Entry Level Guide to Fundraising: Part 6

So you’ve got your first job in fundraising – or, at least, you’re well on your way. But you’re not done yet: you want to be the best fundraiser you can be. Where do you go from here to continue your learning?

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of accessible places you might look next…


  1. SoFII – the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration, which breaks down some of the best examples of modern fundraising into bite size chunks. They also have an incredible reading list.
  2. The IoF website – the Institute of Fundraising have a huge amount more content from introductions to each key area of fundraising (such as community and corporates) to a jobs board and more.
  3. Fundraising UK – a free fundraising news website that details what’s going on in the sector, from new corporate partnership round-ups to which celebs are supporting what causes.


  1. Fixing Fundraising – a personal plug for my other project, in which Tom DeFraine and I hash out the biggest pet peeves of the fundraising sector.
  2. Simon Scriver’s Ultimate Amazing Superstar Fundraising Podcast – in particular his ‘quick tips’ that deliver personal development in 10 minute chunks.


  1. The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong – a TED talk famous in both challenge event and corporate fundraising circles that teaches you some of the barriers you might come up against in your career.
  2. IWITOT 2018 (skip to 11:05) – a series of 7 minute talks of fundraisers who love an idea so much they wish they could claim it was their idea; great for inspiration when starting a new role.


  1. IoF Intro to Fundraising – the Institute of Fundraising run a one day introduction to the wider world of fundraising at a £75 price tag, which you can read all about here.
  2. FSI course on your area of fundraising – the Foundation for Social Improvement focus on supporting small charities, but if you can get a volunteer position these courses can be £15 incredibly well spent. You can see their upcoming list here.


  1. Fundraising Chat – one of the best resources a fundraiser can have – often referred to as the ‘hive mind’ of UK fundraising, this Facebook group isn’t one to miss.
  2. Your IoF SIG (Special Interest Group) – networks for people specialising in a particular type of fundraising, which you can find more on here.
  3. Twitter – can be an incredibly good network for fundraisers. I recommend starting by following Howard Lake, Richard Sved, Mandy Johnson & Nikki Bell.

We hope you enjoyed this guide – it was put together by Andy King and the incredible people of the fundraising sector who hope you’ll be the next bright spark in our field.

Thanks go to (in order of appearance): Andreas Avram, Karlie Evans, Konna Beeson, Laura Horton, Katie Endacott, Tom DeFraine, Calum Coker, Vicky Wallace, Lindsay Harrod, Ikhlaq Hussein, Vic Hancock Fell, Chris Richardson Wright, Emily Casson, Alison Pritchard, Dawn Ballard and Amber Madden.

You can return to the main post of the guide here.

Entry Level Guide to Fundraising: Part 5

You know where you want to be this year and have a vague idea of where you might want to be in five. You know the lingo, now you just need to get the interviews; but how? Where should you be looking, and how do you get there? Our guide has you covered.

So how do I find the right role?

  1. Our honest recommendation is to go through a recruitment agent: they offer CV and interview support and will give you an honest opinion about whether you’re right for a role or not. I landed my current (amazing) job through Alice at Charity People, but Dawn at Quarter Five has placed a number of my friends into entry level posts.
  2. Or you can go direct to the charities or organisations themselves. CharityJob lists a huge number of roles that you can filter by area, pay and type of fundraising – or if you’re keen to work for a particular charity, they often have their own job portals – see Clic Sargent’s here, for example.
  3. Finally, you can seek personal recommendation – LinkedIn is the perfect platform for this. Not only can you mark yourself ‘open to opportunities’, you can post and see if anyone has any roles going – I’ve seen a number of peers get placed this way.

Once you’ve found your dream role, it’s time to get your application in shape. We asked some people in the know for their top tips:

‘Have a strong introduction to your CV – 2/3 sentences that set the scene about your skills, your personality and what you are looking for. It’s the first impression that you are giving so make sure it’s true to you and the role you are applying for.
Think about the skills you have in your personal life and if they are relevant to the role you are applying for then add them in – maybe you are great on social media or have taken part in a charities challenge event.’

Dawn Ballard, Quarter Five Recruitment

‘For me its all about transferable skills and work experience. You might not have had the chance to do any ‘proper’ fundraising yet, so you need to consider what skills you have that are relevant for fundraising e.g. public speaking (presentations during their degree), customer service (from working in the campus shop) etc etc. And getting any work experience you can manage – I stayed at uni longer than all my housemates and did a week with the Stroke Association whilst my uni rent was still paid up I had the free time.’ –

Alison Pritchard, Institute of Fundraising

With your CV in shape, you apply. You’ve nailed it. You get to the interview. To help settle your nerves, we asked Dawn her advice for bossing those too:

‘Be prepared! Research the charity really well. Read the JD over again, if they describe themselves as innovative and dynamic think about how you can show that matches who you are. Look at the essential criteria in the job description and turn each bullet point into a question and think about the best experience you have that would demonstrate experience in that area. There will be gaps in experience for every role you go for so if they ask you something that you don’t have experience in, think about how you would go about doing it – you need to show that you want to be able to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to go.
Soft skills are REALLY important, dress smart, have a strong handshake, make eye contact and try to smile – the interview is as much about your ability to do the job but also will they enjoy having you work with them 7 hours a day!’

Dawn Ballard, Quarter Five Recruitment

But the final thing to note is that you won’t always get your dream role on the first try, and being prepared to bounce back is important. The first role is often the hardest to get.

Here’s what the experts had to say on the matter.

I assumed that having nearly a decade of experience in the corporate sector would make me the ideal candidate for fundraising roles. I soon discovered that moving to the other side of the table was by no means an easy feat.

However, my story has a happy ending and so will yours. If you are passionate about affecting tangible change and are driven by the greater good, then there are no barriers, that you can’t break down. Being unsuccessful in a job application or interview isn’t ‘rejection’ – it is simply a learning curve, bringing you closer toward the role and the charity that’s the right fit for you. Try to think of each ‘failure’ as simply a step in the right direction to that end goal.

Amber Madden, Rays of Sunshine

‘Job hunting is like dating, sometimes it’s not personal it’s just not the right fit. It has to be right for both parties and do trust your own instincts too – if you read the JD and aren’t excited by the role, or go to an interview and don’t feel excited afterwards then chalk that one down to experience and keep looking. The right fit is out there but it’s unlikely you are going to find it straight away. Getting your first role is hard but everyone manages it eventually.’

– Dawn Ballard, Quarter Five.

So stick at it and you’ll get there. From personal experience we can say that recruitment agencies or personal introductions DO make a massive difference, but never be scared to do it ‘the old fashioned way’ and apply direct.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch, otherwise learn where to go from here now you’ve got the basics covered by checking out the final part of the series (article coming soon)

Alternatively, return to the homepage of the guide to entering fundraising here.

Entry Level Guide to Fundraising: Part 4.4

Finally in the jargon-busting section, we have a post for those of you who prefer to focus on individual relationships – in this post we’ll be covering the most common buzz words from both major donor and individual giving fundraising.

As this is largely a post of sub-sections, let’s get started…

The seven stages of solicitation:
Major donor fundraisers are often expected to go through seven stages with any potential donor (or prospect) and these are as follows…
1. Identify – fairly self-explanatory, identifying someone with the potential to give
2. Research – researching their connection to the cause, reasons they might give and connections they might have (whether to trustees or existing supporters)
3. Plan/cultivate – getting to know the potential donor and moving them through a journey until they feel ready to ask
4. Ask – asking for the donation
5. Close – going through with the donation/fulfilling the pledge etc
6. Thank – both the stage of an immediate thank you and following up with a report on how the donation has been spent
7. Steward – keeping that donor feeling valued until they skip back to stage 3 or 4.

The 9:4:1 principle:
This is the idea that major donor fundraisers will identify 9 major donor prospects, of which they will ask four for a donation and one will say yes.

The four motivation types:
There are four commonly referred to ‘primary reasons’ that people give to a cause, and these are as follows…
1. Philanthropy – this is the purest form of altruism, where someone is driven to give because they can see the impact that the donation will have.
2. Affinity – this is where someone has a personal connection to the cause, whether through having been a beneficiary of the charity or similar.
3. Mutual benefit – this is often the case in corporate partnerships, where the donor receives (for example) PR coverage or tax relief out of their donation.
4. Social recognition – this is where they want to be seen as a good person in their community, and often results in things like a plaque on the wall or a wing of a hospital being named after the donor.

These acronyms stand for High Net Worth Individual or Ultra High Net Worth Individual who often have the capacity to give a major donation.

With these terms under your belt, you should be able to better understand job descriptions and make yourself stand out in job applications – to return to the main dictionary post, click here. Alternatively, return to the homepage of the guide to entering fundraising here.

Entry level Guide to Fundraising: Part 4.3

If you think corporate fundraising might be more your speed, there’s a few more acronyms and buzz words you might want to get under your belt before you get cracking. They are as follows:

COTY: stands for Charity Of The Year. This is a type of corporate-charity partnership in which a company choose a particular charity for a fixed term (usually one to three years – the name can sometimes be a misnomer) and direct all employee fundraising efforts to that partner. These partnerships typically (but not always) go to charities with a higher brand awareness and are often the most sought after due to their financial worth.

Strategic partnership: the holy grail of corporate fundraising, these are often longer term than a COTY partnership, this is where a company and a charity have mutual goals or are able to work together on a more than financial level. A great example of this is the Deliveroo partnership with Missing People, where Deliveroo riders are trained to look out for people missing in their local area – helping them to achieve their charitable objective as well as raise funds.

CSR: stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. This is a broad term for corporates-doing-good, whether through having a sustainable supply chain for their products or through encouraging their staff to volunteer. Many large companies will have a CSR team who look after the philanthropic image of the company.

Staff vote: most COTY partnerships are decided by a staff vote within the company that the partnership is with – CSR teams will often short list four to ten charities that employees will then choose from.

Matched funding or £-for-£: a number of companies offer their employees matched funding, which is where the company double whatever that employee fundraise or donate to a given charity. In some (but not all) cases this is limited to their main charity partner. Matched funding is very common within financial institutions – for example Deutsche Bank offer employees up to £1,000 matched funding for fundraising efforts and £3,000 matched funding for personal donations.

Cause-related volunteering: a lot of companies look for opportunities to engage with their charities at a cause-level, whether doing some gardening for a hospice or offering CV workshops for beneficiaries. These are not always possible to offer but a good thing to look for when choosing where to work as a corporate fundraiser.

Cobranding: this is where a company puts their logo next to the logo of a charity in an effort to tie the brands together – a large number of charities charge for this service as a marketing good.

With these terms under your belt, you should be able to better understand job descriptions and make yourself stand out in job applications – to return to the main dictionary post, click here. Alternatively, return to the homepage of the guide to entering fundraising here.

Entry Level Guide to Fundraising: Part 4.2

If you’re looking into digital fundraising in particular, then there’s some more specific jargon to learn. The incredible Emily Casson kindly lent me her glossary to digital fundraising to put this together, and you can get in touch with her to ask more of her digital excellence on @EmilyCasson

Given Emily’s connection to Cat Protection League, it only seemed fair to include a cat here…

But now, to business – here are the phrases you need to know to get your foot in the door.

  1. Influencer
    The term influencer refers to someone who is recognised as an expert in their field on social media – this might be a comedian, fashion blogger, or an animal welfare campaigner. Influencers can come in all shapes and sizes (micro to mega) and are an effective way to reach people about a topic they are passionate about.
  2. Impressions
    The term ‘impressions’ is used in digital marketing to measure the number of times a post (often a paid advert) is shown within the internet search results.
    Impressions are also measured on other platforms and refer to the number of times a piece of content displays in a user’s news feed. The user could be a ‘follower’ of the content provider, or have a connection who has engaged with the content.
  3. Conversion Rate
    Conversion rate is the percentage or proportion of the total audience that perform the action you’ve set as your goal. For example, 12,000 people may see your Facebook ad – 120 make a donation through the ad (your goal). This gives a conversion rate of 1%. The average conversion rate varies from channel to channel, however, obviously the higher the conversion rate the better.
  4. Bounce Rate
    The bounce rate is used across both email and websites. When looking at websites the bounce rate refers to the number of people who go onto a page, and then immediately leave without further action. For email, the bounce rate is the number of emails that were undeliverable to the email addresses entered so have ‘bounced back’ to the sender.
  5. Forward/Open Rate
    The forward rate looks at the proportion of people who have received an email and then forwarded this on to someone in their address book. An open rate is literally the measurable metric given to the number of recipients that open the email.
  6. CTA/CTR
    CTA stands for Call to Action – which could be to donate or follow a page. CTR stands for Click Through Rate, which is the measure of how many people have clicked a link you’ve included in your post.
  7. GDPR
    GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was introduced on 25 May 2018 and is in addition to the Data Protection Act 1998. The regulation means consent is now needed to contact supporters by phone, text or emaill regarding marketing.
  8. SEO
    Stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is simply optimising your website content for search engines eg Google and what their algorithms prefer. Whole agencies are dedicated to SEO.
  9. SEM
    Search Engine Marketing is associated with the researching, submitting and positioning of a website within search engines to achieve maximum visibility and increase your share of paid and/or organic traffic referrals from search engines.
  10. Paid Social
    Paid social refers to all of our ad activity on social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram to name a couple.

With these terms under your belt, you should be able to better understand job descriptions and make yourself stand out in job applications – to return to the main dictionary post, click here. Alternatively, return to the homepage of the guide to entering fundraising here.

Entry Level Guide to Entering Fundraising: Part 4.1

Now that you know what fundraising sector looks like as a whole, it’s time to learn the lingo. Every sector is full of jargon, and the fundraising sector is no different – with references to stewardship, RoI, CRMs and “relationship fundraising” filling most job descriptions. We’ve got you covered with our guide to the most commonly used acronyms and concepts in fundraising:

Because there are so many different types of fundraising, and each come with their own set of buzzwords, we’ve split this post into four sections. This one, which covers sector-wide concepts, and then three others – for digital (available here), corporate (available here) and major donor (available here) fundraising. To the sector wide concepts:

  1. Donor / Supporter
    This is a semantic difference that likely has some disagreement across the sector – to my definition, a donor gives their money where a supporter gives their time (by doing challenge events or making introductions), but don’t take this as read. The two words are often used interchangeably.
  2. Gift
    Is another word for donation.
  3. Gift in Kind
    Is a non-financial donation, such as free venue hire or pro bono consultancy work.
  4. “Ask”
    In the fundraising sector, we have turned this verb into a noun – we are often asked how confident we are to “make the ask” – but it ultimately means to ask a supporter (or potential supporter) for money.
  5. Major Donor
    The definition of a major donor (and a major gift or donation) varies from charity to charity – the standard rule of thumb is that the 5% of donors for any organisation who give the largest donations are that organisation’s major donors, but a major donor fundraiser will often by seeking gifts between £1,000-1,000,000 and above!
  6. Restricted Gift/Restricted Funds/Restricted Income
    Restricted gifts are donations that are made for a specific purpose: for example, to support the building of a new classroom or for the purchase of specific medicine. The opposite of this is unrestricted funding, which can be used for anything in line with the charity’s objectives – including funding ‘overheads’ such as staff salaries.
  7. Stewardship
    Is the phrase we use for looking after our donors and supporters between donations – stewarding a donor involves thanking them for their donation (with a thank you appropriate to the size of their donation – such as an email for a £5 donation and a hand-written card for a £5,000 one), informing them of the impact of their gift and preparing them to be asked to support again in future.
  8. Supporter Journey
    We often map the stewardship we are going to provide a donor onto a “supporter journey” – for example, once they’ve donated a certain amount they receive a certain email with a case study, and once they’ve been donating for a certain length of time we ask them to increase their gift.
  9. Relationship Fundraising
    Is a key phrase in the fundraising sector, based on a book published in 1992, that means putting the relationship with your donor at the heart of your fundraising practice. This style of fundraising is about maximizing the lifetime value of a donor rather than focussing on short term wins that may then alienate them. You can read more about this here and here.
  10. ROI
    This acronym stands for “Return on Investment” and is a measure of how efficient a form of fundraising or product is. To work out the return on investment, you divide the amount raised by the amount it cost to raise it: for example, a gala dinner that raises £6,000 that cost £2,000 to put on has a 3:1 return on investment.
  11. Prospect
    A prospect is a potential supporter – for a corporate fundraiser, their “top prospects” are the businesses at the top of their list to approach to form a partnership, whereas for a major donor fundraiser their prospects are people that might have the ability and willingness to give a sizable donation.
  12. Pipeline
    A pipeline is the list of people a fundraiser is working on – for an events fundraiser, their pipeline will be of people that have enquired about taking part in an event, whereas for a corporate fundraiser this will be the list of businesses they’re looking to approach. Most (but not all) jobs require you to balance stewarding a number of existing donors whilst trying to woo members of your pipeline.
  13. CRM
    This acronym can stand for any number of things within the charitable sector, including Cause Related Marketing (where a company puts their logo next to the logo of a charity to boost their image), Customer Relationship Management system (which are databases in which people track their supporters and history – the most famous of which is Raisers Edge) or Charity Related Merchandise, which is products of which a percentage of the proceeds go to charity.

With these terms under your belt, you should be able to better understand job descriptions and make yourself stand out in job applications – it’s easy to give examples of stewardship from previous customer service experience, for example.

The next part of the Entry Level Guide to Entering Fundraising – focussing on actually getting the job you want – will be available shortly . If you have any questions about the contents of this article or getting a role in fundraising, get in touch here. 

Return to the homepage of the guide here.

Entry Level Guide to Entering Fundraising: Part 3

You’ve decided the style of fundraising you’d like to pursue initially, and you know what the entry level roles might look like, but you’re not sure where this first job can take you. With all of your lecturers and parents talking about “five year plans”, you want to be sure this is the right step for you. The paths fundraising can take you in are many and varied, so we’ve compiled a guide on the options you could be looking at in five and ten years time.

What does a career in fundraising look like after 5 years?

You might be promoted internally:

“Back in 2013, I joined the Manchester RAG committee in my second year of uni, then in summer 2014 I interned at Hope for Children. I spent my third year as vice-chair of RAG before returning to Hope for Children as a staff member on the student fundraising team! I’m still here today and now manage student, community and event fundraising
Now, every day starts with a cup of tea, and the similarities end there! I could be on the phone to supporters, pitching for new partnerships, training our volunteers, or looking after the budget – to name just a few things! There always seems to be emails to answer though… What’s new?”

Vicky Wallace, Fundraising Manager at Hope for Children

Or be head-hunted elsewhere:

“I joined the East African Playgrounds team in 2015, working as their challenges officer. After two years, I was promoted to work as their challenges & corporate manager, building relationships from scratch. Then in April of this year I moved to a new charity entirely, Rays of Sunshine, to work in their corporate department and build up my experience elsewhere.
I spend my time looking after our high value supporters – including Deutsche Bank, Jupiter Hotels and the Foresters Friendly Society – and am learning a huge amount about how these larger companies operate and support causes.”

Andy King, Partnerships Manager at Rays of Sunshine

Or move into supporting other charities’ in their efforts:

“When I graduated, I was really lucky to secure a place on the Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy Fellowship programme in Dorset. After a year in the countryside, I came back to London as Development Manager for Spitalfields Music, an amazing organisation that helped me grow in many ways. Then in August 2018, I joined the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) as Senior Project Manager – a very different but amazingly challenging role.
My role at the FSI is super varied – one day I could be delivering training on corporate partnerships in Edinburgh, the next coordinating speakers for our Fundraising Conferences. There’s a lot of relationship building involved though, which I love.”

Lindsay Harrod, Senior Project Manager at the Foundation for Social Improvement

And what about in 10 years time? You’ll notice that career paths don’t always work as planned in the long run, but that there’s still huge variety in what you could be doing, such as…

Heading up a department:

“I started my journey as volunteer raising money for school children effected by historic earthquake in Kashmir, later working an organisation helping people suffering from cataracts in developing countries. Here I am, ten years in the sector working for an orphan charity helping orphans realising their full potential in their lives through my work as head of major gifts.
My main advice from my journey is this. If you want a job which doesn’t feel like a job, if you want a career where you turn your skills into changing the world for good for millions of people around the world, if you want a job where everyday is different and you are excited to get out of your bed every morning then you should seriously consider becoming a fundraiser.”

Ikhlaq Hussein, Head of Major Gifts at Orphans in Need

Or heading up a charity:

“I never set out to be a fundraiser or work in the charity sector even, but I became very personally motivated after visiting a non profit in Kenya when I was 11. I’ve been passionate about development since and working in small charities means fundraising has always been a major part of my role – but my journey was unintentional.
After 12 years in the sector,I’m now the UK Director of Raising Futures Kenya. Day to day I’m managing a mix of fundraising, programmes and all the other admin that keeps a charity running. I’ll be working alone or together with some of my amazing team members in the U.K. and Kenya, volunteers or Trustees. As part of a very small team I’m responsible for high level strategic work (which I love) and day to day lower level work (don’t love so much but has to be done). It’s challenging but always interesting with a lot of variety.

Vic Hancock-Fell, UK Director of Raising Futures Kenya

Or even breaking into consultancy work:

I’ve been in events fundraising, corporate fundraising, then back to events fundraising again – I took a break to focus on monitoring and evaluation – which led back to fundraising via bid writing. After an unexpected redundancy, I packaged up my experience and started working freelance.I’m now the part time fundraising manager for a small organisation whilst building a consultancy business.
As a freelancer, I love that every day can look different. I’m most creative first thing, so I often spend morning working on new projects. In afternoons I work on research, policy or writing proposals. If I’m not at my desk I’m meeting clients. I’m normally working with 2 or 3 charities at a time, which provides an amazing amount of variety and exposure to new ideas.

Chris Richardson-Wright, Lead Consultant at Air Balloon Consulting

The main thing to know at this stage is that career plans very rarely work out the way you expect them to, and the world of fundraising is incredibly varied and exciting – there’s more than enough to keep you in the world of fundraising for years to come, and plenty of steps to take along the way!

The next part of the Entry Level Guide to Entering Fundraising, decoding the jargon of the fundraising sector, is available here.

If you have any questions about the contents of this article or getting a role in fundraising, get in touch here. Return to the homepage of the guide here.