For the love of charity

My first role in the charity sector was at St Cuthbert’s Hospice, Durham.

For those of you who don’t know, hospices are filled with love and joy and as such, they are incredible places to work, every day is a real privilege. High-quality end of life care is so important on many levels, hospice care ensures that people can spend their last few days or weeks in an environment, where their pain is managed to enable them to enjoy time with their friends and relatives. How people die remains in the memory of those who live on and as such those moments are so precious.

It was my time at St Cuthbert’s hospice where I learned the value of relationships and the importance of taking the time to really understand people’s motivations for giving their time or their money. It is fair to say, I left a piece of my heart at the hospice.

After leaving the hospice, I worked for a number of different charities, where again, relationships and getting a real insight into someone’s motivations for giving were of paramount importance to making a success of the role.

Career change

In the 15 years, I was a fundraiser, I had the experience of working with several recruitment agencies, in my job search and when hiring new members of my team. Like many fundraisers I’ve had a mixed bag of experiences, at times feeling like I was being treated like a KPI or shoe-horned into a role that wasn’t right for me.

Late last year when looking for my next role I stumbled across Ashby Jenkins Recruitment…

I sent a message to Ashby on LinkedIn regarding a job I had spotted, Ashby called me first thing on Monday and instead of telling me about the role immediately, she asked me all sorts of questions; the types of causes I liked, where I lived in London, key achievements, it really felt like she was taking the time to get to know me. After we had our initial conversation and established that the role might be a good fit. Ashby asked me to meet her for a coffee to find out a little more about my experience and personality.

It was at this meeting that I realised recruitment, when done well, was the same as relationship-based fundraising. At its core, it is quite simply about getting to know people, understanding what motivates them and trying to find them an option that will keep them engaged. Another thing that separates us from other agencies is that our relationship doesn’t end with you once we’ve found you a role. We stay in touch with anyone we place, often finding them mentors, meeting for coffee, providing training and catching up regularly to ensure that we are helping people achieve their professional goals. Our aim is not only to help you find your next role but to help support your development throughout your career.

I was so inspired by Ashby’s commitment to the charity sector and her determination to improve overall standards in the recruitment industry I decided to join her team.

What makes a good recruiter?

People say there are seven reasons why donors give to charity and a good fundraiser will identify those top reasons and adapt the messaging and offer accordingly. Well, it is the same with recruitment, we get to know our candidates well, what motivates them, what size of charity they would be suited to, what type of manager they are, how they deal with challenging situations, etc.

It is only by knowing what motivates someone and ultimately what makes them happy that we can find them their perfect role, one where they flourish and build their career. 

Overall, you should expect any recruitment agency you are working with to treat you as you would treat one of your donors and you should seek to build a meaningful relationship with them.

What you should expect from your recruitment agency:

  • They should take time to meet you, to understand your personality and your experience – how can they promote you if they only know what is on your CV
  • You should get feedback on your supporting statements
  • They should run through interview preparation with you – this can boost your chances of securing the role so it’s worth doing
  • Insight into the charities you are applying to, if the agency hasn’t taken time to meet you, they probably haven’t met the charity either and won’t add value to your application
  • You should get updates and your calls should be returned
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Six months and counting.

I have been working with Ashby for six months now and it has been an absolute pleasure.

Recruiting fundraisers, when done well and with relationships at the centre of decision making, has very high levels of job satisfaction. I know that I help people to secure great roles that go on to help them buy houses, pay for weddings etc. I also help charities find people who raise a terrific amount of money for them, I have never felt more immersed in the sector then I do now…instead of working for one charity I have the privilege of working for many.

If you are looking for a new role or you are a hiring manager looking for a new team member, we would love to hear from you.