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Getting into Fundraising

Posted on 11/12/2016 by Jo Hodge


What is Fundraising?

A charity's work simply wouldn't be possible without committed and innovative fundraisers. They are responsible for achieving a money-raising target by approaching trusts, corporations, statutory bodies, major donors, individuals and by running events. In larger charities, the role is likely to be specialised on one particular source. In smaller charities, a fundraiser may work several sources.

Fundraisers work with individuals, communities, businesses and charitable trusts to raise awareness of the charity's work, aims and goals. Ultimately, their job is to increase the contributions of those individuals and groups by building relationships and exploring new fundraising ideas.

Building a career in fundraising

Fundraising is similar to marketing and sales, so individuals with this background should have relevant transferable skills. Volunteering as a fundraiser for a charity may also help you get your foot in the door and secure yourself a temporary or permanent job within the organisation.

Here is summary of skills required to be a good Fundraiser:

Good communication skills: Both verbal and written. Creative, persuasive, concise and articulate copy will prove effective in persuading people to give.

Research: using the internet, phone, CD ROMs and library resources.

Database and IT Skills: Managing information is crucial, profiles of companies and donors, trusts, names of contacts, and criteria for giving will all need to be recorded on a database.

Organisational skills: An ability to manage a number of things at once is vital.

Budgeting: All fundraisers are likely to look after their own budget.

Relationship building: To encourage a commitment to funding.

Presentation skills: To schools, local companies and churches.

Account Handling: Servicing a company, ensuring they are happy with the scheme and are kept well informed of progress and success.

Opportunism: The ability to see a potential relationship.

People Management: Good relations with volunteers are vital. Being able to support and motivate volunteers is necessary to ensure they are happy.

Direct Marketing: A popular marketing tool.

Enthusiasm and commitment: You must really believe and be committed to the cause you are addressing.

Day to Day in Fundraising

Fundraising's main streams of income generation can be split into Corporate FundraisingTrust FundraisingFoundation and Statutory FundraisingMajor Donor FundraisingLegacy FundraisingEvents FundraisingCommunity Fundraising and Direct Marketing/Individual Giving.

Corporate Fundraising

Involves the raising of income from the corporate sector, specifically through large-scale integrated charity of the year partnerships, employee fundraising & volunteering, payroll giving and CRM (cause related marketing) campaigns.

Corporate Fundraisers will be expected to build relationships with relevant corporate bodies and produce compelling bids and deliver pitches to win new corporate sponsorship income.

Trust, Foundation and Statutory Fundraising

Income generated through detailed written applications to grant making trusts, foundations & statutory funders (government).

Such roles involved a high level of research and a deep understanding of specific programmes or services provided by the charity. Fundraisers are required to develop and nurture relationships with funders through regular reporting and feedback on income investment.

Major Donor Fundraising

Income is generated through the identification and cultivation of high net worth individuals who have an affiliation or personal interest in the charity's cause.

Major Donor Fundraisers match prospects to relevant projects and strategically plan the level and most effective form of approach to engage appropriate prospects and donors on a one to one tailored basis and develop strong personal relationships.

Legacy Fundraising

Involves an in memorandum donation from life long supporters of the charity. Fundraisers can nurture and develop face to face relationships with individuals or ask their supporters to consider leaving a bequest gift through mailings or adverts.

Legacy Fundraisers also manage a wide range of external relationships including solicitors, will executors and family of the deceased, probate offices and co-beneficiaries.

Events Fundraising

Fundraising events range widely from fetes and celebrity galas through to sponsored sports & running events, challenge and overseas treks, entertainments and fashion shows. Such events are organised to raise money and raising awareness of the cause often building contacts and supporter networks for the charities involved.

Events Fundraisers usually require experience of working in an events department within a charity and must be able manage limited budgets in order to successfully meeting income targets.

Community Fundraising

Fundraisers in the community ensure that fundraising activity is implemented and managed locally usually in line with a charity's national and regional strategy.

They support and develop volunteer networks and fundraising groups across their local area, ensuring that fundraising events, activities and collections run effectively and are marketed and supported in the community.

Direct Marketing/Individual Giving

Charities will use various methods of direct marketing including face to face, door to door, telemarketing and direct mail to recruit, acquire, retain and develop income from individual cash and regular givers.

Fundraisers in this stream have direct marketing experience and work closely with agencies to deliver direct marketing campaigns and utilise supporter databases for reporting and data analysis.