Fundraising: New qualification in view for fundraising entrants

The first qualification for new entrants to the fundraising profession will be launched next year.

The Fundraising Academy, set up by fundraising consultancy Future Fundraising, will offer what it describes as a new route into fundraising for people who have little or no relevant charity experience.

Rupert Tappin, managing director of Future Fundraising, is to meet Amanda Shepard, head of professional development at the Institute of Fundraising, to discuss whether the new qualification can be incorporated into the institute's training programme. The institute declined to comment on the meeting.

The academy qualification will differ from existing fundraising qualifications, such as the Institute of Fundraising's in-house Certificate in Fundraising Management and the Certified Fundraising Executive accreditation system , which are both aimed at candidates who have several years' experience.

"It's hard to find someone looking for their first job in fundraising who can show that they have the skills and aptitude for the job," said Gill Astarita, chief executive of Volunteer Reading Help and former fundraising director of Action for Blind People, who will head its development working party.

"Without an entry-level qualification to prove that a junior fundraiser has the necessary skill, you just have to take a risk, and that can sometimes be too great for small charities," she said.

The academy will open its doors from spring 2007 and is currently targeting university recruitment fairs for candidates.

The initial intake of 25 candidates will study 14 modules over three months, covering subjects such as corporate, statutory and trust fundraising, legacies and database and IT skills. A recognised specialist in the subject area will teach each module, initially at the academy's London offices.

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