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Director Of Fundraising

Howard Lake | 27 April 2012

Director of Fundraising | Skills of a Fundraising Director

Charities seeking to recruit a Fundraising Director today will usually seek a professional with managerial experience and a wide range of business skills. These can have been gained in the commercial, public or charity sectors. Many charities now employ fundraisers who have gained skills in business.

A proven track record in generating income and business is probably the most valuable experience to charities, and charity recruitment companies have reported difficulties in recruiting sufficient candidates to meet demand. Indeed, throughout the charity sector there are still not enough experienced fundraisers to fill the vacancies available. This is even more the case at senior fundraising level.

As well as people management, fundraising directors will typically need business development skills, the ability to influence and negotiate (e.g. with major donors), budgeting and financial analysis skills (given that many charities apply multi-million pound fundraising budgets), and the ability to manage a number of commercial partnerships.

These partnerships can be with direct marketing agencies, digital agencies, street fundraising companies, major brands who are corporate sponsors, and celebrities’ agents.

They must also have a good technology background, given the prime role played by direct marketing in securing and retaining donors, and in growing fundraising income. Experience with one or more of the main CRM tools in the sector is essential.

Fundraising Directors will also be expected to research new funding and income generation activities, and to develop the skills of their fundraising team through training, mentoring and other professional development activities.

Professional qualifications

There is no formal qualification for being a Fundraising Director, although the Institute of Fundraising’s Academy is formalising more and more professional development within the sector.

Some Directors of Fundraising will have MBAs, while others will have minimal academic or business qualifications. However, to progress within fundraising and charities at senior level, it is likely that Fundraising Directors will become members of the Institute and study to achieve the Certificate in Fundraising.

Recruitment of Fundraising Directors
Although many senior fundraising vacancies are published in the national and charity trade press, both printed and online, many positions are filled via headhunting and professional recruitment agencies that specialise in the charity and not-for-profit sectors.

Salaries for Fundraising Directors
These range considerably depending on the size and location of the charity, with national and international charities and those based in London and the South East typically paying more. Typical rates of pay are the subject of annual surveys which are widely reported on in the fundraising media.