'The Certificate in Fundraising helped me get my dream job'

Photo of Hayley Kenward

Guest Bloggers | 12 December 2018

Hayley Kenward MInstF(Cert), who graduated from the Certificate in Fundraising last month, answers questions on why she decided to undertake the qualification, the skills and knowledge that she learned from it, and explains how it helped her find her dream job.

How did your career in fundraising begin?

I have been fundraising for charities for the past 15 years or more, taking part in events and raising sponsorship. In 2010 my best friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer so I started to fundraise on a different level, putting on events myself as well as taking part in charity events. This was mainly for Target Ovarian Cancer Charity and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

In 2016 my best friend lost her battle and this turned my life upside down in many ways. I also wanted to step away from cancer so opened myself up to raise money for a couple of non-cancer related charities.

At this time I was a self-employed business owner but I had lost all interest in that and was unhappy. In late 2017 I decided I wanted to sell my business and pursue a career in the third sector by becoming a professional fundraiser. I could do what I love most but at the same time get paid for it.

Why did you decide to undertake the Certificate in Fundraising?

I became a member of the Institute of Fundraising, and in November and December 2017 I took a couple of short courses and also registered for the Certificate in Fundraising, which I was due to start in February 2018. I paid for this myself so asked my family and friends to give me money for my birthday and Christmas. I then sold my business in March 2018 and was effectively unemployed.

I had started to volunteer for Chestnut Tree House Children's hospice (CTH) in September 2017 so I approached the fundraising manager to get her permission to use CTH as my case study for my Certificate in Fundraising, which she agreed to.

How did you find the workload?

I completed assignments one and two when I was unemployed, having never worked for a charity. It was hard work and I didn't get the marks I wanted, but I passed. I went to three interviews in total and it was at the third that I got my dream job – Community Fundraising Coordinator for St John Ambulance. 

I have been working here since 21 May 2018 and completed assignments three and four while working for the charity. I was delighted when I got a merit for my last assignment, I had completed the Certificate in Fundraising on a high.

In hindsight, if I'd started the Certificate in Fundraising now, I'd like to think I would get a merit for all four assignments. But I have passed the qualification, which is the main thing, and I'm very proud of that. It was hard work but only what you'd expect when you are seeking a professional qualification which charities do recognise.

I do believe undertaking this Certificate in Fundraising helped me get my job and I did notice that when looking for jobs, some did mention the IoF qualification as desirable.

What skills and knowledge have you been able to apply in your role at your charity from completing the qualification?

Gaining the qualification has given me lots of confidence. It’s made me realise that I do know what I am doing and saying, and it’s also helped me understand the bigger picture.

I’m more aware of other areas of fundraising and not just community, which is the area I work in. It’s also helped me to support my colleagues, to guide them if needed and to share what I’ve learned from doing the qualification. One of my colleagues has recently registered for the Certificate in Fundraising.

What makes you feel most proud of the process of completing your Certificate in Fundraising?

I was never great at school and I never went to university, so I was scared of failing. I had self-funded due to not working in the sector at the time so didn’t want to fail due to the financial commitment.

But I am very passionate about what I’m doing, I’ve come into the third sector because I want to help people and help make a difference so to have completed the Certificate in Fundraising and passed makes me extremely proud of myself. There was so much research to do for each assignment, but I enjoyed it and learnt a lot from doing this.

And finally, what was your highlight from your time doing the qualification?

Passing! And of course, meeting fellow fundraisers from all walks of life, listening to their experiences, frustrations and challenges and being able to relate to what they were saying, knowing you are not alone and that there’s many people out there facing the same challenges. Just being able to bounce ideas off each other and talk things through, and most importantly learn from each other, was a personal highlight for me.

Hayley Kenward MInstF(Cert), Community Fundraising Coordinator - London & South Region, St. John Ambulance

The Certificate in Fundraising is the UK’s most recognised fundraising qualification. It provides frontline fundraisers with the theory and principles behind successful fundraising. Practical skills will enable graduates to make an immediate impact on their organisation’s fundraising results and become more confident fundraisers. The qualification can also be completed online. Find out more information on the Certificate in Fundraising, as well as the other qualifications offered by the IoF, here.

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