Entry Level Guide to Entering Fundraising: Part 2

What do day jobs in fundraising actually look like?

Now you know what each area of fundraising involves, you’re likely to have a shortlist of the ones you’d actually consider. It’s time to look at the nitty gritty – what do job descriptions look like, what does the average person in each of these areas earn to start with, and where can it take you? We’ve done the research so you don’t have to.

It’s important to bear in mind that salaries in fundraising – and, indeed, almost every industry – are wildly inconsistent. Depending on the size of your organisation, the location of the office and even the type of cause (e.g. animal, cancer, education), average salaries will vary. That said, there are still some benchmarks to consider.

TPP Recruitment, an agency specializing in ‘jobs with principles’ including fundraising and programme delivery roles, conducted a salary review by fundraising type and seniority level – you can see what they found below:

You can read the entire report by TPP Recruitment here, which also includes breakdowns of salary by region, type of cause and gender.

Our next post – “what do careers in fundraising look like?” (due 15th April) – will break down the differences between these job titles – but it’s an interesting set of data to consider even when just looking at the assistant/coordinator level and director level of each type of fundraising.

Of course, money isn’t everything.

It’s important to consider what the day to day work looks like, and whether you think that’s something you’d enjoy. For example, I know that I’m a very people-focused person – so whilst I’m aware that being a director of trust/foundation fundraising would be the most lucrative career end-goal, I wouldn’t enjoy the work.

To that end, we’ve worked to compile an example job description for an assistant level role for each of the previously discussed areas of fundraising – they’re not necessarily active job roles but they’ll give you an idea of what they look like and where you could find more:

It’s important to note at this point that just because you start in one area of fundraising doesn’t mean that you’re limited to that forever. I started as a challenge events officer and then transitioned to corporate fundraising from there – as you grow into your career it’s common to take on new styles, so don’t feel like you’re committing for life here: the aim of this post is to give you an idea of where to look first.

To work out where each of these jobs might get you, check out the next post of the Entry Level Guide to Entering Fundraising 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.

Entry Level Guide to Entering Fundraising: Part 1

The biggest problem of starting a career in fundraising is knowing what type of fundraising you want to do and knowing what that looks like in practice.

A recent article on Fundraising UK stated there might be an “infinite number of types/disciplines of fundraising”, but luckily there are a core number of ‘mainstream’ forms of fundraising – including community, events, corporates, trusts and foundations, individual giving, major gifts, legacy and digital.

Unless you work for an incredibly small organisation, you’re likely going to have to specialise in one or two types of fundraising almost immediately. To help give you an idea of which might be your preferred area, I spoke to a fundraiser in each of these areas, asking them to explain what they do for a day job – here’s what they had to say…

I’m working in legacy giving, or gifts in wills. The role focuses on increasing the interest in legacy giving and encouraging people to leave gifts in their wills, until they becomes pledgers. This means that it covers many aspects of fundraising. The acquisition side can include running direct mail campaigns and phone campaigns, writing marketing material and hosting events, while the stewardship and cultivation side is usually done through face-to-face meetings.

Andreas Avram, Legacy Giving Officer, King’s College London

I am a community fundraiser. I focus on helping members of the public organise and throw their own fundraising events which can range from bake sales, gala balls, independent challenge events such as climbing kilimanjaro – I support their fundraising, keep them on track to hit their targets and build relationships with new supporters. I also support many of our events like our Christmas star concert and our funny bones event. I take the lead on organising these events, talking to suppliers, supporting fundraising efforts, and executing the events on the day!

Karlie Evans, Community Fundraising Officer, Above and Beyond

I’m a corporate partnerships manager – I look after our business partners to help them raise money from their staff and customers whilst reaping the rewards for their organisation. This ranges from engaging employees with the impact they’ve had to producing content for social media and more. What the partnership looks like varies drastically depending on the business involved, which makes every day a fun challenge.

Andy King, Partnerships Manager, East African Playgrounds

I’m an events fundraiser in the Student Market mostly. This involves me engaging students to sign up to challenges and support them with their personal fundraising efforts. Our students host anything from cake sales and pub quizzes to large black tie events in their local communities across the UK and Ireland with our 121 support to help them raise £3000 each

Konna Beeson, Events Fundraiser, Meningitis Research Foundation

I am a Partnerships & Philanthropy Manager for a hospice – meaning I look after Trusts, Corporates and Major Donors. I talk with our internal teams to discover what the needs of the cause are, what we need funding for, and look for the right supporter/s to back that project. It could be from a personal interest, experience or just because they have a belief in our wider cause.

There really isn’t a day-to-day for me, because all individuals are different, but you could see me; at my desk building a fundraising proposal, out at networking events so that I put myself in front of the right people, meeting with potential or existing major donors to build stronger more sustainable relationships planning, executing and attending events to thank our supporters and engage with new supporters. No day is really ever the same!

Laura Horton, Partnerships & Philanthropy Manager at Katharine House Hospice

As a Fundraising Manager, I’ve been fortunate to enable individuals to support an organisation. These individuals give gifts ranging from one off donations of £5 to individuals giving a monthly gift of £100. I write appeals to go in magazines, in our newsletters and speak to supporters on the phone. I get to thank supporters and share with the difference their gifts are making

Katie Endacott, Fundraising Manager, the Mare and Foal sanctuary

I’m all about digital. I’m all about how we can recreate the social element of in-person giving in the digital world. How we can delight people when they give, not just offer them a bland transactional experience. Digital is all about making something old work in the new world – it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

Tom Defraine, Customer Success Manager, JustGiving

I am an Events Fundraising Assistant at the National Autistic Society. My role is varied (which I love), I manage our Great North Run team, provide support to our London Marathon team, as well as heading up our student fundraising programme. Our team also manages our special events like… and some autism friendly events like an autism-friendly showing of Harry Potter: the Cursed Child, so my role has scope for other things.

Calum Coker, Events Fundraising Assistant, National Autistic Society

There are, of course, other types of jobs in fundraising – such as database management or prospect researching (finding the people for other fundraisers to approach) – but above are the main kinds of roles you can expect straight out of university. Look for assistant level roles in large organisations or officer/executive/coordinator level roles in smaller charities in the field that interests you most!

The next part of the Entry Level Guide to Fundraising goes further into the nitty gritty of what fundraising jobs in each of these sectors might look like; giving sample salary ranges and example job descriptions. You can check that out 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.

Entry Level Guide To Entering Fundraising

You want to work in a job with purpose.

You want the opportunity to tell good stories, interact with good people and leave the world a better place than you found it. You’ve been thinking about it: you want to be a fundraiser.

The only problem is – you don’t know where to start.

The world of fundraising is incredibly diverse – there are a range of styles (from event management to grant writing) and the job titles are often confusing (are coordinators, officers and executives the same thing?). There’s a huge number of resources out there with a world of information – from the Institute of Fundraising to the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration – but none of it seems to be designed for you.

We’ve all been there. Like you we’ve wondered where to start – what organisation we might want to work for and in what role, where it might lead and what we need to do to get there. We’ve got you covered – what follows is a no-nonsense guide to the world of professional fundraising, written by a number of young fundraisers keen to see you join the sector.

The different income streams

The biggest problem of starting a career in fundraising is knowing what type of fundraising you want to do. A recent article on Fundraising UK stated there is “an infinite number of types of fundraising”, so we’ve focused on a core number of mainstream forms of fundraising – including community, events, corporates, trusts and foundations, individual giving, major gifts, legacy and digital. Unless you work for an incredibly small organisation, you’re likely going to have to specialise in one or two types of fundraising almost immediately. Here’s our guide to what the areas actually look like in practice:


The difference in day jobs

Now you know what each of the areas involves, you’re likely to have a shortlist of the ones you’d actually consider. It’s time to look at the nitty gritty – what do job descriptions look like, what does the average person in each of these areas earn to start with, and where can it take you? We’ve done the research so you don’t have to.


The five year plan

You’ve decided the style of fundraising you’d like to pursue initially, 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 years time:


The sector dictionary

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:


Getting your foot in the door

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.


Next steps

You’ve worked out what type of fundraiser you want to be, got to grips with the key concepts and secured your first role. Where do you go from here? The number of resources available to help you with your career progression are endless – but some are a bit more entry-level friendly than others. Here’s our final guide:


If there are any other parts to the guide you’d like to see; get in touch with me here and I’ll see what I can do! Otherwise, I hope you find it useful for planning your next steps of your career!

Sharing the Best: Beate Sorum’s Good Story – June 2018

“Anything is possible if you tell the right stories to the right people and ask for what you want.”

– Tony Elischer

For the first post in my “Sharing the Best” feature, Beate Sorum – Norwegian Fundraising Consultant, incredible storyteller and general badass – has kindly agreed to let me share my learnings from her session – The Good Story – which was part of my journey with the Tony Elischer Foundation.

Beate’s session was an incredible hour of humour, insight and practical tips. I immediately took my pages of notes back to the office and started applying the learning – now, seven months later, I am going to boil the session down to the three key things I learned:

1. Focus on why you’re telling the story in the first place.
The session started with a simple question. Why do fundraisers tell stories?
The answer was equally simple: we tell stories to raise money.

Beate asked us if we could say, hand on heart, that we always have this in the back of our mind – if every Facebook post we made, every exchange we had with a supporter, linked back to this. She demonstrated a number of examples where charities had poured resources into making videos, crafting infographics, etc, without an ask at the end of them. Whilst we all understand the importance of stewardship and not asking in every interaction, it was eye opening to think back to the number of resources I’d made and posts I’d sent without any information on even howto donate if someone had been so inspired.

2. Focus on the stories of individuals, not statistics
Beate asked us to think about the story telling of the organisation we were currently working for, and the balance between statistics and individual narratives. At this point, East African Playgrounds had some incredible impact statistics – each playground will benefit 1,500 children over 15 years, for example – but the stories of those individual children were missing, so this hit home.

She detailed that if giving money is an emotional decision – which we all agreed it was – you needed to evoke emotion. You do this by getting the audience to relate to the beneficiary – you can relate to one person, you can’t relate to 10,000.

The perfect example of this is the Syrian refugee crisis: the headlines were filled with the news of hundreds if not thousands of refugees and their daily crises for weeks, without any tangible reaction from the public. As soon as the photo of one little boy, face down in the sand came out (which almost all of us can still picture to this day), there was an individual to rally around – the mood shifted in a single story, to the extent that we still remember it now.

3. Focus on the problem as much as the solution.
Finally, Beate asked us to consider the overall story of our organisations. To think about how all the individual stories we tell piece together in an overall narrative: do we appear to be single-handed solving the issue we’ve set out to face, resourced with everything we need and therefore not in need of further donations? Do we appear to be barely scratching the surface of the issue, working ineffectively? Do we only mention how bad the problems we’re solving truly are during our Christmas campaign, and if so how does that sit with our donors?

This was another point that hit home for my fundraising practice. I had so many stories about how previous donations had helped us transform communities, but very few about how many communities remained to be transformed – the scope of the problem wasn’t a part of my narrative, and therefore neither was the urgency to donate.

After the session, I took a notepad full of ideas, questions and comments back to the office and immediately started working on storytelling within East African Playgrounds. I’ve had meetings with the monitoring and evaluation team in country who are working at better capturing individual narratives and feel like the stories we tell now better capture where the money donated really goes, and why it’s so essential. I’m incredibly grateful to Beate and the team of the Tony Elischer Foundation for providing the training – I genuinely believe it was transformational for me.

If you’d like a raw copy of my notes from the session you can ping me an email on, or you can find more of Beate’s incredible work on her about me page.

My Fundraising Bucket List

An old adage I’ve heard about fundraisers is that we’re never happy with what we’ve achieved. We achieve success and raise the bar for ourselves, taking us back to square one. Having heard this a few times recently, and reflected on what I’ve achieved/still want to with my career, I decided to come up with a fundraising career “to do list”, giving space for reflection of successes achieved and the road to go in a healthy manner. It’s as much about being a donor as it is a fundraiser, achieving a variety as well as a depth. I’ve tried to create a universal yardstick to measure my journey so far and would love to hear your comments. I’ve included the full list below and a blank version in the comments – how many have you achieved?

In Progress.
Not Started.

  1. Write a blog post – this one!
  2. Have a favourite fundraising podcast – Simon Scriver’s Amazingly Ultimate Fundraising Podcast played a good trick by featuring me as a guest… you can check out the episode here.
  3. Read three books on fundraising in a year
  4. Attend an unconventional fundraising event – I attended (and spoke at) Pizza for Losers in London 2019!
  5. Attend an international fundraising conference
  6. Speak at a fundraising conference – spoke at @theFSI northern fundraising conference 2018, booked for #IoFFC in 2019
  7. Visit three charity’s projects/service outcomes – blog to come!
  8. Join three meaningful fundraising communitiessmall international development charities network and fundraising chat so far
  9. Spend some time with fundraisers from a different country – If Scotland and Ireland count, then I’ve crushed this.
  10. Start a cause related story notebook – an essential after seeing Rob Woods speak – blog to come!
  11. Do a ridiculous charity challenge – cycled from London to Paris in 2014, drank nothing but water for a month in 2018 – blog to come!
  12. Face a fear through fundraising – I abseiled down the Owen Building in Sheffield to face my fear of heights and help Raising Futures Kenya. I’m still scared of heights.
  13. Convince someone else to do a charity challenge – a few hundred people to do The Gorilla Trek!
  14. Become a regular donor to 3 causes – I currently give monthly to Cruse Bereavement Care and Raising Futures Kenya
  15. Become a lapsed donor – my credit card expired so my donation to RFK lapsed. They were very quick to pick me up on it!
  16. Write a will & feature a charity in it
  17. Write a full funding bid – I’ve supported a number of bids but was successful in applying for funding from scratch at East African Playgrounds.
  18. Make a high level ask – a few times, including an ask for £90,000 from board of the Toy Trust on behalf of East African Playgrounds
  19. Approach a corporate for partnership – a number of times, the first of which was with the great app company, @LoyalFree
  20. Do some face to face fundraising – a number of street collections & a summer of door to door – gave me a new appreciation for it!
  21. Have coffee with a supporter – a few times now!
  22. Be a beneficiary – Cruse Bereavement Care, Tony Elischer Foundation
  23. Have a nuanced opinion on CRMs
  24. Have a nuanced opinion on face to face fundraising
  25. Take part in a network mapping exercise for a charity to see who I can introduce them to beyond my fundraising network
  26. Become the best storyteller I can be
  27. Become a trustee – Thank you to Vic Hancock Fell for recruiting me to the incredible Raising Futures Kenya Board in April 2018
  28. Mentor a younger fundraiser
  29. Be mentored by a senior fundraiser – I was incredibly fortunate to receive the support of @LisaRussel through @tonyelischerfdn
  30. Meet my charity idol – I’ve met – and even presented in the same lineup – in some of the fundraisers I’ve idolised since day one, which is increidble.