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Fundraising Jobs are not for everyone – What makes a great fundraiser?

Recruiting the best people for your organisation is stating the obvious, but are you doing it? It is very easy to restrict your search by a person’s past experience with other charities and the salary scales that are expected they should fall within.

Let’s take that last point first, salary scales. You will of course be restricted by your own organisation’s salary levels but if possible you should not be constrained by salaries, and particularly what the outside fundraising market tells you. The most important thing you need to focus on is how good will they be at raising money for your organisation? Your charity is unique, and has completely different challenges to other organisations. In other words don’t fall into the trap of putting people into pigeon holes. Remember without fundraisers many charities would simply not be able to function, and some would close down. Why would you risk the charity’s future on recruiting less than the best? and that could mean looking outside the sector, or paying above the odds.

It could also just mean looking at what the universal skills sets are for every fundraiser, regardless of whether you are recruiting for a trust fundraiser, corporate or Major Gift fundraiser. The fundamental skill sets that all fundraisers need are the same.

What are the key skills you need to look for?

Okay so let’s start by saying actually this is not that easy. The two most important skills any fundraiser should have is great attention to detail and research skills, and secondly a willingness, even a desire to pick up the phone.

Why is that not easy?

Because these are totally different skill sets and to find them in one person is not easy.  This is probably why some large charities will have a researcher and a front desk fundraiser that can make the initial contact and follow through. However, if you cannot afford both, you really need to make sure that a 60/40 rule applies. That is 60 percent front desk sales skills, 40 percent research skills. This will mean a trust fundraiser will be calling up the administrators and talking with confidence about the charity and projects and a corporate fundraiser who has the art of pursasuation and  great presentation skills. Did I mention fundraising is equivalent to sales? Well it is, and so many charities and those working in fundraising forget. You need a strong pipeline, great organisational skills, super research, but above all they have to be willing and eager to pick up the phone and keep picking it up until they get through to who they want to speak to.

None of this is rocket science, but it’s easy to neglect the importance of great selling and communication skills. If you would like to find out how our team can give bespoke advice on how to recruit who you really need, please contact Tina on the contact page and she will be able to put you in touch with one of our consultants who would be happy to give you a free assessment.