Fund-raising officer

Fund-raising officer

It takes various skills to be a fund-raiser, but, most important of all, you need to have passion to help the less fortunate

June 30, 2011
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You need to have good language skills - Cantonese to communicate with local companies and schools, English to liaise with Unicef headquarters, and Putonghua as Unicef Hong Kong works closely with the mainland.

You need to be creative. Fund-raising is a competitive market and you need innovative ideas to stand out.

And you need good communication and people skills.


To become a fund-raising officer, you need a bachelor's degree in fields ranging from marketing to engineering. Fresh graduates are welcome to apply. If you have a college degree, you can apply as a street fund-raiser.

It is also crucial to have volunteer experience and/or internships with NGOs.

Average Pay

Fresh graduates start at HK$10,000 a month as a fund-raising officer, and HK$6,000 to HK$7,000 as a street fund-raiser.

Work prospects

Nicole Chan was studying French, social administration and communications at the University of Hong Kong when she started volunteering for local and international NGOs. She was a street fund-raiser for Unicef, and worked for Orbis and the Oxfam Trailwalker project.

After graduating, she applied as a fund-raising officer and joined Unicef in August 2008. She joined because Unicef is international and provides help to more than 150 countries.

What she likes most is that she's not only working for her boss - she's working for the children in the world who are struggling to survive.

As a fund-raising officer, Chan is in charge of marketing campaigns. Unicef usually makes use of seasons and celebrations, such as Christmas or summer, to raise funds. For Halloween, they launched the Trick-or-Treat campaign, where children taking part received an orange box and knocked on doors to collect donations instead of treats.

Unicef also collects funds through a face-to-face campaign, and it is Chan's role to manage the street fund-raising team.

She visits them once a week to check on their work, and keeps them updated on Unicef's campaigns and work. She believes the more they know about Unicef's campaigns and where the money they're collecting is going, the more motivated, passionate and convincing they will be on the streets.

Chan also needs to have quick response in case of emergencies, such as floods and earthquakes, so that her team can be out raising funds as quickly as possible.

A fund-raising officer needs to build a strong global and local network with corporate partners, as well as other NGOs which they work together with.

Chan also goes on field trips (usually two a year) to bring together campaign ambassadors and get footage for promotions.

On a trip to Istanbul, Turkey, she met fellow Unicef officers and learned about digital fund-raising.

Long-term work prospects

You can become a fund-raising consultant and work for PR and communication agencies, or set up your own firm.

Chan's predecessor became a field co-ordinator in Sichuan for the Red Cross. You can even join the Unicef headquarters in New York.

The best thing to do is to specialise in one area, like digital marketing. That will make it easier for you to join other organisations.

Where to apply

NGO websites usually have information on job vacancies and voluntary programmes. Once you have volunteered with an NGO, keep the contacts you have and send them your resume.

A day at work

Nicole Chan arrives at the office at 9am.

She needs to monitor street fund-raising teams and supervise telemarketers.

An important part of her job is to reply to potential and current monthly donors (they account for more than 50 per cent of donations).

Donors often ask which campaigns are taking place, and how Unicef uses their money. For example, fund-raisers will show donors a pack of the oral rehydration salt that will be bought with the money raised and given to children with severe diarrhoea.

Chan is also in charge of fund-raising reports which monitor monthly contributions. She uses the reports to come up with better strategies to raise funds. For example, if contributions from young people drop, Chan needs to understand why and think about what she can do.

Chan's office hours end at 5.30pm, but she often stays late because there's lots to do.



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