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My job explained: Charity fundraiser

My job explained: Charity fundraiserVikkie Judd is a Supporter Fundraising Officer for mental health charity Rethink. Find out more about her job.

Give us a brief outline of your role and responsibilities?

Rethink works to help people affected by severe mental illness get a better quality of life. I am responsible for raising money from community and events, legacies (money left to the charity in wills) and people who give regularly through direct debit.

Talk us through a typical day’s work

A typical day could include writing thank you letters to people who have raised money for Rethink and made one-off donations. Most days I’ll also be working on a newsletter, email update or other Rethink publication, writing copy about our events.

I’ll also spend time updating our events pages on the website and monitoring the reactivations from donors who have cancelled their direct debit and have since re-started.

How did you get into this job? What qualifications/training did you need?

I joined Rethink after working as a fundraising assistant for another charity. Before that I had another brief temporary job with a children’s hospice and did some volunteering in charity head offices.

One of the most important qualities I had to demonstrate for this job was a commitment to the charity sector and understanding of how to maintain good relationships with donors. The rest I have mostly been able to learn on the job.

What are the best and worst things about your job?

One of the best things about my job is talking to people on the phone who would like to fundraise for Rethink. Many get really excited by their plans and tell me about why they want to support Rethink. It’s great to hear how much support and comfort they’ve found from Rethink.

One of the worst things is that we are quite overstretched in terms of workload and lack of staff. Many people will often ask for more help and support with their fundraising than we are capable of giving.

It’s also frustrating to know that some charities are so well known and we still have a long way to go in making our name and cause instantly recognisable.

What has been your greatest challenge?

A challenge for me has been to manage my own income targets and be responsible for a budget- something I hadn’t done before. It has been a learning curve. Over the last few months we have also had a number of staff changes meaning I’ve had to take on extra work to cover staff shortages.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

In five years I would like to be managing a small team of fundraisers or perhaps even a larger team for a much larger charity.

Finally, do you have any advice for young people who might consider following in your footsteps?

It’s definitely becoming more competitive to secure a job with a charity so I’d recommend getting some voluntary work. Most charities are really keen for the help and ask for some basic charity experience on job descriptions.

I’d also recommend volunteering for different departments, to try and find out what you’d best be suited for and to develop skills in other areas.

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