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Could collaboration be the answer to retention issues within your charity?

Posted on 25/05/2017 by

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TPP Recruitment are partnering with the Charities HR Network to research into 'Fundraising Recruitment, Retention and Reward', in a commitment to improve fundraising across the UK. HR Directors describe concerns across recruitment, retention, reward and development and there is a general desire to slow the recruitment market for fundraisers.

It is never more important to have skilled and suitably trained and developed staff in your Fundraising team. Retention has long been a challenge with the majority of fundraisers, certainly in urban areas, moving jobs every 19-20 months. And with evermore challenging regulation and scrutiny, retaining data management skills and organisational memory is critical.

We have contacted almost 800 senior professionals and responses continue to roll in. Early, top level responses show that 90% of organisations have recruited in the last year with a quarter reporting higher turnover than in the previous financial year.

Interestingly, cost per hire remained the same or decreased for two thirds of respondents with two reasons being “agreed rates with recruiters” and “an improved recruitment strategy” – this last point referring to increased use of digital strategies and more targeted campaigns.

Whilst organisational restructure or fixed-term cover were the main reasons for recruiting, a quarter said that replacing a bad hire from a cultural fit perspective had caused more recruitment. Whilst not the focus of the research, this highlights a constant recruitment challenge: how do you assess against organisational culture? The main reason cited for losing staff, however, was for career development reasons and this links well to the central aim of the research – what can be done to improve retention?

Despite the above, 85% of respondents said that they have an L&D budget for their Fundraisers and that this is spent fairly evenly across a variety of development channels. So, if organisations are investing already, what other retention tools might exist?

We asked about collaboration to gauge how embedding might affect retention. Research has shown that an onboarding programme helps new staff stay, and longer term efforts such as helping people get to know each other also reaps rewards. Respondents suggested only 20% of staff feel fully integrated within their organisation and whilst most said they felt their staff work collaboratively, less than half felt they worked much with their operational front line. There are clearly more opportunities to link fundraisers with output, increasing both their engagement and ability to generate support.

In fact, collaboration was a central theme at the recent Charities HR Network summit, with much discussion over how far informal partnerships with other charities could go. Whilst noting that organisations already collaborate across service delivery, sharing central administration costs and mutual mentoring programmes, discussion also ranged across joint fundraising, and this outside of COTY and Grant applications.

One other interesting result relates to the expected link between the above engagement strategies and retention. When asked, 94% of respondents felt that none impacted on retaining talent!

We will release more conclusions as the data sets build and we identify contemporary trends. Please contact us to partake, and be entered into a £200 prize draw towards a professional development programme, or with any specific questions you have regarding the research.

If you’re a senior professional working in the Not for Profit sector, please do spare 10 minutes to input to this important research. All respondents will be entered into a £200 prize draw - the CHRN and TPP will donate £200 towards a professional development programme for a member of your HR team.