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Recently, we have spoken to numerous people looking to move into fundraising from both senior and junior positions outside of the sector. This is good news for the sector, professionals in other industries often have good transferable skills and experience that would be beneficial in fundraising and can bring innovative ideas. However, with such a variety of roles within fundraising it can be a challenge to know where to start. These are our top tips for moving into fundraising.
Know the area you want to move into
Fundraising is a big sector with many different divisions for you to work in. Some of the areas to consider are:
Director / Head of Fundraising
Trust / Statutory
Make sure you research each area in full to gain a better understanding of the entire sector whilst giving you ideas for fields that may be best suited to your current skillset.
Know your transferable skills
Fundraising roles usually require a wide array of skills, many of which are directly transferable from other sectors. Understanding the role of a fundraiser and giving clear examples of how the skills you already have can be utilised will help your potential new employer picture how you would perform in this role.
For instance, have you any examples of times where you have saved or generated money for an organisation? Have you ever been involved in fundraising events externally or with your current organisation? These are all things that will help show that whilst you may lack experience in the fundraising sector specifically, you have a keen interest and have skills that could benefit them.
One of the key skills for any fundraiser is being able to effectively communicate with your chosen audience. This can vary widely for each area of fundraising, for example direct marketing roles will require you to be able to write compelling copy for a large group of people, whereas trusts and foundations would need you to be able to adapt your writing style depending on which organisation you’re requesting funding from. It is important to recognise your own strengths when deciding which area of fundraising to focus on.
Do your research
Never underestimate the importance of doing your research on the charity you are applying to. Having an in-depth knowledge of the charity will help you answer any questions you may be asked in a fundraising interview and prove to your potential new employer that you truly care about moving into this new field.
Start by checking the accounts listed on the charity commission website as they give the fullest picture of an organisation. Visit their website, Google them and read their annual report. Doing that little bit of extra research could be the difference that will help get your foot through the door.
Know your motivators
Whilst having a passion for the cause of the charity you are applying to helps, it should not be the only motivating factor. It is important to make sure the organisations working environment align with your values. This is particularly important if coming from a corporate role where the environment is likely to be very different.
So, find a charity whose cause resonates and sparks a passion in you and then read the charity’s annual report. This will give you insight into their impact, financial position, and range of fundraising opportunities. You’ll also get insight of the strategy moving forward.
Moving into fundraising from outside of the sector can be a challenge. Some organisations are well set up to support the transition and have done so successfully in the past. Other organisations may not have the time or capacity to provide the support and training needed. A good recruiter will be able to advise you on where might be the best fit for you. They can match your skills and talents with an organisation that could support and nurture your growth. If you are looking to move into fundraising from another sector and would like further advice, the Fundraising & Development team at TPP Recruitment are on hand to answer any questions you may have. Get in touch on 020 7198 6040 or firstname.lastname@example.org.