Fundraising Live: 'Why isn't fundraising attractive to young men?'

13 Feb 2017 News

Mark Astarita, director of fundraising at the British Red Cross

The lack of young men applying for jobs in fundraising is “bizarre”, Mark Astarita, director of fundraising at the British Red Cross, told an audience of fundraisers last week.

Astarita was speaking at Fundraising Live, Civil Society Media's annual conference for the fundraising sector. He was speaking on a panel discussing issues concerning the recruitment and retention of fundraising staff when he asked: “Why is it [a career in fundraising] not more attractive to young men?”

“They can do really well in fundraising,” he said “I still find it bizarre that more young men don’t apply for jobs in fundraising.”

‘Be more flexible’

He also said that the sector needs to be more flexible and allow more part-time working to retain staff and avoid “leakage”.

“We have been dinosaurs in some respects,” he said.

“Two of my most senior fundraisers have come back from maternity leave on three days a week,” he said. “It is working out brilliantly and we have retained extraordinary talent. But even five years ago we might have gone ‘I’m not sure about that’”.

Sonya Trivedy, who was until recently fundraising director at Terrence Higgins Trust, told delegates that by making it clear that you will consider flexible arrangements in recruitment adverts it “really opens up the field of candidates”.

She said a quarter of the THT fundraising team works part-time and that the retention rate for those on part-time contracts is higher.

“People want to be working in different ways,” she said.

Changes to fundraising

Astarita also warned that fundraisers’ jobs were likely to become more difficult in light of recent developments, but that more people would be needed.

“There will almost certainly be less money in the sector,” he said.

“We will need more fundraisers to possibly process less money and to quality assure it,” he said. He said this meant fundraisers would spend more time “listening”.

He said it would be difficult to go to trustees and say: “Over the next five years I’m not seeing a lot of growth - but I need more fundraisers.”

For full details of Fundraising Live 2017, including the programme and a round-up of news and videos from the event click here.



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