A head of fundraising works for a charity or other not for profit body, such as a university, coordinating its fundraising activities and managing a team of fundraisers. Heads of fundraising devise and implement a fundraising strategy of income-generating activities, aiming to meet or surpass an income target.
They usually work under a head of fundraising or departmental head in community, major donor, event, corporate or trust fundraising sections. Fundraising executives contact potential donors and account manage existing donor relationships. They organise events, arrange meetings, record donor relationships and gifts and work to achieve or exceed a fundraising target..
Typically a fundraising executive will:
- Undertake research on prospective corporate, major, trust and public donors
- Help develop new fundraising products and events and market them
- Cold call potential donors and build relationships with them
- Update donors on how their money is being spent
- Research and write case studies on the impact of the organisation’s work
- Respond to inquiries from trusts, corporates and members of the public
- Write funding applications to trusts and foundations or charity of the year proposals to corporates
- Write reports for trusts and foundations on the use of existing grants
- Maintain and update donors’ records on a fundraising database
- Write internal reports, analysing fundraising progress on a monthly or periodic basis
- Organise and take part in strategy and planning meetings with other members of the fundraising team
- Arrange fundraising events and tours of the charity’s projects for potential donors
- Liaise with external agencies such as telephone or street fundraising agencies
- Excellent communication skills: Written and verbal communication skills are a necessity. Fundraising executives have to write reports and funding applications and persuade prospective donors of the virtue of their cause
- Good numerical skills: Fundraising executives have to work to a budget and reach financial targets, regularly reporting on both
- Sound organisational abilities: Fundraising executives have to work to deadlines, handle multiple donor accounts simultaneously and keep a record of donations
- Negotiation skills: You need to possess the ability to persuade donors of the need to give and answer questions about the impact of your organisation
- IT skills: Sound knowledge of database management is a prerequisite
- Teamwork skills: As a fundraising executive, you need to be an effective part of a team with the overriding aim of maximising donations
Variable. For some posts, only GCSE Maths and English is required. Other employers want A-levels and some desire an undergraduate degree. Marketing and finance are the most appropriate subjects. Some charities want their fundraising executives to be members of the Institute of Fundraising.
Experience in fundraising is highly desirable. However, experience in sales can be an effective substitute. Any job where the public or suppliers have to be persuaded to make a purchase indicates a transferrable skill.
£19,000 - £30,000 per annum.
Basic office hours of 9:00am-5.30pm. Fundraising executives may also have to attend occasional evening or weekend events to network with prospective donors. Occasional travel is required.
Career opportunitiesYour next careers steps may include:
- Fundraising manager
- Trusts and foundations fundraising manager
- Corporate partnerships manager
- Major donor fundraising manager
A head of fundraising executive's perspective
"Working as a fundraising executive in a large charity is very rewarding - I'm responsible for developing and marketing new fundraising products to attract and engage new supporters, which in turn enables us to help even more people affected by cancer. In such a busy marketplace it can be tough to stand out, so we're always thinking creatively of new ways and channels through which we can engage our audiences, which brings great variety to the role.
At Macmillan, I've been able to work on established products, as well as new fundraising campaigns right from the planning stage to the national roll out, which is really exciting."
- Suzie Yarroll, National Events Marketing Programme Manager, Macmillan Cancer Support