2018 salary survey: foxed by finding fundraisers?

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Our all-new 2018 salary survey has current market rates for roles at all levels within charities and not for profit organisations.

Along with detailed salary tables for all key teams and departments, we look at the factors behind the figures and what they mean for recruitment - here's what's happening in one of the most challenging areas for charities...


For all the changes in fundraising over the past few years, some things remain remarkably constant - but unfortunately those things include the shortage of candidates for almost every income stream.

Not all areas are equally affected though, and while sourcing quality candidates is a challenge for everyone, those in events are perhaps having a marginally easier time of it than those looking for community fundraisers, particularly outside London, and those seeking major donor specialists, who may frequently feel they've more chance of finding Elvis.

Straight to the source?

'Maybe you're just terrible at recruiting?' a (very) untrained observer might wonder, but we can sadly confirm that it's not just a problem for us, or recruiters in general, but charities hiring for themselves too.

Across the board, many organisations are seeking to recruit more staff directly, given the array of easily-accessible digital tools now at their disposal.

But when it comes to fundraising, many of our clients are nevertheless finding vacancies harder and harder to fill, and enlisting our help precisely because the direct routes have already been tried and exhausted.

This is where our vast network of candidates and sector contacts really comes into play by the way (subtle plug alert..) along with the size and structure of our fundraising team.

Each of our fundraising consultants recruits for specific income streams, and this tightly-focused approach means they're able to maintain exceptionally comprehensive, sector-wide knowledge of their particular market at all times. So if anyone can find you that elusive corporate partnerships specialist...

Keeping it real

Naturally, as the shortage enters its 173rd successive year (give or take), many fundraisers are well aware they're in short supply, expecting sizeable salary boosts with each move. Which can be frequent if there's ever-more money on offer.

Many of the increases requested would have seemed far beyond achievable just five years ago, and many still do, but candidates whose expectations are fairly high but rather more realistic will often find them met.

Some employers may also benefit from a little more realism when it comes to remuneration, as those hoping to get the same for £25k as they've done in years gone by are likely to be a little disappointed.

However many charities have now recognised the issue, having become more aware of what candidates are offered elsewhere and the salaries needed to attract them. Maybe somebody published a guidebook.

Great expectations

Having accepted the need to pay more, employers may often (and understandably) expect rather more for their money, like experience of multiple income streams at second-job level.

However, few candidates are likely to have this, so filling these vacancies may once again require a certain level of expectation-adjustment from both parties.

Candidates can help themselves out here by taking on extra responsibilities and getting involved with other income streams where possible, but ideally without job-hopping too regularly.

Finding the right fundraiser isn't often easy, and the last thing many employers are looking for is to be looking again in six months' time. So a long list of short-lived jobs can be seen as cause for concern; they want someone who'll stick around.

After several short-term roles you might be longing to do just that of course, but if that's not the impression your CV's creating, consider how you can make it clear that you're looking for the long haul.

It had to be you...

Candidate shortages also explain one final trend of note: the increasing number of requests we're receiving to headhunt specific individuals.

Traditionally the preserve of senior executive search and selection firms (rather than we regular recruitment mortals), it's a sign that charities are having to pull out all the stops and for candidates to beware: your next employer could be stalking you on Facebook as we speak!

Although in reality:

a) it's more likely to be LinkedIn, and

b) they're probably far too busy for that, or somewhere sobbing quietly in a cupboard. Possibly both.

To sum up then: Recruiting fundraisers? Still difficult. Next!

Advice, news, events and specialist insight from the Harris Hill Blog