What does the public think about fundraising as a career?
November 4th, 2019, YouGov

What does the public think about fundraising as a career?

Fundraising is a diverse profession, associated with a range of different skills. New research conducted for the Institute of Fundraising explores people’s perceptions of the profession, considering the types of people most interested in, and best suited to, a career in fundraising.

A sizable proportion (41%) of working age adults say that they are very or quite positive towards fundraising as a profession, rising to half (50%) of those aged 16-24. Young people (aged 16-24) are also more likely to say that doing something they are passionate about (71%), working for an ethical, responsible employer (55%) and wanting to make a difference (44%) are very important to them, which could explain their positivity towards fundraising.

A quarter (25%) of working age adults say that they would be very or quite interested in working in fundraising, though the vast majority lack interest in it. For those that say they have an interest in working in fundraising, this is most often due to making a difference to society (65%), that it would be a job to be proud of (53%) and personal fulfilment (47%). As young people are more likely to say they want to make a difference with their career, there could be value in educating them about fundraising as a profession. However, there is still some hang up around the salary, with close to two in five (38%) young people saying that they think it would be lower paid than other professions.

The skills required for working in fundraising are not clearly defined, with respondents mentioning an array of different skills that they associate with the profession, suggesting that a range of different people could be suited to a career in this sector. Being creative, being an effective communicator and being able to influence people are most often associated with fundraising (each 37%).

Overall, it seems that positivity is key, with people feeling that a positive mental attitude and passion and commitment to causes (both 48%) comes above previous fundraising experience (37%) and qualifications when trying to get a job in fundraising. A university education (5%) and good exam results (2%) are considered less important.


Thinking about a career more broadly, whilst doing something you are passionate about (55%) and earning a good salary (53%) are ‘very important’ factors when considering a career, a work / life balance (78%) is perceived to be the most important aspect. This suggests that being able to work for a company with reasonable hours is key for many, so that they can enjoy their free time out of the workplace, which will be a pull factor for those going into any career.

Download the full report here»