BHF: What is it like to work in the philanthropy team?

Third Sector Promotion British Heart Foundation

Want to shape the philanthropic fundraising team at one of the UK's largest charities? We spoke to Hiran Chohan at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) about what it's like to work there and the career opportunities on offer.

Guests enjoy the BHF’s annual summer drinks reception at Drapers Hall
Guests enjoy the BHF’s annual summer drinks reception at Drapers Hall

Hiran, tell me about the career opportunity

We have a number of fantastic opportunities to help shape the BHF’s philanthropic fundraising team. The BHF vision is a world free from the fear of heart and circulatory diseases. These diseases can stop your heart from beating and your blood from flowing properly. Heart failure, congenital heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia and diabetes are all under our microscope. Every three minutes, a family loses a loved one to heart and circulatory diseases.

By joining our team you can help us to beat the heartbreak these diseases cause. Every day you’ll be helping to keep families together for generations to come - that sort of job satisfaction is hard to come by!

If you’re adept at influencing others and able to create engaging fundraising propositions, we want to hear from you!

What is it like to work in the philanthropic fundraising team?

The philanthropy team has an ambition to become a leader in philanthropic fundraising, so we can make a real impact to the millions of people who are affected by heart and circulatory diseases. With our new ambitious strategy there’s lots of growth potential to make a real difference. No two days will be the same and you’ll have the opportunity to work with all departments across the organisation, from healthcare innovation to retail, to research funds.

How would you describe the team culture?

Everyone here is united in their ambition to help us beat heartbreak caused by the world’s biggest killers. We’re supportive, collaborative, driven and open to change. We have a growing team with a good mix of experience. The team ethos is one of collaboration so everyone helps everyone else.

Why is it an exciting time to join?

We’ve recently made some big decisions in terms of growth, looking to increase the investment from philanthropic funds, so it’s an exciting time to be a part of our growing team as we lead the way. If this is something that excites you, joining the philanthropy team could be for you.

Find out more and apply

What do you think makes a great philanthropy professional?

Our values really do encompass what I believe makes the perfect philanthropy fundraiser. If you’re brave, informed, compassionate and driven, this is a great place to be. Personally, I moved across from the private sector and feel the skills embedded in me from my time in banking has helped me to be able to connect with high net worth individuals and provided me with invaluable experience to draw upon when planning a donor journey. Being ambitious and reaching for the stars is also a good trait!

What challenges are philanthropy professionals currently facing?

There is a lot of competition out there with so many worthwhile causes. The biggest challenge we face is communicating the urgent need to fund research to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure heart and circulatory diseases. Not many people know that heart and circulatory diseases are the biggest killers in the world. Due to our success over the years, more people than ever are living longer, but not necessarily better lives. Nine in ten people with coronary heart disease in the UK are living with at least one other long-term condition, such as stroke, dementia and high blood pressure.

That said, we are at a tipping point of research breakthroughs in areas such as regenerative medicine and now have the tools to drive forward research more quickly and efficiently than ever before, for example in the world of data science, so it’s a really exciting time. Significant philanthropic gifts are going to be key to realising these breakthroughs.

What top tips would you offer someone applying for this role?

The philanthropy team here at BHF is evolving so be prepared to be flexible and adaptable. There is a great network of support available, and if embraced, it will equip the fundraiser with all the tools required to be successful.

What do you think makes a ‘wonderful workplace’?

I think a workplace is what you make of it. Here at Greater London House we are stationed in the heart of London in an iconic building, and there is always lots of energy and enthusiasm. A wonderful workplace is one that encourages you to be the best you can be and reminds you why we do what we do.

Sum up what makes BHF a unique charity to work for and a great place to work

I’d say it’s a great place to work because of the culture and the philanthropy team offers an enjoyable working environment. Work/life balance is encouraged, there’s yoga or keep fit classes at lunchtime and a softball team.

The BHF is also the biggest independent funder of heart and circulatory disease research in the UK which is why our work is so vital.

Heart transplants. Clot busting drugs. Pacemakers. Breakthroughs born from visionary medical research – imagine what’s next! Every day we harness cutting edge technology, decades of knowledge, tireless energy and undimmed ambition to beat the heartbreak these diseases cause forever.

There are more than 7 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK. That is almost the population of London. In the time it takes to make a cup of tea someone will have lost their life to a heart attack. You can help us change that.

The BHF wants you to succeed, and will strive to provide all the tools, support and exciting opportunities you need to do the best work of your life. A vital part of this is to immerse yourself in BHF’s culture of continual improvement, curiosity and collaboration.

Apply now to work in the philanthropy team at BHF

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