Climbing the fundraisers ladder

Copyright Flickr: Max-Design

Guest Bloggers | 7 August 2013

At the 2013 Institute of Fundraising Convention, Lucy Caldicott, Catherine Miles and Liz Tait ran a session called “Climbing the Ladder” in fundraising. They were inundated with questions at the end which we share with you here...

This followed on from a session in 2012 which was aimed specifically at those wishing to become Directors of Fundraising. In recognition that many people might not want to become a Fundraising Director – and some days the three of us (Lucy Caldicott, Catherine Miles, Liz Tait) would have some sympathy with that view! – we deliberately aimed the session at all levels.

We drew out what makes people stand out at each level of seniority and what’s different about each level. We hoped to help people prepare themselves for a promotion and encourage debate and reflection. 

Our presentation from National Fundraising Convention 2013 is directly below:  

Climbing the ladder from Institute_of_Fundraising

In a session like this we thought that people might be inhibited if we did the traditional stick-your-hand-up-at-the-end Q&A so we asked for questions on post-its instead. We tackled as many as possible in the session itself. We were rather taken aback by how many questions there were but, true to our word, we have typed them up and answered them. 

We thought it would be useful to try and get these out to a wider audience so they are available below:

 Delgate Question  Our Response
When you come from a corporate and major donor fundraising background, can you ever pretend to be good in direct and mass marketing or is it too different? Never pretend to be what you’re not – you’ll be found out! You don’t have to tick every single box in order to progress. When you’re at director level, often the people heading up your various income streams will know more about them than you do. And that’s OK! (LC)

Just spend your energy mastering the art of recruiting great people and managing high performing teams - and you won't need to pretend to have expertise in all disciplines. (LT)

The principles of best practice in donor recruitment, retention and development hold true across all income streams. You can build your knowledge of areas you’re less familiar with by attending sessions on them at conferences, reading online articles and following top bloggers. (CM)

Did you fall into fundraising or did you have fundraising as a career path? Fundraising didn’t seem to exist as a career path when I started out. I moved from working in marketing for American Express to working in fundraising for the Prince’s Trust. I chose the Prince’s Trust because it seemed like a more “corporate” style of charity and my first role was in new business development with corporate and major donor prospects. (LC)

I chose fundraising as a career path when I was doing a degree in marketing, knowing that I wanted to use my training to benefit good causes. Fundraising is such a brilliant profession and has more of a career path now than it used to, with brilliant learning and development on offer and great support within the sector. (LT)

I did Politics at University and decided I wanted to work in the voluntary sector. I thought I wanted to work in Policy/Public Affairs so started in that. I worked on some trust fundraising as part of that role and really enjoyed it, so moved sideways into my first fundraising role with an environmental charity. (CM)

Would you say career progression in charities can be about doing your time rather than based on meritocracy? I’ve certainly never promoted anyone based on time in post. For me, it’s all about competence to do the role in question. (LC)

Not in any charity worth working for. Although it's worth doing your time to learn as much as possible and develop your skills, as well as be able to demonstrate you've created a change for your charity, career progression is rarely based on tenure in post. (LT)

Definitely not! Every team I’ve worked in has based promotion on skill, knowledge and potential (CM)

What’s more important – the cause or your career? Should you ever stop working somewhere that’s not giving you any development even if you love the cause?  This will depend on the individual. For me both things are important. I get bored in jobs once I’ve stopped learning and I hate being bored! At the level I’m at now I have to be motivated by the cause too as it helps me through the difficult bits of my job. (LC)

Both are important - but you can and should always create your own development opportunities (which you may find outside of the day job) - don't wait for someone else to 'give' you development. (LT)

Both are important for me too, but I’ve always based my career decisions on whether I still feel I’ve learning in the role. When I feel that I’ve gained all the development I can, then I think about my next move. I would only ever work for a cause I believe in. (CM)

How important is it to be passionate about the cause? I don’t think you have to be passionate necessarily but it certainly helps. You definitely  have to support the cause and be able to be passionate about it when talking to donors (LC)

I think you definitely have to believe in your charity’s cause and your charity’s ability to make a difference to the issue or beneficiaries it’s focused on. Otherwise it’s very difficult to advocate effectively to donors. (CM)

How do you address the gender balance at mid-career? i.e. Fundraising Directors are often men but few at manager/executive level The only way I know to address that is to be a female Fundraising Director and to put myself forward for talks like this one. Hopefully this acts as encouragement to other women (LC)

We all need to be part of creating the change. There is more balance now than there was ten years ago, and in ten years time the balance will have shifted again. (LT)

I think the gender imbalance at Fundraising Director is a very interesting situation, and one the sector should examine the reasons for more closely. I think things are improving, and certainly the leading female Fundraising Directors presenting at conferences, doing interviews etc hopefully can act as a positive example. (CM) 

Does career progression always lead to managing a team of people? If you don’t want to manage a team, what are the options?  There are some roles that are senior without line management. For example, I have someone who reports to me in the role of Fundraising Projects and Planning Manager who doesn’t manage anyone. But these roles are likely to be few. When I started out, I couldn’t imagine anything more terrifying than managing people. Now I have around 80 staff in the fundraising team, 90 staff in trading and about 500 volunteers in my team. So, never say never (LC)

Management and leadership skills are crucial to career progression, although there are a few senior roles without teams, a successful fundraiser will always create more than enough work for themselves and need to work with others. Fundraising consultancy may be an option? (LT)

With the way our organisations are structured, career progression does tend to bring with it line management responsibility. If that’s not for you, there are some specialist roles that tend not to have teams below them. These tend to be in the big charities and focus around Fundraising Strategy roles, Insight roles or Innovation roles. These can be very interesting jobs, so worth looking at. (CM)

How do you break down the mentality of “you raise the funds, we spend it” and convey that you need input to develop a good case for support? This understanding needs to come from the top of the organisation and form part of your organisation’s strategy, otherwise it’s very difficult. Ideally there should be a 3-5 year plan in place of what your organisation wants to do, how much it’s going to cost and how it’s going to fund this. If this has been put together by the leadership working together then the delivery of the plan should feel much more joined up. I appreciate it’s not like that in every organisation though (LC)

I’ve always tried to build my organisation’s understanding of the attributes of a good case for support. I’ve also tried to show what funds we could raise with a strong case for support, and the gap between that and a less effective case for support (CM)

I’m a community fundraiser, what’s the next step up the ladder? 

 

An obvious next step is to move up to managing a team of community fundraisers but that’s not always easy if the role doesn’t come up. Another next step might be to move into a corporate fundraiser or events role to broaden your experience. (LC)
What’s the best most effective way to reward/incentivise a team?  It’s about more than money:
  • roles that are stretching, yet manageable
  • development opportunities
  • cross-team working opportunities
  • being recognised for a job well done (LC)

 

Agree with Lucy, and I’d also add setting a motivating and clear vision for your team or direct reports really helps people focus on what they’re trying to achieve and why (CM)
If you have only ever worked for charities, how important is it to have experienced working in the private sector too (when it comes to corporate fundraising)? I think it’s useful in that it helps you understand what it’s like on a day-to-day basis for the staff at the company you’re working with which could help you communicate effectively with them. I don’t think it’s a pre-requisite though. (LC)
Do you advise getting experience from outside the charity sector? See above plus it’s useful to have a wide range of experience as you build your career and progress. It certainly wouldn’t hurt if it’s something you fancy doing. (LC)
If you don’t want to move on from your current job but want to gain experience of the private sector, how can you work this into your role and make it work for you and your organisation? Could you organise a secondment? Or perhaps work on managing one of your charity’s corporate partners based at their offices for a day a week. (LC)
Any advice /tips for women looking to progress in a fairly male-dominated organisation? Talk to your boss about your ambition and ask them what you need to do to progress – training, secondment, job shadowing etc. Make sure you’re as ready as you can be for when the promotion opportunity comes up and then go for it! And good luck (LC)

Don't let your gender limit you or assume that it is a limiting factor - it doesn't need to. Find a female role model internally and seek their advice - and if there isn't one then speak to someone at another charity. (LT)

Have confidence in your own abilities and potential – never be put off going for promotions on the basis of gender and don’t feel like you have to imitate male behaviors to advance (CM)

How can we promote fundraising? By sharing what we do with our colleagues, educating them about our profession, and by believing in ourselves and stopping feeling like underdogs. (LC)

By celebrating the fact that we help change the world and we’re generally very good at what we do. We should be proud of being Fundraisers, and never apologise for it (CM)

It seems that in order to go up the ladder in fundraising, more often than not, one needs to become a manager of others and takes you away from fundraising. Do you see this continuing or will there be more opportunities to be a fundraiser but still progress in your fundraising career. I definitely spend far less time fundraising than I did in the past. But I still keep close to fundraising with involvement in corporate pitches, major donor meetings, thanking people so I feel I have a nice balance in my role. (LC)

It's true that people management becomes more important as you progress up the ladder. For me though there's nothing that brings greater job satisfaction than seeing and supporting others to become fantastic fundraisers. If you want to remain hands on with fundraising you might find a senior role at a smaller organisation would be right for you. (LT)

How do you become a manager or team leader without staff line management experience? Everyone has to start somewhere. My first team management role was me and two direct reports and I’d never managed anyone before. You can make yourself more ready by offering to manage volunteers or interns in your current role. Let your manager know that you’d like to be a manager yourself one day, maybe there’s a project management role which would give you transferable skills.  (LC)

 

A key element of being a good Manager is being self aware about your personality traits, and how to interact with and impact on others. If you can develop an awareness of who you work well with and why; and who less well with and why; and what you can do to work effectively with a broad range of people it’ll stand you in great stead for the challenges of moving into management. Also remember everyone finds stepping up into management daunting to some extent – very few people find it easy. (CM)
How do you inject enthusiasm into your team? By being enthusiastic yourself and being interested in them. It can be quite tiring when you don’t feel like it but the manager’s mood has a big effect on their team so learning to manage yourself is a big factor in effectively managing and motivating a team. (LC)

By celebrating successes (loudly!); showing the team the impact we’re having on beneficiaries; having a clear vision and making sure the team understands what we’ve achieved so far and where we are on the journey; and encouraging people to keep going when things are tough (CM)

How do you stay motivated? My team motivates me because I love being around people. Spending time with beneficiaries is also hugely motivating. I also enjoy the opportunity to share things I’ve learned with other people at events like the IOF convention (LC)

Having contact with beneficiaries; reflecting on the progress we’ve made and the exciting things we can still achieve; spending time with other inspirational Fundraisers – those in my team and others in the sector. 

What are the opportunities for graduates in fundraising?  Most medium-large charities will have some entry level jobs – maybe admin/assistant roles. Don’t be too proud, we all have to start somewhere. There are also structured volunteering and intern programmes at many charities too which will increase the likelihood of getting a paid role. (LC)
Are there more opportunities for development/experiences in larger or smaller charities? It’s probably more structured at larger charities whereas smaller charities might give more opportunities to do different things simply because they’re smaller so everyone has to be more flexible. (LC)

I think you can gain great experience at both small and large charities. You may be able to work on bigger projects/partnerships/campaigns at big charities but small charities can give you the chance to develop a broad range of experience and gain more responsibility faster. I’ve got a mix of small/large charity experience and have gained from both (CM)

Would you say professional qualifications are necessary to progress to more senior levels? I can’t cos I haven’t got one! It can’t hurt though and might give you the edge over another candidate. (LC)

 

I’ve got a professional qualification but the benefits for me were less about it ticking a box on my CV, and more that it helped me develop my skills as a manager, leader and strategist. The course was great for me at the time I did it (Head of team level) and definitely helped me adjust to being a Director, but I don’t think it played a significant part in my CEO’s decision to recruit me (CM)
How have you improved/developed your time management skills as your jobs have become more challenging?  I learned some time management techniques and tools early on in my career which have stood me in good stead. I’ve also got better at knowing how long things are likely to take and giving myself preparation time in advance. (LC)

As you go higher in your career you have more control over how you spend your time – it’s easier to push back on things that aren’t appropriate for you to get involved with. I also make sure I block time out in my diary before periods I know will be particularly demanding (budget rounds etc) to make sure I have the space I need to deliver (CM)

What’s the next step after reaching the top in Fundraising? Is it agency-side or Chief Executive?  It’ll vary. Some people think being a Fundraising Director is the best job in the world. Others go on to be consultants, chief executives, corporate world, loads of options! (LC)
What do you think is the most important skill a Fundraising Director should have? Ability to lead their team to translate organisational strategy into a fundraising strategy work together to deliver it (LC)

Building a skilled and motivated team – that is valued by the rest of the charity. (LT)

Influence and persuasion – being able to get the organizational buy-in your team needs to be able to deliver. And the ability to stay calm in a crisis! (CM)

Three tips about being a good Director of Fundraising You’re only as good as your team. Build strong working relationships with the senior management team and the board. Be available to your people (LC)

Your Board, CEO and other Senior Management colleagues are your pivotal relationships – handle them as you would Major Donors; have a clear vision of where you want to take your team, and have the courage to stick to it; just keep going – be relentless (CM)

What is the single most important advice that got you to where you are today? Learn to get over your fear of public speaking (LC)

Put your energy into being as good as you can be for your charity (and don’t spend your energy focusing on how others should be better) (LT)  

The most important person is the donor – be truly donor focused and led and your fundraising will be successful (CM)

For anyone fairly new in fundraising what is the one piece of advice you would give them? 

A “can-do” attitude will get you a long way! Make life easier for your bosses. They’ll love you for it (LC)

Welcome to the best profession in the world! Try to understand your donors as well as you – learn about them, talk to them, listen to them. Everything else will flow from this. Enjoy it! (CM)

How do you know when you’re ready to take the next step? When you’ve stopped learning in your current role or when you see another role that you’d like to do more. But don’t rush from one thing to the next. Building up a solid track record is important and I’m always slightly suspicious of people who don’t look like they’ve been able to stick at things. (LC)

Really echo Lucy’s point above – one of the main challenges for Fundraising right now is that people are not taking the time or approach to really learn about each level of job before wanting to move up to the next one. Drive/ambition is great but too many people are trying to move up too quickly, which is then causes problems for the charity and for them. You have a build a career and your own skills/experience – and sometimes this means staying put to see a project/cycle through. Other times it does mean a move when you’re ready to take the next step – but into the right role, not one beyond your ability at that time (CM)

How important is networking to career development?

Networking is very important but I really dislike the word. I prefer to call it making friends! (LC)

Really important – and so valuable in gaining sector information and insight. Fundraisers are generally open and happy to talk so take advantage of that (CM)

What’s the best way to get started in a newly developed post in a new structure? Agree what the short and long term priorities are with your manager. Ask them to define what success looks like so you know what you’re working towards (LC)
Would you recommend a mentor from outside or inside our sector?

Maybe both? Get many people around you who you can go to for advice – not necessarily as formal, structured mentors – but trusted friends with a range of experience will be invaluable during your career. (LC)

Definitely – I’ve got one from inside and outside and it’s really useful to get their perspective (CM)

Is it possible/advisable to get a mentor to guide you through the career path? A mentor is useful to help you ask yourself the right questions and play devil’s advocate. They won’t be able to tell you what to do but they might be able to help you work it out for yourself. (LC)
How do you balance career progress and personal life? Over time I’ve managed to find the right balance that’s comfortable for me. I go to quite a lot of evening and weekend events but also volunteer as a trustee for another charity so it balances out (LC)

It gets easier – you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. You definitely have to be strict with yourself about not checking the Blackberry at weekends etc but that self management is possible (CM)

How many of us in this room will become Fundraising Directors?!

Not all of you but not all of you will want to. I hope that those that want to will be one day (LC)

Any of you that want to do, can! (CM) 

Tips for networking please Twitter is useful for finding other fundraisers and having a chat with them online which helps. IOF has lots of special interest and regional groups. Contacting someone whose work you’re interested in and offering to buy them a coffee works too! (LC)
Do you think it is a good idea to work in a variety of different fundraising areas or become a specialist of one?  It’s probably useful to have direct experience of a couple of different areas but it’s not a prerequisite. (LC)

Specialising is great as it builds skills/responsibility. It’s fairly easy to develop a knowledge of other fundraising areas by reading, conferences and volunteering to help out other teams (CM)

Given that to get to middle management/head of a team in a specialist area ie trusts/major gifts/DM you need to specialise, how do you make that leap to Director of Fundraising where you need knowledge of all areas? You don’t need in-depth knowledge of all areas as a Director, you need to be able to hire good heads of department and not feel threatened that they might know more about something than you and let them get on with their jobs. (LC)

You don’t need to know everything about every area of Fundraising to be a Director – you need to know the key elements of best practice/sector benchmarks so you can manage your teams effectively. What’s far more important is influence/persuasion skills for internal buy in; communication skills to enthuse your donors, organization and team about your vision; and leadership skills for your team (CM)

How might you get experience in an area of fundraising you’re not directly employed in? Secondments, job shadowing, training, being part of a cross-team project… (LC)
How easy is it to move from one area of fundraising to another? I’d like to see more of this as I don’t think there’s enough movement between teams. A good start would be to chat to your manager about it and see if there could be an opportunity for a job swap or secondment or something (LC)

It’s definitely possible as donor relationship building skills are common across many if not all areas of Fundraising. I’ve moved staff across several times where I’ve felt they have the attributes to be successful in a different type of fundraising (CM)

For someone who wants to attain head of Individual Giving and then Director of Fundraising but does not have a DM, major donor background, without retraining in these areas what would you suggest? Something that isn’t a step down. You could try getting experience via the sort of ideas above like job swaps etc. Realistically though it’s harder to move sideways without experience or training as you’re likely to be up against other candidates who do have experience. So if you’re serious about the long-term aims it’s worth taking the time to train or do a more junior role for a while. (LC)
How do you build your corporate leadership skills outside of the fundraising function with a possible eye on progressing to CEO level? Consider becoming a trustee for another charity. Join sector organisations and become a leader within them. Seek advice from ACEVO. Find mentors at CEO level and in the corporate world. Consider leadership training and qualifications such as an MBA. (LT)
How do you capitalize on your success to gain higher levels of responsibility? By exploring opportunities with your current line manager to take on more responsibility – but this always needs to be in the context of what’s right for the charity and the donors, not what’s best for your career (CM)
How do you decide which qualifications to undertake and when? I look at what I felt I needed to move up to Fundraising Director, and chose a Certificate in Management course focused on management/leadership. So I think it’s about matching an appropriate qualification to the attributes of the career step you want to get to (CM)
Is it important to be strategic in career progression or opportunistic? I think it’s good to have a broad strategy but also be open to great opportunities and realistic that you can get career curve-balls that force you to rethink (CM)
How do you recommend aspiring leaders develop their personal profile in the sector? Get involved with the IOF and your regional group. Write articles for the sector press, set up your own blog, join twitter. Put yourself forward to speak at conferences. Talk to fundraisers with a high profile for tips and ask them to put you forward when they hear of opportunities. (LT)

In a charity with no career progression programme and limited personal development opportunities how would you suggest we proactively seek promotion?

Can you give any tips on how best to go about pushing/asking for promotion/moving up the ladder? What works to back this up?

Tricky – I would think about whether there is a business case for the charity to promote you. What areas could it enable you to move into? Potentially how much more could be raised if you were to move into a higher role? How can you help deliver the charity’s goals? Then chat to your line manager and see if there is an opportunity for a discussion (CM)
How do you keep yourself energised once you reach the top? Recognising what energises you and make sure you make time for this - for example by keeping close to the cause or spending time with your team. Also recognising when you're feeling the strain and the coping mechanisms that work for you (for me that’s great holidays!) (LT)
How important is it to be an active member of the IOF? It’s not essential (at the moment – it may well be in the future) but it can only help you build your networks and by giving back to the profession you will also find you develop. (LT)
Did you always know you were going to be a fundraiser? What made you want to get to the top of your chosen profession? For me, yes. And I wanted to reach the top because I love, love, love fundraising and I also wanted to contribute to the wider organisation outside of fundraising. (LT)

I was always fascinated by fundraising – from helping count home money box collections as a kid. I originally started as a Policy Officer then quickly realized I loved the pressure of having to hit targets so moved into fundraising. Then I’ve always wanted to know how good I could be and what level I could reach, so I’ve just kept moving up. I love all aspects of fundraising, and particularly enjoy being able to have the overall strategic view of which income streams to invest in at particular times (CM)

My current role and majority of my experience is in volunteer fundraising and volunteer management. What experience has been important as part of a wider fundraising portfolio? For me team leadership and management is the most important experience, so having a background in volunteer fundraising will mean you're well placed to manage a wider portfolio. (LT)  

Understanding best practice in donor recruitment/development from my Major Gifts background – it’s key to all income streams (CM)

How would you deal with a colleague you have a conflict/personality clash with? You have to be brave and have an open and honest conversation with them - relationships are two way so you can only resolve it together. (LT)

You have to focus on what you’re both trying to achieve, and put the organization first. It’s also worth stepping back and assessing what you’re doing to acerbate the situation and how if you behave differently they might respond differently (CM)

How would you approach your manager about taking on more responsibility to develop and take a step up? Prepare a business case that shows how you taking on more responsibility can enable the charity to deliver it’s objectives (CM)
How can I learn more about charity licensing? Go to the Brand Licensing Europe exhibition in October and talk to the charity exhibitors there as well as attend some of the talks. LIMA might also be able to put you in contact with people in the industry. (LT)
How do I move from being a Trusts and Grants fundraiser into international development? I already have some experience in this area but it is still quite limited? Might be worth volunteering at an international development charity to gain some more experience, or chatting to someone who recruits to the positions you’re interested in to see what they look for in applicants. (CM)
How do I make the move from working as a Trusts and Grants fundraiser working for a large charity into a consultancy, freelance role? Develop your networks and contacts – most consultancy work comes via personal contacts. Start writing a fundraising blog and promoting it via social media to establish your profile. Explore opportunities with current/past employers for you to take on short term consultancy contracts. Find another consultant who’s made the move successfully to chat to for advice/mentoring. (CM)
Can you recommend any mentoring schemes that might be available to fundraisers?  The IoF runs mentoring schemes through their regional groups. Or you can easily find mentors through contacts at your charity or in the sector.  (LT)
Another approach is to ask your boss to approach a counterpart at another charity. Someone asked me if I’d mentor one of their team and I said yes! (LC)
I’m trying to move up to the next level. How do I find out where am failing when the feedback is vague? Ask for a full 360 - up, down and across - and make it anonymous. Demonstrate you really want and value open and honest feedback. Have someone you trust collate the responses for you. It's quite likely you're not failing at anything but it may help you identify some small blind spots you can then work on. (LT)
Why do those people who talk a good talk yet have less experience get jobs? To a certain extent that's life, so all you can do is focus on being as good as you can be and demonstrate that at interview - i.e. learn how to talk the talk as well as walk the walk through interview practice. (LT) 
How many different charities do you feel a director should have worked at? An impossible question as everyone is different! Having experience of different charities can be helpful and offer perspective but it’s not essential. (LT) 
Do you think you need experience of different sizes of charity or can specialise in one? This depends on you as an individual and what type and size for organisation is right for you - and where you want to go/ what you want to do in the future. Having experience of different sized organization can be helpful but again it’s not essential. (LT)
How to strike the right balance between personal ambition and teamwork? Put your ambition for the cause and therefore the team first, your personal success will follow. (LT)
How long on average will it take to reach director level from fundraiser level 2 stage? How long on average would you spend within each level in between? It depends on how you develop your experience and skills at each level. There’s no right or wrong timeframe, but you do need to ensure you have learnt everything possible from your current role and are ready for the next step before you move up. I spent 2 years as an Assistant, 2 years at Officer/Manager level and then 9 years in two Head of team roles before moving into my Fundraising Director role. (CM) 
Why are there so few staff from black minority ethnic communities in the charity field and hardly any in managerial positions? A concrete ceiling exists. 

In my experience many charities try to encourage applications from candidates from BME communities but aren’t always successful. (CM)

This is a real issue for the sector. There’s a BME Group as part of the Institute of Fundraising which exists to provide support and networking. Maybe this under-representation is something that the Institute could help address within the sector as a whole? It certainly needs addressing! (LC)
What alternative career paths/options might be open to fundraisers who don’t make it into senior level posts? Sometimes it's okay to recognize you're happy having reached a certain level, we don't all need to progress up the ladder. Other career options may be sideways moves into other disciplines to expand your fundraising expertise or a move into a similar role at another charity (to get experience of a different cause). Or you may want to consider working for a fundraising agency or consultancy or becoming self-employed. (LT)
How can we judge the best time to wait for a role to come up in our own charity and when to jump to a different organisation? (it’s sometimes a dead man’s shoes situation) My advice would be to ensure you make the most of your current role; learn everything you can it then consider your best next step. If that promotion is likely to come up at your charity reasonably soon that’s great; if not you probably need to think about moving. (CM) 
How do you negotiate higher pay?

Don’t know, never have! (LC)

This is a hard one and I've only ever negotiated for others not for myself. This is usually best done at the point of taking a role, but if not make sure you provide evidence and benchmarking from across the sector to demonstrate the need for higher pay. The more evidence you can provide the easier you’ll make it for them to negotiate upwards on your behalf. (LT)

The most effective approach is to focus on what the team member can deliver for the organization; benchmark against similar posts in the sector; assess what the cost of the staff member leaving would be (recruitment plus loss of income in any interim before they are replaced) and ensure the proposed salary change is within your organisation’s payscales and policy. It’s essential to make it evidence based not personality based and to leave emotion out of it (CM)

How do you make the transition from officer to manager within the same team? What does it take to move from officer to senior officer? How do you manage the change in relationships with your colleagues? It can help to take on cross-team projects to show leadership and a wider understanding of your team's work - as well as to show your aptitude and ability. Also you need to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of what's involved with managing people as well as budgets. So ask colleagues in these roles for advice and mentoring (as officer, senior officer, manager etc mean different things in different charities). If successful in taking the step up then open and honest conversations with colleagues from the start are key (understand what motivates them, what frustrates them, where they want to go etc). (LT)
Do you like your staff to have volunteering experience?

It is a nice to do rather than a need to do - although I love to see members of the fundraising team supporting their colleagues and volunteering at events, helping other parts of the charity etc. And its win-win as I'm sure it helps them to build relationships, increase their understanding of the charity as well as other fundraising disciplines - it worked for me! (LT)

I also encourage and expect my team to volunteer at one another’s events – it’s a great way to gain experience of other income streams, building donor relationship skills and foster a team ethos. We’re win and lose together and there’s nothing more bonding than getting soaking wet at the Great North Run with your colleagues (CM)

After how long is it appropriate to discuss an increase in responsibilities/promotion? It depends on the role, organisation and on the context. When you feel you are performing really well in your role ask for extra projects and responsibilities to both stretch you and help the team. Your manager will usually really welcome this and it will leave you well placed to go for a promotion when the opportunity arises. (LT)
In a charity where it is assumed that one continues to take on additional responsibility/expanding role without any formal recognition, how would you suggest we seek to formalise this? You can always ask for your job description to be updated to reflect new responsibilities and your expanding role. Relish the opportunity that an expanding role presents, and the development you will get as a result. (LT)
When asked to take on responsibilities beyond your job how do you ensure you are recognised for this and can use it for career progression without leaving the organisation? You may not always get recognised straight away, often there can be an expectation that you'll take on more as you grow in your role. Make sure you use them as opportunities to really shine and show what you're capable of - the more you take on the more indispensable you become and the more recognition you will get in the long term. You can always ask for your job description to be updated to reflect new responsibilities. (LT)
How do you deal with higher managers who don’t seem to recognise and value your skills?  They may do but just haven’t let you know. Try asking them for some feedback on how you’re doing. (LC)
Do you have to have a “strategic” mind to be successful in fundraising? What if you’re better at “doing the do” but you feel you lack on the strategic side of things? Can you still progress to the next level up? Would experience or studies help with this? Strategy and 'strategic' are words that are overly used. Think of it as planning instead, I'm sure you do a lot of planning as part of 'doing the doing'. Talk to someone in the role you'd like to progress to about the kind of planning they do and read all the strategy documents you can get your hands on - you'll soon find it's not rocket science! (LT)
Liz T – you build a DM programme from scratch? Amazing! Where did you start and how easy was it to get buy-in for such enormous investment?  I started getting buy-in at my interview by getting a feeling of the organisation's appetite to invest and their commitment to creating a change. But this turnaround has been achieved by a great DM team who have focused on those methods and campaigns that really deliver, and not on being 'innovative'. We have worked hard to get continued buy-in and educate our trustees, going to them quarterly to report on the performance of the programme and requesting investment in bite-sized chunks. We've still got a long way to go before we reach our full potential! (LT) Good luck!

You can download these questions as a pdf here

 

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