- 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
Can you rally a community around 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.
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 into 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 companywide 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 in 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 CRMs (customer relationship managers) with volunteer and donor information.
- Attend training, conferences and meetings in relation to effective fundraising techniques.
A career in charity fundraising starts one of two ways. If you’re 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 could start in an administrative capacity at the headquarters of a charity. You assist the charity fundraisers out in the field by filtering emails, sending out fundraising materials such as charity pots for collecting donations 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 charity fundraiser. This may be a role still within your headquarters but will more than likely see you taking on a geographical area. With large charities, this could be counties but with smaller charities, you could take ownership for fundraising across the whole country.
Eventually, you may decide to focus your work on one aspect of charity work. You may decide to specialise in one 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 have meetings with charity fundraisers working with you and discuss how they plan to meet their financial goals. The Head of Fundraising is the driving force of your charity’s 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. You represent your charity at these events 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.
As is to be expected, the salaries in the charity sector will be slightly lower than the private sector. Bonuses or performance related pay is not commonplace in the charity sector and is often 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 out our bright advice on salaries in the charity sector.
You don’t 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 you can apply 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 charity fundraiser.
The role of 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 into where it matters most.
- 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 across all forms of payments, including cheques. Some funds will be given with terms, for example, someone may donate with a requirement for a certain amount 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 schemes 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.
- 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 positive part of being a charity fundraiser. However, due to the nature of the role, you may not often be in the office or may even be placed in a different part of the country. This means you could 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. Making sure that volunteers who are passionate about the cause but have their own way of doing things are kept in check and stick to the charity’s objectives can be tricky.
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, you may find yourself work outside of these hours regularly. Events often fall on weekends, community meetings in the evenings and volunteer contact whenever the volunteer can spare time.