Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Where have all the good fundraisers gone?

Where have all the good fundraisers gone?

Last week, I came across a very interesting discussion on the Guardian’s Voluntary Sector Network, Fundraising Hub. The question posed to the panel was ‘How can we attract more talent into fundraising?’ The discussion was centred around recruiting mid/senior level fundraisers and the panel were questioning where have all the good people gone?

The main reasons the panel cited as to why organisations struggle to recruit or retain good mid/senior fundraisers were as you might expect – lack of competitive salary, lack of development, lack of training. The good news is, from my own experience of recruiting fundraisers over the last year, there are plenty of great charities bucking that trend.

The current economic climate we are working in means that if a charity is going to entice an experienced fundraiser away from their current role, they are going to have to make the move very attractive. I work mainly with regional charities and you might think it is even harder to attract quality fundraising candidates outside the Capital. Thankfully this is not so and I believe successful recruitment campaigns all share some common ground – they start with a very clear job description and have well defined expectations. They also acknowledge that candidates want career progression and training. Salary can play a part and those charities that offer a fair/reasonable salary may well attract a better quality of candidate, especially when candidates can search job boards and see other organisations are offering sometimes significantly more for a similar job description. A good salary tells a candidate that their skills and expertise are important and have a value within your organisation.

The panel also mentioned that they’ve been seeing candidate longlists that weren’t very long at all. The knock on from this means you have less to work with when it comes to interview shortlisting. If your job description is well defined, then it might be you get fewer applicants as you are asking for someone quite specific, in which case is this a negative? I work on the basis that I would rather put two shining stars forward rather than six ‘could be ok’ candidates. It only takes one person to be the right person, and if that candidate has all the relevant experience including that wow factor then I’d see it as a plus that you didn’t have to interview twenty average candidates to find them.

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