Swiss fundraisers have reported that the most powerful motivator for starting and continuing a career in the fundraising business is the intention of being engaged in a meaningful activity.
According to a recent survey of 152 fundraisers by Swissfundraising, over half of which held senior executive positions (CEOs and Trustees), attractive career prospects and financial rewards are far less important motivators for working in fundraising than the engagement in a meaningful act and the desire to work for a nonprofit organisation.
Typically, most fundraisers joined the profession above the age of 30, implying that being a fundraiser was not his or her first job. Almost two thirds of those surveyed had an academic educational background.
Most participants linked the feelings of joy and pride to their occupation, although they acknowledge that the public image of fundraising does not convey the same optimism. Only one in 100 participants believed that the public viewed fundraising very positively, while 45 per cent said the public image was ‘rather positive’ and over a third (37 per cent) indicated it was ‘rather negative’.
Almost six in ten of those surveyed looked to the national fundraising association to promote the industry and work of fundraisers in the media and over half (52 per cent) want their support in securing legal recognition of fundraising as a profession.
Commenting on the findings, Roger Tinner, Executive Director at Swissfundraising, said:
“This study goes to show that fundraisers – no matter how senior and how successful – are primarily motivated by their passion for the cause and the work of non-profit organisations more generally. It also shows the deepening gulf between their own pride in the work that they do on behalf of the charity and public perception of fundraising. There is certainly a role for fundraising associations and other representative bodies to champion the profession and communicate just how important fundraising is in enabling vital charitable services.”
For more information contact Roger Tinner, author of the study, Fundraiser – Careers and Motivation. An investigation on careers and motivation factors of fundraisers in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Diploma thesis DAS Fundraising Management ZHAW Winterthur, 2015.