Think you want a job in fundraising, but unsure where to begin? These 6 simple tips will help you get started and on your way to a career in the charity sector. By Jenny Ramage
Any kind of voluntary work is useful experience for your CV, but the closer you can get to the charity’s fundraising operations, the better. Some charities offer fantastic internships, but they are often full-time and are usually unpaid, so it’s not for everyone. A part-time role alongside your paid work might be more viable. Aim for smaller, local charities - they can often offer you a broader experience than the larger national ones.
You don’t need to be employed by a charity to be a fundraiser. Anyone can fundraise under their own steam. Find a cause you’d like to raise money for, and get out there and do it. Whether you hold a cake sale, host a coffee morning or shake a collection tin at a gig, it will give you hands-on experience you can talk about. It will also help you find out if you like the job! Fundraisers often suffer setbacks and don’t always meet targets - you need to know you can handle this.
Find out as much as you can about what is involved in fundraising as a career, what the various fundraising functions are, how they differ from one another and what skills they require. The internet is a vast, free resource - use it! Visit the SOFII, DSC, Small Charities Coalition and Institute of Fundraising websites. Read the various fundraising blogs, such as www.101fundraising.org and www.fundraisingdetective.com, and keep up to date with sector news.
Make full use of social media - particularly Twitter - and connect with other fundraisers out there. Many will be willing to give you some informal help, advice and support and to share their own experiences with you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help - you’ll find that people in the fundraising sector are generally very open.
Even if you do all of the above, remember it can be hard to secure a job as a fundraiser at entry level. Nor is that necessarily the best idea - a charity admin role could be more beneficial, as it will give you a great overview of all fundraising operations and be a springboard into your eventual fundraising role.
Most people who fail to achieve their goals do so because they give up. If you know you want to be a fundraiser, just plug away at it. Keep applying for jobs, and in the meantime continue volunteering, fundraising, researching and talking - and eventually you’ll get there.
Want to find out more about getting ahead in fundraising? Read how these top fundraisers got started in their careers!