The recruitment of fundraisers is a problem that is now reaching really critical levels. Many organisations suffer due to the real difficulties they experience in replacing staff and the impact that this has on their ability to reach their targets for the year-end. This time of year is prime turnover time. Just look at this or other publications to see the expansion in the number of jobs being advertised as fundraisers return from either their summer break or their frantic summer fundraising season, and decide to change jobs.
Fundraisers change jobs far too often. Yes, I know this is a generalised statement but it is still true. The vast majority of the audience at the National Convention this year had changed jobs within the past two years.
Given that one of the key principles of fundraising is that 'people give to people', perhaps more should be done to retain staff. It is accepted that many junior staff use fundraising as a way of getting into charity but even so, it's still a real problem.
The market for fundraisers is growing faster than the numbers coming into the sector. I would love to know just how much of the celebrated £7bn that Gordon Brown threw at the NHS has been spent on recruiting fundraising staff, but this is one of the fastest growth areas across the Institute.
In addition, many more schools are investing in fundraising as well, and this is spreading the current numbers of experienced fundraisers even more thinly than before.
At the same time, the fundraising community continues (and will go on doing so for quite some time) to push against a general level of ignorance and misunderstanding about the existence of and opportunities for fundraising as a career.
Problems, problems, problems. What is being done about any of this? The answer is: quite a bit. We have started a long process of developing individual membership by incorporating ongoing professional development to show our commitment in generating a pool of experienced, knowledgeable fundraisers.
We are also working at getting this message across outside the sector to get more people to consider a career in fundraising. We are working closely with Forum3, the UK's biggest recruitment and volunteering event for the non-profit sector, to promote fundraising at the annual major career fair for those considering a job in the sector. Fundraising will have a much higher profile than in previous years, with a range of sessions aimed at encouraging more people to consider fundraising as a serious career opportunity.
Forum3 runs from 15-16 October at the Business Design Centre, London.
Register at www.forum3.co.uk for a free ticket.