and assist them in their events such as charity walks or tea and coffee mornings. This role requires someone with strong communication skills and the ability to maintain professional relationships.
- Corporate fundraisers. This role focuses on fundraising within businesses. This may be sponsorships or company-wide initiatives, such as placing collection pots across different stores.
- Legacy fundraising. Legacy fundraising is often the largest and most consistent income within a charity with supporters leaving a gift in their will to the charity.
- Major donors. This role involves working with high profile individuals who donate large sums. You will need to have the ability to network and work amongst high profile events.
Your day to day activities can be expected to be the following:
- Recruiting and organising volunteers, helping them to organise fundraising activities.
- Providing support and supplies to volunteers.
- Answering emails and calls.
- Developing a fundraising strategy for each quarter, working out how you will reach fundraising goals each month.
- Raise awareness of the charity through written material distribution or local community posts.
- Reach out to trusts and businesses.
- Present fundraising proposals to businesses, trusts or high profile donors.
- Manage and update CRM’s with volunteer and donor information.
- Attend training, conferences and meetings in relation to effective fundraising techniques.
Charity fundraiser career path
A career in charity fundraising starts one of two ways. If you are going in without any experience, you should expect to become a fundraiser in a volunteering capacity. You should think about taking leadership style projects, such as organising events and leading small groups of other volunteers.
Alternatively, you will start in an administrative capacity at the headquarters of a charity. You will assist the charity fundraisers out in the field by filtering emails, sending out fundraising materials such as charity pots and leaflets and helping at events within your headquarters.
Once you have built up experience and developed relationships with volunteers, you can progress to the role of a charity fundraiser. This may be a role still within your headquarters, but will more than likely see you taking on a geographical area. Within large charities, this may be down to counties, with smaller charities having you take ownership for fundraising across the whole country.
Eventually, you may decide to narrow down your role which allows for a couple of options. You may decide to go into a specific type of fundraising such as legacy or corporate fundraising. Alternatively, you may want to go into a more managerial role, organising a team of fundraisers across a larger geographical area.
The upper end of your career will see you taking on roles such as Head of Fundraising. In this role, you will be responsible for overseeing every income stream going into a charity. You will hold one to ones with charity fundraisers and discuss how they plan to meet their financial goals. The Head of Fundraising is the driving force of your charities fundraising with team morale falling to you.
Due to the flexible nature of this role, it is likely you will need to do a lot of travelling to attend high profile events, represent your charity and meet with high performing volunteers. You will be responsible for organising reward events and answering to the CEO of your charity, delivering presentations and growth proposals.
Charity fundraiser salaries
As is to be expected, salaries in the charity sector will be slightly lower than in the private sector. Bonuses or performance-related pay is not commonplace in the charity sector and is discouraged. However, with the right experience, salaries as a charity fundraiser can be as follows:
- Entry-level charity fundraisers can expect wages anywhere from £18,000 to £22,000 per annum.
- Experienced charity fundraisers with successful track records can earn between £25,000 and £40,000.
- As a head of fundraising or director salaries can reach as high as £60,000.
For a more in-depth look into charity sector salaries, take a look at our bright advice on salaries in the charity sector.
Qualifications and training
You do not need a specific degree to start your role as a charity fundraiser. However, a degree will create a stronger CV and show a level of skill when it comes to research, communication and application. Degrees in Marketing, PR or Sales will be useful when applying as they have transferable skills that are useful in fundraising roles.
You may consider furthering your chances by attending courses on fundraising. Educational bodies such as the Institute of Fundraising offer a multitude of courses.
Showing an aspiration towards fundraising will be a key part of your application and you will find that permanent employees within a charity were once volunteers or did their own fundraising in some way. Additionally, any experience within marketing, sales or finance will be beneficial as they also present transferable skills to the role of a charity fundraiser.
Charity fundraiser skills
The role of a charity fundraiser involves wearing many hats, so a variety of skills will be necessary. Here are some skills you will need as a charity fundraiser:
- IT. You will be in contact with a wide variety of people, doing an array of tasks at any time. This means using a CRM (customer relationship management) tool will be crucial for your role and something you should be confident with. Charities will often provide on-the-job training for their specific CRM provider.
- Time management. As you are the go-to for a variety of different tasks and projects, you will need to be able to manage your time efficiently and put your time where it matters most. It is also important to remain timely so you can help.
- Leadership. It will be your responsibility to rally volunteers and lead the way for events, communication and morale. You will be the first contact for new and existing volunteers. Brush up on your leadership skills with this Bright Network Academy course.
- Finance. You should be able to handle money efficiently and safely. This role will involve recording all forms of income including cash payments. You should be familiar with all forms of payments, including cheques. Some funds will be given with terms, for example, £500 given to be used specifically on fundraising equipment.
- Creativity. This sort of role gives you the chance to flex your creative muscles as you work out innovative ways to raise money. You will need to come up with marketing angles for new events relating to your cause. It often involves some design elements or proposals to HQ for charity wide initiatives.
For some more hints and tips on skills you need in the charity sector, have a read of our 8 skills and qualities you need to excel.
Pros and cons of being a charity fundraiser
- Flexibility. The role of a charity fundraiser has you organising your own workday. You decide where you need to be at any time, meaning every day is different and interesting.
- Job fulfilment. In this role, you know that everything you are doing is going to a good cause. You can often see the streams your money is being put into, giving you a first-hand view of the good you are doing for your chosen cause.
- Development. In this role, you will be constantly developing new skills to benefit your fundraising. You can expect training in sales, marketing and leadership.
- Work-life balance. This role will require you to work around the clock and will need someone to be very strict with their time so as not to hit burnout.
- Independent working. For some this may be a pro, however, due to the nature of the role, you will find you are not often in the office or may even be placed in a different part of the country. This means you may run into issues with support from HQ as you are not able to talk to your colleagues face to face.
- People management. Working with volunteers is a balancing act due to the fact they are donating their time and effort. It can be difficult to keep rebellious volunteers within charity guidelines.
Charity fundraiser work-life balance
The work-life balance of a charity fundraiser can be challenging. You will be expected to work office hours of 9am-5pm during weekdays however it will be very common to need to work outside of these hours. Events will often be on weekends, community meetings in the evenings and volunteer contact may fall outside of their own work hours.
In this role, it is important to log your time efficiently and to set expectations for your volunteers early on.