CV tips & advice for fundraising roles
What makes a great fundraising CV? The short answer is... one that stands out! Anyone can list their jobs and experience, but a good CV shows evidence and results.
Charities don’t care how extensive your list of tasks is, they care about is what you have proved to be capable of. Remember, the questions on the charities mind is going to be "can this person resolve my issues, or improve my services."
Make your experience relevant
CVs are rejected when the experience described is irrelevant to the job. Show your experience, give examples of how it was applied and what you achieved. It should be full of evidence and results. Potential employers care more about what you’ve achieved, than what you’ve done. This is true even if you’ve not had a fundraising position before; your CV should be tailored to show how your previous workplace experience is applicable to fundraising. If you’ve worked in sales/marketing, show that these skills are perfectly transferable. Show how your actions have benefited the organisation you’ve worked with, after all, this is how the charity will make their decision.
Show your attitude!
Great charities want people with great attitude. Show yours! Skills can be taught, but there is no way to remedy the wrong person being in the wrong job. Use evidence-based examples to show how your attitude at work has resulted in your accomplishments and achievements. You’ll want to show that you have excellent skills for fundraising roles, communication, problem solving, listening and the ability to digest and use criticism well. Overall give concrete examples of how persuasive you can be, as this is what you do in the job!
Make your CV standout
If you’re applying by CV, you’ll really want to make yours stand out. Brevity is your friend, so cut out anything which might not be useful for the role. It’s a fundraising job, so make yours a fundraising CV, even to the extent of picking and choosing which tasks from your previous jobs seem the most transferable. Remember, easily digestible information is always preferred by recruiters, and bullet points do the trick. Just make sure you show results instead of duties.
Apply to a cause you care about
In the end, it is the charity who makes the recruitment choice. Show dedication to the sector through examples of your volunteer work and personal commitments to that cause. It will significantly increase your chances, even if this is just on a personal level. The charity is going to choose the person who will fit best in their organisation. On that note, don’t forget your volunteering! Charities will be interested in your volunteering experience as well, especially if fundraising was an aspect.
ALWAYS accompany your CV with a unique cover letter
Generic, copy/pasted cover letters are almost always rejected. If you won’t take the time, neither will the charity. Recruiters are busy, charities are even busier. Avoid working from a template if you can, and try to make it unique to the organisation. A well written cover letter is your chance to validate and contextualise your CV. It also your chance to show interest and dedication to the charity you want to apply to. Remember that the recruiter will read the cover letter before your CV, but you can use it to your advantage - you can be more flexible.
Include the numbers!
You should include the target donations in your achievements and how you achieved or surpassed that figure. Make sure you give real, tangible amounts, such as percentage increases in donations, corporate sponsors you acquired, trusts and grants won or anything else which demonstrates real results. Recruiters like numbers they can make sense of… and who can blame them!
Have an example
Try not to list actions and achievements generically, if you were part of successful fundraising campaign, then show how your part in helped toward its success. If you developed an effective fundraising strategy, then show how your strategy improved fundraising practice at the organisation. So keep things short, sharp and punchy, but make sure you demonstrate your results.
So, if you’re looking for that next fundraising position, then check out CharityJob for the largest and most varied amount of fundraising jobs in country. Don’t forget to sign up to CharityConnect the sector’s largest network, where you can connect with like-minded individuals. Try the fundraising, or charity careers sub groups.
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