How to get ahead in fundraising

As charities embrace new technology and social channels, opportunities are emerging for fundraising departments to diversify their routes to market and for fundraisers to develop a wider skill set.
At Michael Page Marketing we’ve seen dramatic changes in the fundraising market in recent years. Issues such as government funding not being as readily available means charities are relying more on voluntary income donations. As consumers want to know exactly where their money is being spent, charities feel the need for bigger and more competitive campaigns, which means there is a demand for skilled fundraisers.
Recent developments in the way charities run their fundraising campaigns could mean an increase in demand for candidates. Charities are setting up what they term ‘innovation’ departments or teams, whose job it is to come up with ideas for new campaigns. Making campaigns more innovative and exciting is important in a very competitive market. It’s also essential that fundraising and marketing work closely together; getting campaigns off the ground quickly can make them more successful.

What type of candidate is most in demand?

The focus in fundraising is becoming increasingly digital, known as e-fundraising. It’s a great solution for charities because they have the ability to reach a wide audience in a more cost-effective way. Social media is already a big part of this and will only get bigger; lots of larger charities have already invested in or are recruiting social media managers and a team under them. Many smaller charities engaging with technological advances have digital officers that focus on social media too. This does mean charities need to be really on the ball, moving and reacting quickly with their campaigns.
With this in mind the candidates that are the most in demand are those with an understanding of digital, fundraising streams and e-marketing.

Your fundraising career

One of the best ways to get ahead in this sector is doing an internship. There are a lot out there because charities always need a helping hand, but they’re highly competitive.
Before entering the market, think carefully about which division of fundraising you’d like to go into, e.g. major donors or corporate partnerships, because skills don’t always transfer well if you wish to change divisions.
For those that wish to enhance their skills in these areas the Institute of Fundraising offer certificates and training as part of their IoF Professional Qualifications, from introductory courses to diplomas. They are a great way of candidates advancing their skill set and insight into the industry.
We’ve also found that many of our candidates are professionals looking to move from corporate roles to fundraising, so there is even more competition for roles. There has been a particular trend of those with a marketing background moving into corporate partnerships, as skills are very transferable. But more than anything we’ve noticed these candidates wanting a better work/life balance and lots of people are leaving their commercial roles to work for an organisation where they feel they are doing some good.
If you’re already working as a fundraiser and have been at junior level for 2-4 years, it’s worth asking your employer if you can rotate roles, thereby developing your knowledge of other areas of fundraising and building your experience.
To speak to someone about fundraising roles or hiring please don’t hesitate to contact someone from our not-for-profit division of Michael Page Marketing.