Fundraiser Apprenticeship: what’s it all about?

It feels like this is a real moment in time for fundraisers; our membership body is now the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIoF), CPD and wellbeing are both deemed as important (by employers that are any good) and we have a genuine sense of momentum around diversity and inclusivity.  The CIoF’s Change Collective Strategy and #CharitySoWhite are shaking things up in big ways, and specific campaigns like #ShowTheSalary and #NonGraduatesWelcome are demonstrating immediate impact.

Over the past few months I’ve been working with The JGA Group to develop its Fundraiser Apprenticeship. The Fundraiser Apprenticeship Standard was approved last year and there are a handful of training providers delivering it – each will be taking a slightly different approach. Given that it’s pretty new, I thought I’d share why I think the apprenticeship is really positive option for employees and employers alike, and provide some useful information so that you can come to your own conclusions.

What is it and is it any good?

You learn on the job and build the knowledge, skills and behaviours to be a great fundraiser. Anecdotally, apprentices generally tend to be outperforming their role after around three months on programme. Learners have 20% of time ‘off the job’ so they basically do their day-to-day job four days a week rather than five. It’s not only classroom learning but includes shadowing other members of staff, attending conferences and other CPD events, so that’s a pretty good deal for employers.

The breadth and depth of the programme is completely different to transactional training. There is a comprehensive reading, listening and watching list, combined with learning activities (and linked, formative assessments) after each seminar, and the support from a skills coach. That’s a lot of guidance and wrap-around support.

I’m excited about The JGA Group’s curriculum as we have built in a simulated learning experience for the final module. Learners will develop an integrated campaign in a real life situation: from the creative brief to developing a campaign and pitching to a charity. We also have some great guest speakers confirmed in principle, including Louise Morris from Summit Fundraising and Jamie Ward-Smith, Chair of Co-operative Foundation and CEO of Do It Foundation as well as contributions from Young Arts Fundraisers.

At such a difficult time for charities, I’m delighted that the Fundraiser Apprenticeship is now available, providing a cost-effective way to build the skills and capacity needed within our organisations while supporting the development of a more inclusive and diverse sector.

How long is it? What will I learn about?

The JGA Group’s Fundraiser Apprenticeship is a 14 month programme. It is ‘roll-on, roll-off’, so learners can join at any time. The first cohort is starting in March 2021.

The modules are:

  1. Fundraising audit: external and internal analysis of the environment
  2. Managing supporter data: storing, insight and compliance
  3. Understanding donor motivations and behaviour
  4. Key components of a fundraising plan
  5. Developing a case for support and pitch
  6. Creating winning communications
  7. Influencing stakeholders and creating a culture of fundraising
  8. Supporter care and stewardship
  9. Campaign planning, monitoring, evaluating and reporting
  10. Developing an integrated campaign

These modules are topped and tailed by an introductory session and End Point Assessment preparation (tailored to the individual).

How is the Apprenticeship assessed?

We have formative assessments throughout, which are tasks linked to the modules and which demonstrate that learners are on track. The formative assessments help to identify where we need to provide additional support or stretch learners further (for example, they may be working towards a distinction) and will contribute to building the learners’ portfolios.

The CIoF is the End Point Assessment Organisation, so will be assessing learners at the end of their apprenticeship. There are two assessment methods:

  1. Case for support pitch, presentation with questions and answers
  2. Professional discussion, underpinned by a portfolio of evidence

You can find out more in the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s End Point Assessment Plan.

How does it link with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s CPD?

The Fundraiser Apprenticeship is Level 3, which is A level. The CIoF has developed a Level 3 Award: The Foundation Certificate in Fundraising. The means that the Apprenticeship aligns with the CIoF’s CPD, and could be seen as a pre-cursor to the Fundraising Certificate Level 4.

What does it cost?

The net effect for employers is that in terms of cash outlay, for most organisations the training is cheaper than free. There are financial advantages to employers such as grants to employers of up to £3,000 (on an age related sliding scale) for each apprentice recruited and valuable employers National Insurance Contribution benefits for employers of any upskilled or newly recruited apprentice under 26.

If you pay an Apprenticeship Levy (larger organisations with a salary bill over £3m will) you can use that to fund it. If you’re a non-levy paying organisation, there are incentives (see, or you could chat to your Local Enterprise Partnership to explore the potential for a levy transfer (essentially where the cost is covered by another organisation’s levy fund).

Finally, if you recruit an apprentice prior to 31 March 2021 you are entitled to a £2,000 incentive from the Government.

How do I get involved?

Learners need to have three things in place:

  1. you must be employed in a fundraiser role 
  2. your employer must want to engage with the apprenticeship
  3. you must need the training

All programmes continue to run remotely.

You can find out more by contacting The JGA Group.

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