Interview with Jason Suckley – director of fundraising and marketing, Sue Ryder


Q. What is the not-for-profit market like at the moment?

The economy isn’t growing and public sector expenditure is decreasing, so we should see an increase in the need for beneficiaries. Charities need to do more with less and fundraising is the way to make this work. Charities are always looking for more fundraisers because uncertainty in the economy means less people are donating.

Q. Where are your main areas of opportunity to grow the business?

Sue Ryder is currently seeing growth in regional and community, major donor and legacies.

Q. How do you differentiate yourselves from the competition?

We believe our fundraising should use Sue Ryder’s cause as our unique selling point. The message needs to be clear and concise and readily understood. We provide care for a broad range of conditions and diagnoses, right up to death.

Q. What do you think will the biggest growth area in the coming years?

Major donors are an area to be utilised. This derives from a lack of skills in this area at the moment, so up skilling will grow the market place.
Individual giving is a mature program but events might see some growth. Growth in legacies will come from more effective marketing and the ability to use channels, like the retail network, more effectively.

Q. What are the main funding challenges and how are you trying to overcome them?

People are uncertain about the future and whether there will be less money and higher competition for donations. There is also a lack of good candidates in fundraising. We now need to look to the consumer market and private sector to build strong relationships with people across a number of channels, and push major donor growth. It’s important to make sure that your charity has a clear point of distinction; what makes it different? It’s also worth looking to the commercial sector for staff; we can attract these candidates by making salaries attractive and at the premium end of the market.
I’d advise charities to ensure their senior level employees are involved in the recruitment process before they begin hiring. Recruitment is a two way process, candidates need to buy into the organisation.

Q. Do you think not-for-profit sector experience is essential when you are hiring, or would you consider potential employees with the right transferable skills?

I would consider people from outside of the sector because fundraising is not always a well regarded career. We need to lose the negative image some people have of us and be more attractive to people within the commercial sector.

Q. What are three qualities you look for when hiring marketing professionals for your team?

I want the candidate to want the job; I need to see their hunger. I also want to see evidence of their achievements, such as financial achievements, both across fundraising and marketing roles. Even those that have worked in brand, for example, I need to have proof and figures.
Another quality I look to is their behaviour and attitude; they must be able to develop strong relationships on 360 degree levels and be good collaborators.