Forming a fundraising team

24 August 2023

Like other types of teams, the most effective fundraising teams have clearly defined roles with people given particular responsibilites.

Group of people with tea and cake

In large charities, the fundraising team will usually include people with particular responsibility for specific areas such as:

  • trusts and foundations
  • giving by individuals
  • giving by major donors
  • plus a team member to arrange meetings and handle administration (including data).

Your church fundraising team may not have as many people and likely be mostly made up of volunteers. You can still achieve a lot if you are clear about people’s roles and keep the team motivated. In fact, underpinning the success of many churches’ fundraising campaigns are volunteers who are engaged and having fun. It's a great opportunity for people to learn new skills and gain confidence.

It's vital to have a team leader who regularly thanks the team, reminds them fundraising doesn’t happen overnight, and encourages them to persevere with important tasks when they face obstacles or disappointments. It’s important that this leader also communicates positive fundraising messages to the wider church community – keeping them on board and motivated by your project.

Be proactive

Churches often get volunteers by putting a message in the notice sheet and waiting to see who turns up!

Advertising like this is important as it can draw out people you may not have thought of, especially if the advert is specific about the required tasks and skills. However, you will usually get the best results by thinking of the people you want to be involved and approaching them directly.

Value transferable skills

Your volunteers may have valuable experience and many skills from their professional working lives.

Volunteers who don’t have professional experience are equally valuable as they may be well-connected to the local community, have skilled hobbies, or run a household.

It's always tempting in church life to take the help of the first people who offer. But when forming your fundraising team, it is important to consider the experience and skills of your team and match them to the things you need. You can use the table below to help match your volunteers to fundraising roles.

Team roleAreas of responsibilityTeam memberSkills and experience
Individual giving
  • Phoning potential donors and supporters about fundraising appeals 
  • Setting up meetings with potential individual donors, and 
  • Drafting letters from senior leadership.
Dr Smith
Retired local GP; good rapport with people on a one-to-one basis; excellent telephone manner; personable and able to maintain good relationships.
Trusts and foundations
  • Writing trusts and foundations applications
  • Managing relationships with trust managers
  • Reporting to trust funders following a grant.
Mrs Jones
Retired librarian; experience of writing funding bids; good rapport with people; methodical and well-organised.
Fundraising appeals
  • Setting up and overseeing digital fundraising activity 
  • Supporting Finance Manager with online income.
Mr Adam
Studying marketing at college, great digital skills and experience of crowdfunding.
  • Organising fundraising events, 
  • Setting up events, 
  • Overseeing catering.
Mrs Eve
Youth worker (paid staff)
Experience managing large group activities and events; good problem solver.
Fundraising planning
  • Compiling fundraising spreadsheets, 
  • Donations reporting, and 
  • Forecasting.
Mrs Gordon
Finance manager (paid staff)
Excellent with numbers and familiar with church finances.

Set clear objectives and expectations

One of the big problems in church life is that people often sign up for things because they are keen to be helpful without really understanding the level of commitment required. Always send everybody on the team a letter or email before they sign up which tells them:

  • how long you are planning for the team to run (for bigger projects, it is usually at least two years)
  • how often you will meet and how long for (this often varies throughout the project but is typically monthly at the beginning and end, and fortnightly or weekly mid-project)
  • what tasks you want them to do and how long these might take (for example, a single application to a trust can typically take between one and 30 hours depending on how complex the project is and how many you have already done).

This approach may deter some people, but that is preferable to having people who have to give up half-way through because they are unable to fully commit to the work that is needed.

As your fundraising campaign develops and changes, it can be helpful to review and evaluate the skills you have in your church’s team, and if you need to bring any new volunteers on board.