Refine Your Search
Refine Your Search

Cause or career in fundraising?

04 February 2015 Candidate Blogs

Cause or career – Morgan Hunt gets behind the careers of fundraisers.


Is cause or career the ‘big question’ for fundraisers?

It states the obvious to say that fundraising is a critical role of any charity, yet it is an important fact to state since getting the right kind of person in place with the right kind of experience could be the make or break of the organisation. Many charities rely on the goodwill, values and experiences that lie at the core of their fundraiser; people who have joined them from different backgrounds, who embrace a cause that envelopes their very wellbeing. 

The cause is often greater than the rewards - sometimes almost self-sacrificing. Yet fundraising is a skill like any other; you need to be creative and ‘gutsy’; not afraid to speak your mind, ask for money, tap into funds, a kind of commercial mindset that drives a person forward in our capitalistic society, even if this flies in the face of what a fundraiser is all about.

In Morgan Hunt’s experience many fundraisers do not change their cause for more pay and in a sense this skews the normal characteristics of supply and demand which sets pricing. High demand and low supply drives up cost in the world of business economics and this kind of market ‘disruption’ will impact on what fundraisers are paid and how they are rewarded.

So what do fundraisers say?

Morgan Hunt ran a poll to find out if cause or career was a major consideration for fundraisers. Would they move jobs for a different cause in order to further their career? Our poll is by no means statistically valid but gives some insight into the motivations behind being a fundraiser. 

It is worth noting that on speaking to a fundraiser who had a previous life working on London’s Underground, who took up studies that would give him the skills to start a charity with a cause that was close to him; he was clear about his views: “you have to get over the fact that people get paid to do a job, this is my living, but I do something that I enjoy, that is rewarding in many ways that my previous life was not. You cannot run a charity successfully on just volunteers”. This is a clinical response that does not deny the nagging commercial principles that lie beneath it.

So would fundraisers move jobs for a different cause in order to further their career? 

Our poll says a fundraiser would swap causes to further their career. No one said that they would swap for more pay.


What skills should fundraisers make sure that they have?

  • Commercial principles – understanding the difference between a surplus and profit. Low overhead doesn't necessarily mean an organisation is good at its cause, or that its turnover is low and its people productive; or that the group is spending wisely.
  • Creative ideas – how to access funds.
  • Understanding your donors and how to tap into them.

Among others these would be a priority.

At Morgan Hunt our highly specialist fundraising and charities team maintains in-depth knowledge of the sector and how policy and regulatory developments, and change affect the market. We work closely with both clients and candidates to offer a consultative approach in order to expertly match candidates across a broad range of disciplines with their ideal fundraising job. To find out more contact our fundraisers team on 0207 419 8911 or [email protected]


Latest News & Views