Well, from the outside, the charity sector can sometimes seem a little impenetrable. Employers are often looking for a certain level of experience and knowledge of the not-for-profit world, which seems perpetually out of reach.
(On that note, volunteer work can be a great way to build this experience, why not check out our fundraising volunteer roles here.)
Now there will always be jobs in the sector which are highly desirable, minimal in availability and high in competition. I’m sure anyone who has pursued roles in events, campaigning or marketing has experienced this. But a great way into the Charity sector is to pursue a fundraising career, fundraisers are in tremendous demand at the moment, as charities continue to seek new and creative revenue streams. You can even use your fundraising career as a stepping stone to other positions like campaigning or marketing.
So if you are considering a career shift into the third sector, you may want to give further consideration to a job in fundraising. If you have a background in sales, business development or marketing then your skills are very much transferable, and charities really are on the lookout for people like you!
You may ask, what is a fundraiser? What will I be doing? Well, this could vary significantly depending on the type of fundraising. But you will generally find yourself responsible for, or contributing towards, donation targets. This revenue could come from: corporations, private individuals, major donors, government grants, the general public and even services provided by the Charity! Don’t be frightened if you start on small scale, you may not be dealing with large corporate donors form the get-go. You may even find yourself developing creative new strategies for raising funds, as the sector changes and evolves.
Your first step might be to embark on some training, the IOF (Institute of Fundraising) offer a number of nationally recognized fundraising courses which could help you get your foot in the door.
Where can I go to learn more?
Then, you might want to have a look at what’s available to match your skill set. If you have experience in sales, business development or marketing then make sure you tailor your CV to show that these skills are directly relevant to fundraising, and that your knowledge and experience are an asset to a hardworking Charity, rather than irrelevant skills from the cooperate sector.
Finally you will probably want to apply for something! Admittedly you might have to start small. Face to Face, street and telephone fundraising jobs are generally a good stepping stone, and are great ways of building experience, before considering roles like cooperate and Major donor fundraising… these roles will always be highly competitive but if you’re interested you can take a look at more of these roles here.
So if you are looking for that career change, fundraising may be the field for you. You will find it competitive and dynamic, but also hugely rewarding. Consider taking some volunteer work, perhaps try a course with the IOF and remember that your skills are transferable, desirable and needed by the sector. And remember, you can connecting with experienced people who are already in the sector on Charity Connect.