What is it like to work at...JDRF?

Third Sector Promotion JDRF

James Elliott, director of fundraising at JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charity, tells us about what it's like to work for the charity and the head of philanthropy role it's recruiting for.

James Elliott, director of fundraising, JDRF
James Elliott, director of fundraising, JDRF

Tell me about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and what makes it a unique place to work

Our global network is really unusual and is one of the most exciting aspects of JDRF. Our international research programme is world-leading and gives us opportunities beyond those that a UK specific programme could offer. There are also chances to collaborate with colleagues and amazingly dedicated volunteers around the world who are working towards the same goals and facing the same challenges.

What exciting projects are you working on?

We are partnering with other medical research charities to launch an innovative initiative aimed at accelerating research progress into multiple autoimmune health conditions, including type 1, MS and some forms of arthritis. We’re also embarking on a new campaign to reach more people with type 1 and get them involved with research, advocacy and the search for the cure. JDRF has trebled in size in the past 10 years and we are determined to keep up this trend of growth.

What role are you currently recruiting for?

We are currently recruiting for a head of philanthropy  to lead our high net worth fundraising activity to deliver in excess of £1 million year on year and work towards our medium term goal of generating £10 million in voluntary income.

Find out more about the head of philanthropy role

What kind of people are you looking for?

We have a driven staff team who bring high levels of energy and commitment to their work. It’s useful if staff joining us can demonstrate an understanding of the importance of medical research, even if they don’t have a background working in the area. A desire to collaborate and strong communication skills are vital as there is a lot of cross-team working, as is experience and a strong track record of delivering results.

What are the main challenges the successful candidate is likely to face in this role?

There is of course the obvious challenge which would apply to any head of philanthropy role at the moment in that it is a tough fundraising environment out there, with Brexit and the current economic concerns affecting some donors and their forms of giving. However, at JDRF there are still huge opportunities for us as a relatively young and very focused charity.

At JDRF there is the additional challenge of working with colleagues in other countries and supporting your fundraising team to do so too. It is exciting and helpful to work with your fundraising counterparts in other territories but there are cultural barriers sometimes that require time and effort to overcome to make the most of our international networks.

"The staff team works very hard and has a lot of fun doing so – there is a great team atmosphere. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to be part of a highly successful programme to make a lasting impact on the lives of millions of people in the UK and abroad."

Why would someone want to work at JDRF?

Our staff get great opportunities including a first class development programme, a competitive benefits package and even international travel. We have a range of high profile events attended by our president, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, and celebrity supporters which are open to staff across the organisation. The staff team works very hard and has a lot of fun doing so – there is a great team atmosphere. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to be part of a highly successful programme to make a lasting impact on the lives of millions of people in the UK and abroad.

What opportunities for career development does the charity offer?

Development of staff is key to success at JDRF. We have a tailored core L&D programme for all new staff which focuses on developing not only skills but also knowledge. After 12 months, staff have personalised development plans which look at supporting them in their current roles and preparing them for their next role.

Investing in development is one of the ways we can show our commitment to staff and in return we find we have a more successful and motivated team.

Sum up what it’s like to work at JDRF

Our 2018 staff survey told us that 90 per cent of our staff enjoy their work, feel proud to work at JDRF and have job satisfaction, citing their colleagues, the supporters and organisational culture as reasons for this.

Apply for the head of philanthropy role at JDRF

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