Post-coronavirus, charities are finding that recruitment is tough, especially in fundraising. There are many more vacancies than there are fundraisers at all levels wishing to fill them.

For small charities this is a particularly challenging situation. After all, would you not prefer to be Head of Fundraising at a major national or international charity with a high profile to match, rather than at a small local charity where probably the most you can expect is an occasional mention in the local paper or a brief interview with the nearest local or regional radio station ?

This situation is exacerbated by the number of people registered with job centres who apply for fundraising jobs, despite lacking any qualifications or experience in the role. This is apparently because they are required to submit a flow of applications, even to jobs where they have no chance of success, and probably even less little interest in the charity and/or the post itself.

Faced with this, small charities clearly need to think outside the box, consider what potential applicants will be looking for in a new job and devise an interview programme which will separate the sheep from the goats.

Writing in Fundraising magazine last month, Polly Symondson tackled this recruitment challenge head-on.  It’s an area Minerva has been discussing with its clients and other small charities too.

Fundraising is essentially a hands-on, face-to-face business. So it’s amazing how many small charities think that they can conduct an interview for a fundraising position solely via ZOOM. The interview process consisting solely of questions-and-answers is no longer appropriate for fundraising, if indeed it ever was.

Some years ago, I was faced with leading a team to recruit for a senior, but new, fundraising post. I devised a day-long programme involving practical tests – such as a programme for a fundraising event and a written application to a grant-making trust – and multiple, small-group interviews involving a range of trustees and executive staff, not all of whom were involved in fundraising for the charity. I am glad to say that we made a successful, long-term appointment – but it took hours of teamwork to ensure that the recruitment and interview process was practical and fit-for-purpose.

There is no easy way to bringing the best fundraising professionals on board !