A Guide to Recruiting Your First Fundraiser

April’s First Friday fundraising advice clinic focused on recruiting first or sole fundraisers for small charities with TPP Recruitment, a specialist consultancy dedicated to supporting not for profit organisations. In today’s guest blog, Marianne Pattison and Matt Adams from TPP Recruitment give us their top tips for recruiting fundraisers…

TPP has specialised in recruitment for the not for profit sector for over 20 years and we appreciate that recruiting for a charity’s first fundraiser, or sole fundraiser, can be a challenge for a number of reasons. Initially there are the barriers small charities face to recruitment. Have you got the budget? Are you unsure of what you’re looking for? Have you tried to recruit previously and have not been successful?

Regularly working with small charities means we advise on overcoming barriers to recruitment, best practises and provide interview tips and case studies, which will give further insight into what has, and hasn’t worked well for small charities recruiting for their first/sole fundraiser.

Initially, you need to consider what you’re actually looking for in your sole/first fundraiser. What are your expectations and are they realistic? What type of person would suit your organisation? How experienced do they need to be? Can you consider a more senior candidate with more experience, but on an interim/part time basis? These are questions you need to contemplate when creating your job description and personal specification. Speaking to your peers and other charities to compare your role with others is an ideal place to start.

You need to consider your hiring strategy and ensure you have a plan, but also you need to be flexible! You need to think about how you’re going to advertise and the tools at your disposal, eg, using social media, promotion through your own networks, using a recruiter, etc. And remember that your own self-promotion is key, getting your volunteers and supporters on board can be really effective.

In terms of actually writing your advert, it’s easy to get this wrong and there are plenty of bad examples out there. It’s all about language – use the same dialect and tone that you use to appoint your supporters and donors. It’s highly effective, it’s compelling, and ultimately will engage candidates over a lesser advert. Also consider your application process, making it as easy for the candidate where possible in terms of bypassing lengthy application forms at this stage.

When reviewing your applications and candidates at interview, be aware of potential bias and avoid this by not relying on gut feeling/instinct. Involve other relevant colleagues in the process and have pre-prepared competency and emotional intelligent based questions. Be sure to include questions that are reflected of the job description and person specification and don’t hesitate on including a couple of curveball questions. You can even devise your own scoring matrix to help when it comes to the decision making part of the process.

Once you have the candidate you would like to offer to and they have accepted, make sure you have considered the joining process. Are the relevant people going to be there when they start? Have you got all necessary recourses in place? Simple things like this make a difference and considering the efforts you’ll have put in the source and secure the candidates, you’ll want to avoid potential hiccups at this stage.

Retaining your fundraiser isn’t easy, fundraisers can move around rather quickly for a number of reasons. Ultimately, ensuring that expectations are managed and the candidate is supported should be your focus and any opportunity for professional development should be explored.

To conclude, it is difficult to recruit fundraisers. But remember your selling points as a small charity – you can offer an autonomous working environment; potentially able to offer more flexible working; the fundraiser will be closer to the causes and your beneficiaries, and fundamentally, the value they can add truly will be making a big impact to your charity.