Raising money can be both satisfying and fun, whether you're baking cakes for charity, or selling unwanted possessions to raise funds for yourself.
If you’ve always enjoyed raising money, you can do it as a proper career. Most organisations, particularly charities, need help to raise money so they can continue their good work. And that's where a fundraising manager comes in.
So, what will I actually be doing?
In short, a fundraising manager is responsible for raising money on behalf of organisations - often non-profit groups such as charities. Fundraising managers bring in the dough. It’s your job to deliver workable ideas to hit the dreaded annual targets and then turn it into a reality. Using a range of promotional methods and campaigns, you’ll work hard to raise money either from generous individuals or secured grants.
The nitty gritty
As with most jobs in this sector, your daily activities will differ depending on the size of the organisation you’re working for.
If you choose to work for a massive charity then you’ll specialise in a particular area. If it’s a small organisation you’ll be given a range of responsibilities. Either way, you’ll be kept busy raising as much money as humanly possible.
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Money, money, money
Don’t believe the myth, not all charity work is voluntary or unpaid. When you first start fundraising, you can earn around £15,000-£20,000 a year. If you then decide to become a manager, you can expect to earn around £25,000-£28,000 a year. Depending on your experience, your role, your location and the organisation you work for, you could earn anything from £20,000 to £55,000.
If you’re looking to move up in your fundraising career, then your best bet is moving into different managerial roles as you grow within the job. You could move onto being a director or head of fundraising where, depending on the size of the organisation, you could earn around £43,500 a year and make a huge difference to the companies you work for. Or you could use your fundraising experience and go into marketing and PR or sales.
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The good points...
Fundraising jobs are very versatile. One day you could be in charge of hosting a massive fundraising event with champagne and people in pretty frocks, the next you could be giving a presentation you’ve written yourself asking for a grant. You’ll need to put your heart and soul into each fundraising activity and work with the rest of the fundraising team to make it a complete success but it can be incredibly rewarding given the good causes you could be helping.
...and the bad
When it comes to working hours, it’s around 40 to 48 hours a week depending on the organisation and location, although you could be expected to work evenings and weekends, too.
Is there study involved?
Being a fundraising manager is more about being confident and outgoing than having lots of qualifications. If school was never your thing, don’t worry. There aren’t any essential qualifications that you need but as with most jobs these days, work experience can do wonders.
If you can gain experience or qualifications in marketing, PR or sales, you’ll stand out and earn some skills that you can use as a fundraising manager. If you want to work for a charity then it’s definitely a good idea to do some volunteer work, too. If you want more than just work experience, you can attend foundation courses run by The Institute of Fundraising, who will teach you the basics. If you’re more experienced in the sector then you can study for a Certificate in Fundraising Management, which is the equivalent to a NVQ/SVQ level 4.
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OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
You could find yourself doing some or all of the following…
- Developing strategies and setting goals to hit fundraising targets
- Finding people to donate money
- Keeping in touch with existing donors and stakeholders
- Budgeting incoming and outgoing money (very much like life)
- Writing proposals that could attract money, including applications for grants
- Preparing and giving presentations (hello PowerPoint)
- Liaising with the fundraising team
- Overseeing events and campaigns
And that's just for starters!