Charity Fundraiser

The Job and What's Involved

As a fundraiser, you would be responsible for raising as much money as possible for your charity. It would be your job to think of new and effective ways to generate income and raise awareness of the charity's work.

Your job could involve some or all of the following:

  • Media and marketing (creating press, television, radio and poster appeals to attract donors).
  • Corporate fundraising (arranging company sponsorship or setting up schemes for staff or customers to donate).
  • Trust and legacy fundraising (persuading companies or individuals to set up trust funds or leave money in their will).
  • Organising occasions such as charity balls, galas or sporting events.
  • Organising traditional street or door-to-door collections.
  • Direct mailing to ask for donations.
  • Overseeing trading operations such charity shops or mail order sales.
  • Recruiting and managing volunteers.
  • Managing budgets and reporting on fundraising performance to the charity's trustees and donors.
  • Giving talks and writing press releases.
  • Meeting targets for amount of money raised.

In larger charities, you would tend to specialise in one or two of these areas. If you worked for a smaller charity, you might be involved in all kinds of fundraising activities as well as charity management duties.

In a full-time job you would work around 35 to 40 hours a week. Weekend and evening work is common, especially in jobs that involve organising events.

Part-time work is also common, particularly in smaller charities that may not have the budget to employ a full-time fundraiser.

You might be office-based or work mainly from home. You would often be responsible for fundraising in a local area or larger region, and you would travel around that area to give presentations and attend meetings.

Starting salaries for full-time work can be between £18,000 and £23,000 a year. With experience, this can rise to £24,000 to £30,000.

Fundraising managers in larger charities could earn up to £50,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

You could come to fundraising with a wide range of backgrounds and experience. Employers will usually be more interested in your skills and commitment to working in the charity sector than in your formal qualifications.

Charities often prefer you to have a track record in fundraising, so previous experience as a volunteer fundraiser would be an advantage. Experience in business, sales, marketing, public relations or events could also be helpful.

You could work for national or local charities, political pressure groups or other 'not-for-profit' organisations such as hospitals, schools or community groups. Competition for paid work is strong, especially with well-known charities.

It could be useful to have a degree or BTEC HND in business or marketing and communications, but this is not essential if you have the right skills and experience for the job.

Jobs may be advertised in the local, national and charity press, employers' websites and specialist recruitment agencies.

Education and Training

A few large charities offer graduate trainee schemes for new recruits. Others offer unpaid internships, which can be a good way of building contacts and experience. Competition is strong, particularly for paid positions. You can find details of some internships on the Institute of Fundraising website, or contact charities directly.

You can also find out about local volunteering opportunities from or Volunteering England (or the equivalent organisations for Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland).

If you are thinking about working in the voluntary and community sectors, you may find it useful to take one of Working for a Charity's courses.

These include:

NCVO Charity Careers Seminar.

Foundation Course – seven one-day seminars plus a short work placement with a charity.

Effective Voluntary Sector Management – an online course that takes around eight months of study.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Your training will vary depending on the charity and its budget. Larger charities may offer their own in-house structured training schemes. However, in most cases you will learn on the job and attend occasional short courses run by organisations like the Institute of Fundraising and the Directory of Social Change.

Working for a Charity runs a two-day Charity Induction Course that includes fundraising, for people new to positions of responsibility in charities. See their website for more information.

The Institute of Fundraising and the Directory of Social Change jointly run the Fundraising Programme, a series of short courses at three levels – for people who are new to fundraising, for experienced fundraisers and for current or future fundraising managers.

The Institute of Fundraising also offers the Certificate in Fundraising Management, a professional postgraduate-level qualification for experienced fundraisers.

See the Institute of Fundraising and the Directory of Social Change websites for more details about their courses and training.

Another option with experience could be to take a postgraduate course in charity management and fundraising. You can find relevant distance learning and part-time courses at a small number of universities, in particular:

- City University
- London South Bank University
- Sheffield Hallam University
- Open University Business School

Featured Job Guide - Laboratory Technician

Laboratory Technician

Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.

They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.


Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A charity fundraiser needs:

  • Creativity and imagination.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills.
  • Good presentation skills.
  • Drive and enthusiasm.
  • The ability to motivate and manage others.
  • Excellent organisational skills.
  • The ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • Budget management skills.
  • Commitment to your charity's cause.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could move into charity management, although promotion prospects can depend on the charity's size and finances.

Alternatively, you could become a self-employed fundraising consultant.

Get Further Information

Institute of Fundraising,
Park Place, 12 Lawn Lane, London SW8 1UD
Tel: 020 7840 1000

Directory of Social Change (DSC),
24 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2DP
Tel: 020 7391 4800

Volunteering England

Volunteering Northern Ireland

Volunteering Wales

Volunteer Scotland

Other Related Jobs

Additional resources