Charities and not-for-profit organisations rely on donations and funding, and they employ fundraisers to help keep these coming in. Fundraising is a paid role: it's not the same as shaking a bucket in the street as a volunteer (although fundraisers may organise street collections and help out).
Typical responsibilities include:
- approaching businesses, local authorities, trusts and individuals to secure funding
- organising and helping with fundraising activities such as sponsored or promotional events, house-to-house and street collections
- recruiting volunteers and coordinating their work
- planning donation campaigns and events.
Coming up with new ways to acquire funding – through events, online advertising or legacy-giving campaigns, for example – is a particularly important part of the job. In smaller organisations, fundraisers may need to manage communications and events for donors as well.
- Not-for-profit organisations
Vacancies in small organisations are likely to be advertised locally. Look in community news sources (such as charity newsletters and websites), and contact your local volunteer bureau or council for voluntary service for ideas.
Jobs in larger organisations may be advertised in the national press and on specialist websites such as Charity Times and Third Sector. The Institute of Fundraising also advertises jobs and runs courses for fundraisers and aspiring fundraisers.
Some recruitment agencies specialise in charity jobs. Search their websites and consider registering with agencies advertising jobs that appeal to you.
There are routes into becoming a charities fundraiser for both graduates and school leavers.
For graduates, any degree is acceptable for entry into the profession. However, qualifications in management, marketing, communications or public relations may be helpful.
Voluntary work with a charity or not-for-profit will strengthen your application. It'll demonstrate that you have some understanding of how the voluntary sector operates, and how funding and donations help keep organisations running. Look for opportunities via your university or contact your local volunteer bureau. You can also search national websites such as Do-It and TimeBank.
To find out about other careers in charity that you can get into via a school leaver route (eg an apprenticeship or school leaver programme) see the public sector section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
Recruiters look for candidates who are confident and organised. Other essential skills and qualities include:
- sales and negotiation abilities
- communication skills
- IT and social media skills
- good organisation
- administrative and project management skills
- the ability to build and maintain professional relationships
- creative thinking
- the ability to solve problems.