Why I chose to be a fundraising researcher at Cancer Research UK

Third Sector Promotion Cancer Research UK

We spoke to Alice Diggory, head of fundraising intelligence at Cancer Research UK, about what it's like to work in her team and the roles she's recruiting for.

Alice Diggory, head of fundraising intelligence, Cancer Research UK
Alice Diggory, head of fundraising intelligence, Cancer Research UK

Are you a curious person? Passionate about the impact philanthropy can have? Cancer Research UK is expanding its fundraising intelligence team and is currently recruiting for a research manager.

We caught up with Alice Diggory who heads up the team for insider insight into the team culture, the fundraising research roles she’s recruiting for and top tips to propel your career in this field.

Alice, tell me a bit about your role as head of fundraising Intelligence

My role as head of fundraising intelligence is brand new. It’s the outcome of increased investment by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) in the research and insight work that drives our high value fundraising. My core responsibility is to ensure that research, information and analysis is used effectively to maximise the success of our fundraising activities.

How did you get to this point in your fundraising career?

My first taste of fundraising was as a student telephone fundraiser whilst at university. I was really excited by how donors, and philanthropy, could make important things happen. I quickly realised the bit I loved most was learning about the alumni, why they were supporting the university and the positive role that philanthropy had in their lives. That led me into a prospect research role at King’s College London where I worked on their award-winning World Questions|King’s Answers campaign, which eventually raised £650m.

I left King’s in 2012 to join Cancer Research UK, heading up their prospect research team. I was working in support of the Create The Change campaign, and others, to raise £100m in support of the Francis Crick Institute. In 2016, I moved into a much broader role as head of high value operations. For the last two and a half years I’ve led all operations functions that support CRUK’s high value fundraising. Then three months ago we took the decision to increase investment in operations and create my current role – head of fundraising intelligence.

And why did you choose to work at Cancer Research UK in particular?

In 2012 CRUK was just at the tipping point of harnessing its incredible track record in mass fundraising and building equal success in philanthropy. I was excited to join at the very start of that journey and be part of such an important organisational shift.

How would you describe your team’s working culture?

CRUK is an ambitious organisation with a sense of fun, and the fundraising intelligence team is no different. We are a team that’s really committed to excellence and are passionate about our range of expertise and how we can support fundraisers to build long-lasting relationships with donors and partners.

Are you recruiting at the moment?

I’m currently building the fundraising intelligence function and to do that, I need great people. I’ve started with my leadership team, and have created two senior fundraising intelligence managers – one to lead our prospect research function and another to lead our reporting and insight function. We currently have a vacancy for a research manager to work with our established major giving team. I’m looking for someone with a passion for philanthropy and information who wants to build a career in an ambitious team."

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What do you love most about your role?

The best thing about my role is CRUK’s donors and partners – I find their commitment to our mission inspiring.

What kind of people would enjoy being in your fundraising intelligence team?

Most likely people looking to join the team would come from a role in another high value fundraising organisation – another charity, or a university. But it could be a great team for anyone with experience in sales or customer relationship management. Ultimately, fundraising intelligence is a place for curious people who have a passion for the impact that philanthropy can have.

What top tips would you give to people looking to build their career in prospect research or insight?

I think it’s really important to work in genuine partnership with your fundraising colleagues – you have a shared objective and should use each of your differing expertise to achieve it. I also believe that in any intelligence role you get so much more out of it if you put decent time into it – you won’t truly be able to make an impact in your first year.

The role featured in this article has now expired.

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