Assembling your Dream Fundraising Team: Key Roles, Responsibilities and Recruitment Strategies

With a dedicated and high-performing fundraising team, you’ll be able to set an effective fundraising strategy, your events will go without a hitch and you’ll smash your fundraising targets. But how do you know what you need? How do you find the right people? And how do you keep them happy and motivated once you hire them? 

In this guide, we’re looking at the importance of a fundraising team, the key roles within it, recruitment strategies and ideas to boost team morale. Your dream fundraising team could be right around the corner! 

Understanding the Importance of a Fundraising Team

You can’t survive with a one-person fundraising team. Effective fundraising requires so many different skills. Budgeting is fundamental, and so too are project management, marketing and PR. It needs to be a team effort. Someone who is great at marketing won’t necessarily understand event logistics, and they shouldn’t have to. 

With an effective fundraising team in place, you’re enabling people to focus on what they are good at. They can strive for success in their area, safe in the knowledge that the other roles and responsibilities are taken care of by the other team members (although you’ll want them to have the confidence to pitch in with other areas when the pressure is on). A structured team with varying skillsets, experience levels and mindsets is central to successful fundraising. 

With the right team in place, you can brainstorm fundraising ideas, plan and implement events, run social media campaigns, create effective donor programs and much more. You can also scale up your fundraising efforts. 

It’s time to build the right team. 

Defining Key Roles in a Fundraising Team

Before you can effectively build your team, you need to define the roles you need. These can include: 

Team Leader: Arguably the most important role, the team leader will need to work with the team to set the fundraising strategy and oversee its execution across each phase. Once the strategy is in place, the team leader should work with the team to create the fundraising timeline (link to timeline article). They should monitor all progress updates and measure the success of the campaign against key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Event Coordinator: This person will need to be in charge of planning and executing your fundraising events. They will need to work with your finance team on the budget, collaborate with your marketing team on promotion and oversee all elements of event logistics. 

PR Manager: They will be required to develop and implement a media outreach strategy for both local and national media. 

Marketer: Tasked with facilitating all marketing efforts around your fundraising events and campaign. They will work alongside your PR manager and social media manager to set the marketing strategy and measure its effectiveness. 

Social Media Manager: Managing, implementing and reporting on all your social media activity across the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn. 

Copywriter: Someone to come up with the headlines for your fundraising campaign. A good copywriter will be able to craft the stories for your digital fundraising pages, as well as your PR and marketing materials. 

Designer/Videographer/Photographer: Tasked with creating images and videos to help promote your fundraiser. The designer will be required to create page headers, banners and infographics. The videographer and photographer will be essential to make the most of your in-person events, creating assets for marketing and social media illustrating the success of your events. 

Finance manager: This is a crucial role in your fundraising team. Your finance manager will help set your fundraising goals at the start of your strategy and create a budget for any events you’re running. They will be in charge of all money coming in and any money going out. 

Identifying the Skills Needed in Your Team

Aside from the individual roles within your team, there are plenty of transferable skills needed to create a successful fundraising team too. They include: 

Communication: Each team member should be able to communicate the common fundraising goal and wider strategy. They must communicate with other team members and be able to understand, own and detail their individual challenges. Being able to communicate with potential donors at fundraising events is crucial too. You should be looking for great verbal, written and visual communication skills. 

Leadership: Can they own their individual area effectively? Can they inspire others to take action and get them to believe in your cause? Having good leaders in your team gives you the confidence to know that each area of your fundraising campaign is being handled by capable people with the resilience to solve challenges and identify issues as they go, rather than being hand-held throughout. 

Organisation: You want self-starters that have the organisation skills to master their individual area, plan their own requirements and execute them. An organised fundraising team is one that operates in a slick way and that keeps everything moving as it should. If everyone is organising their own tasks and keeping your project timeline and project management tools up to date, it makes the job of the team leader much easier. 

An understanding of human behaviour: Fundraising is often about tapping into people’s emotions and creating a real connection with them. Whether this is through your marketing materials, speeches, or chats with donors at events, it’s vital for your team to understand how people tick and to use this to create an emotional connection. 

Financial literacy: Yes, you may have a finance expert in your team, but each team member also needs a good handle on the money. You don’t want your event coordinator or your social media manager to massively overspend on their individual budgets. 

Planning: Each element of your fundraising strategy needs to be planned effectively. You therefore need good planners at every level of your team. 

Relationship building: You want your individual team members to bond with each other. Fundraising is all about the team effort, and to pull off a major fundraising event you’ll need everyone pulling in the same direction. Each of your team members will also be tasked with building relationships with donors too. 

Adaptability: When it’s all hands on deck in the lead up to a campaign launch or a big event, you want your team members to be able to help out their teammates and to jump on tasks outside their area of expertise for the good of the team. Adaptability is key. 

Confidence: This is the confidence to own their specific area of expertise, but also to talk to people about your cause with confidence and knowledge. 

Identifying these skills in your potential team members comes down to your interview process. When you interview, don’t just concentrate on their specific skills for the job, for example the social media experience of a potential social media manager. Take the time to understand them as people, listen to their values and get them to talk about their experiences where they may have tapped into any of the above traits. 

Don’t just do one sit down interview either. Try and run a couple of rounds of interviews with different tasks and tests so you can get an understanding of their wider skillset. Bring existing team members in too, so they can also gauge any potential candidate’s suitability for a spot in the team. 

Recruitment Strategies for your Fundraising Team

Depending on the make-up of your organisation, whether a national charity, a small animal sanctuary (link to rescue shelters article) or a religious organisation (link to faith-based fundraising guide), you may be looking for paid team members or volunteers. Whichever it is will dictate your recruitment strategy. 

For volunteers, you’ll be looking for people with a specific skillset as mentioned above (volunteers with more than one of the above skillsets will be helpful if you can find them). But you’ll also want volunteers who are willing to give their time to your cause simply for the good of helping. Your own fundraising events are a good place to start. It’s the ideal time to talk about the good work you do, your need for assistance and how this can help push your cause forward. You can put posters up at your event and across the local community too, as well as handing out flyers detailing the need for volunteers. A social media push will be vital. 

Volunteering fairs will be important to recruit good volunteer team members. At a volunteer fair, you’re speaking directly to people who are already engaged with the idea of volunteering. They want to help and are looking for an organisation that best matches their values and skillset. You’ll need to sell your organisation and team to them, just as much as they’ll need to sell their skills to you. You can also create online job postings on websites like Reach Volunteering for volunteer fundraising jobs. 

For paid team members, the first place to start is with online job postings. While mass-market sites like Indeed will help, it also pays to look at specific charity recruitment sites as the people engaging with these websites are specifically looking for a job with a non-profit. CharityJob and Third Sector Jobs are both good places to start. 

But this shouldn’t be your only port of call. Networking events are ideal too. If you’re looking for a marketer specifically, head to a marketing event in your local area – you’ll be surprised at who you might meet. Be ready to sell your organisation and the benefits of working in your team with a 30-second elevator pitch. Social media promotion will also be important (don’t forget LinkedIn) as will reaching out to any stakeholders within your organisation for recommendations from across their networks. 

Nurturing Team Dynamics and Morale

Your fundraising team is exactly that, a team. Yes, individual people may have their own area of specialism, but you’ll all need to pull in the same direction to achieve your fundraising goals. Team spirit and morale therefore play an important role in the success of your team. 

First and foremost, you want to foster a spirit of camaraderie. When new people join, welcome them to the team with a fun activity for everyone. And don’t just choose a night out drinking. Many people choose not to drink, so instead opt for a fun activity like bowling, crazy golf or an escape room. Also, don’t limit these activities to when people join, try and make them a regularly monthly thing. 

Inside the office, you’ll need regular meetings, catch ups and huddles to check on progress but also to encourage team members to collaborate. Try setting tasks for two or more people to complete together to build a sense of teamwork and collaboration. 

You should always celebrate successes too. Simple things like giving people shout-outs in your regular catch ups and personally thanking people can go a long way. And when you’ve held a successful fundraising event, give your team an opportunity to catch up together and look at what worked well in a collaborative setting. This is about acknowledging the great work everyone put in and how you achieved your goals as a team. 

Encouraging creativity is a great way to build morale across your team. Ask people to step away from their day-to-day and come to brainstorming sessions for new fundraising ideas. Bringing people together like this away from their daily tasks naturally encourages them to work together. And if an idea that came from one of your brainstorming sessions eventually becomes a successful fundraiser, well that’s the perfect motivation. 

Training and Supporting your Fundraising Team

Once you hire your individual team members, you can’t just leave them to their own devices. The right support will help them to do their jobs properly, but also to flourish within your team and organisation. 

Regular check-ins are essential during their initial probation period, but also on an ongoing basis once this over. Set them specific objectives in their roles, and also personal development objectives. Then hold regular progress updates to see how they are doing and to understand how you can better support them to achieve their goals. Just remember to use the SMART principle (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) when setting these objectives. 

Support should be offered on a one-on-one basis like this, but also to the wider team in your regular catch ups and huddles. 

Your people will obviously join you with specific skills suited to their roles, but you’ll want them to evolve in their jobs too. Training is essential. Look for specific training courses that are aligned to their skillset and offer them the opportunity to sign up. You can also offer them the chance to attend courses that broaden their skillsets, like management training. 

As we mentioned before, you’ll want team members that can help out their colleagues and pitch in where required. Knowledge of the other aspects of the team will be extremely valuable. To help, encourage members of your team to run training sessions on their particular area of expertise. This will aid with training the other team members and broadening their skillset, but will also help the presenter with their communication and presenting skills – a valuable talent for all your team members. 

Creating Your Dream Fundraising Team

By identifying the skillsets required within your team and the roles you need, you can lay the foundations for your dream fundraising team. You’ll then need to recruit effectively to get the right team members into your organisation. But you can’t stand still. Creating a team dynamic and training people is just as important as getting the right people in the first place. If you do this effectively, you’ll have an engaged team with everyone pulling in the same direction. Then the sky’s the limit with your fundraising goals.