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NFP Sector Faces Growing Fundraiser Shortage

11 December 2018 at 4:52 pm
Luke Michael
A not-for-profit recruitment expert warns that a growing demand for fundraising skills within the sector has created a shortage of fundraisers expected to persist into 2019.  

Luke Michael | 11 December 2018 at 4:52 pm


NFP Sector Faces Growing Fundraiser Shortage
11 December 2018 at 4:52 pm

A not-for-profit recruitment expert warns that a growing demand for fundraising skills within the sector has created a shortage of fundraisers expected to persist into 2019.  

Richard Green, the director and founder of NGO Recruitment, told Pro Bono News the NFP sector faced fundraising shortages across the board, from fundraising assistants and major donor fundraisers to bequest executives.

He put this down to smaller organisations becoming increasingly sophisticated around their fundraising efforts in recent years.

“There’s an increase in demand from the sector, particularly smaller organisations, and I just don’t think the industry can produce fundraisers fast enough,” Green said.

Peak body Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) has also noticed an increased demand, with their weekly jobs bulletin seeing a dramatic increase in fundraising listings over the last few months.

Green said charities needed to ensure their leaders had fundraising knowledge to help create a culture of best practice fundraising within the organisation.

“It’s no use having a CEO in charge of a fundraising organisation that doesn’t know much about fundraising, because it’s really hard to run a fundraising program without an in-depth understanding of it,” he said.

“Making sure board directors have a broad knowledge of fundraising is important as well, and I think every board should have at least one professional fundraiser sitting on it.

“You need to create best practice fundraising programs in your organisation and you only get that by hiring the right people.”

NGO Recruitment on Tuesday released a Fundraising Salary Snapshot for summer 2018/2019.

The top three fundraising roles in demand were identified as major donor fundraisers, digital marketing fundraisers, and individual giving managers.

Green said although salaries had remained relatively stable in the past 12 months, the basic rules of supply and demand were evident, meaning NFPs had to adjust their salary expectations.

“NFPs need to accept that anyone who can raise money is in huge demand. Salaries for niche in-demand roles such as major donor fundraisers have jumped and often these people are being paid more than equivalent grades in other organisational areas such as corporate services,” he said.

“A shift in recruitment mindset is therefore required. You may only want to pay a certain amount, but if that’s not buying you the skills you need, you have to pay what the market is demanding.”

FIA CEO Katherine Raskob told Pro Bono News the number of charities looking for gifts in wills, direct marketing and major gifts fundraisers in particular was definitely on the rise.

She said a shortage of fundraisers across the board would persist in 2019, especially in the major gifts area.

“There’s a huge demand and with the growth in need, there’s an increasingly shorter supply of really experienced fundraisers,” Raskob said.

“Sales, commercial acumen and a proven background in meeting financial targets are critical skills alongside an ability to build long-lasting, prosperous relationships.

“There’s a lot of competition so our members want to find those fundraisers who can obtain cut-through and secure engagement and financial support. It also helps for people to have a passion for the cause they are fundraising for.”

Raskob said addressing skill gaps through fundraising education courses would help with the shortage.

“In 2019, FIA will offer a course in storytelling, a skill more fundraisers will need in the coming years to ensure their stories about their organisation and donors are compelling, and stand out from crowd,” she said.

Green agreed it was important the sector geared up to improve the training of fundraisers.

“I think the industry is doing a great job at improving and increasing its fundraising training,” he said.   

“And I think that development really needs to happen across the sector.”

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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