Face-to-face fundraising has been around for nearly 20 years now evolving out of Austria and now having spread across the world and proven to be an incredibly successful way of raising funds.
I first started recruiting for face-to-face fundraising over 12 years ago and in that time have personally interviewed and placed thousands of people in agencies themselves and over the last 6 years my team at Flow Caritas has focused on in-house fundraising operations.
As is the nature of the job many of these recruits rapidly left to study, travel or pursue careers they felt more appropriate to their skills, but a lot have stayed in the industry and gone onto bigger and better things in the charity sector. Incidentally a few have gone onto be quite famous, but that's for the pages of a gossip magazine!
One of the things that I have always felt strongly about is that the sector should recognise the skills that fundraisers pick up working in the field and that these can be harnessed by charities to their great advantage. Im not saying all fundraisers would suit an office environment but there are some really passionate, clever and talented people working in the field and their street or door experience should be viewed as a real positive to an employer.
I thought it would be interesting to speak to a few ex-face-to-face fundraisers and see where their career has taken them since they left the field:
Nick is now a Business Development Manager with Centrepoint, but started in the sector as a street fundraiser.
Nick got onto the idea of progressing his career in the charity sector after a stint as a street fundraiser. Nick felt it was a great way of getting into the sector.
fundraising is about knowing how to persuade people to do something they were not planning to do. If you can do that on the street, you can do it anywhere
Sacha is now a Fundraising Initiatives Team Assistant with UNICEF.
Sacha just fell into street fundraising but absolutely loved it and went onto be very successful. She felt it helped her by increasing her knowledge of the charity sector, getting her talking to people from charities and gave her real inspiration. She said:
I'd really recommend it as a great way to get into the charity sector as it shows potential employers how dedicated, tenacious and focused you are. Everyone I speak to at my current role is always impressed that I started my career as a street fundraiser
Stephanie is currently a Supporter Recruitment Manager with the NDCS.
having completed a law degree, volunteer for charities and worked at RNLI's Regional Office, I thought finding a job wouldn't be difficult. I underestimated how competitive the sector is.
Stephanie went onto apply for a few charity graduate schemes but after a lot of hard work took the plunge, much to her parents dismay and became a street fundraiser. About the experience Stephanie says:
it was one of the most enjoyable years of my life. As well as having great fun, meeting lifelong friends and meeting new people every day, I was doing a job that I was proud of and getting closer to a career within the sector.
Stephanie believes that becoming a face-to-face fundraiser was definitely strategic. She now manages million pound budgets and is responsible for recruiting 60,000 supporters a year but now manages face-to-face agencies who do that for her.
Janine is now a Direct Marketing Manager with Shelter.
Janine spent 8 years working in face-to-face fundraising eventually with the in-house team at Shelter ending up in a management position. She then made the move across to Direct Marketing and hasn't looked back. About street fundraising Janine says :
Face-to-face helps you to be able to adapt quickly, cope with a demanding job and be determined to succeed. In relation to her current role and how it has helped she also says - it has given me a very intuitive understanding of supporters, what their motivations are and what kind of language, messages and examples of charities work will encourage them to support
Laura is the Senior Community Fundraising Co-ordinator with Amnesty International UK.
Laura didn't always enjoy her time as a street fundraiser but it's the reason she now works in the charity sector. Asking her whether she enjoyed her role on the streets she said:
sometimes, but I think it is a very hard job to do for a long time.
So its not all a bed of roses
I always find Flow Caritas extremely helpful and diligent in finding the right person for my roles
Andrew Moffatt, Bowel Cancer UK
Working with Flow Caritas has enabled us to recruit excellent managers in a fraction of the time we would otherwise have spent.
Jacky Bourke-White, Age Concern
all the candidates they have provided have been well briefed and of exceptionally high calibre
Anouk Agussol, Help The Aged
It's great to work with an agency who are knowledgeable about the sector
Kate Bell, British Heart Foundation
Flow Caritas are a fantastic company who has made our recruitment considerably easier.
Amanda Conway, WSPA