News & Insight
13th November 2019
93% of charities struggling to recruit fundraisers
Philanthropy Company, Fundraisers of the Future survey, asked a group of 27 senior fundraisers for their insight into recruitment and retention in the sector.
In a climate of reduced government funding, charities and national bodies are increasingly turning to fundraising. Demand for experienced fundraisers is growing and yet the results released today show that charities are finding recruiting fundraisers increasingly challenging.
Fundraising from generous individuals, trusts and companies were shown to the most difficult to recruit for.
Reasons cited by expert fundraisers included:
- ‘a high churn of fundraisers who move for a small increase in salary without staying long enough to really make a difference’
- ‘fundraisers consistently feel under-valued by the board and senior management’
- Whilst there are some great training options offered by CASE and IoF, fundraisers outside London feel poorly served and those in small organisations report that training and development is ‘not seen as necessary’
- Fundraisers are expected to be a one size fits all and know how to do all parts of fundraising. ‘No one would expect that of a marketeer or HR professional, so why of us?’
- ‘some great consultants like Philanthropy Company provide training, coaching and mentoring which has a direct impact on our ability to raise funds but this is seen as a luxury and not an essential’
So, what makes a great fundraiser?
- 96% thought an ability to build great external and internal relationships is essential
- 68% thought a track record of success and striving towards results was crucial
- Just 46% regarded a commitment to the cause as critical to success
4 key areas were identified as essential to growing skill and attracting new fundraising talent:
- Training and personal development through formal courses, mentoring, and peer support
- Flexible working practices in line with modern management and working (some charities are very flexible but there are still those that lag behind. Anecdotal evidence suggests, this is partly to do with a lack of awareness at SMT and Trustee level of the expectations of the modern workforce
- Competitive salaries and benefits – particularly at management level
- Better understanding at Trustee level of the role that fundraisers play and the multiple skills involved in securing major gifts and sponsorships. (Many charity boards are now appointing senior fundraisers to help build awareness and expertise)
Amongst those who met last week at Philanthropy Company offices in Marylebone there was a consensus that a seismic shift is needed to bring in people with the right attributes and skills.
Encouragingly, those surveyed were overwhelmingly positive about the privilege of being a fundraiser and the opportunities it brings whilst at the same time being frustrated that the joys of being a fundraiser are largely unknown and undervalued by those at the beginning of their careers.
Lack of diversity in the sector is a key issue and several initiatives to address it are emerging, including the IoF’s welcome strategy.
Caroline Underwood OBE, CEO of Philanthropy Company, said:
‘I am hugely optimistic about the profession. Not only because of the steps that are being taken by professional bodies to grow awareness of fundraising, not only because of the increasing awareness of Trustees of their essential role in fundraising but mostly because a whole generation of young people are driven to make the world the better place working individually and collaboratively – this exemplifies the kind of drive, determination, focus and team work that we see in our best fundraisers and gives me hope for the next generation of talented fundraisers’.
Philanthropy Company is a fundraising consultancy dedicated to providing strategic advice, practical support and expert training for charitable organisations, philanthropists and corporate donors seeking to improve lives and transform futures. Do get in touch for an informal and confidential chat if you think we can help your organisation.
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