New Zealand philanthropy worth more than $4 billion a year yet training for those who work in the sector is woefully inadequate

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Although the not for profit sector generates a quarter of its income from philanthropy, and employs more than 4% of the total workforce, the professional training for those who raise the $4 billion a year is woefully inadequate according to one of New Zealand’s leading fundraising experts.

Heather Newell, CFRE, one of only 13 people in the country who have been accredited with an internationally recognised qualification in fundraising, said that although there are a plentiful number of informal courses on the fundraising basics, there are currently no higher level courses, no NZQA standards and no university courses which focus exclusively on fundraising theory, ethics and professionalism. “This means that very few young people are exposed to a career path in the charitable sector, and many fundraisers are recent migrants to the country.” A survey conducted by the specialist charity recruitment firm Execucare in 2016 found that only 20 percent of the 400 fundraising respondents had any recognised fundraising qualification and 31 percent did not belong to any recognised membership body.

In the past, international courses have been presented by experts from overseas universities with support from New Zealand experts. However in the last 18 months there have been no educational offerings at the senior level, and only one fundraiser has achieved the CFRE educational accreditation in recent years.

Many people currently working in fundraising have been trained in communications and marketing or have moved into the non profit sector after a career in a corporate organisation. “It’s very rare that anyone under the age of 20, sets out to have a career in fundraising, largely because they are unaware of the opportunities.”

In an attempt to upskill existing charity fundraisers and demonstrate a career pathway, Foresee Communications is presenting a comprehensive course for New Zealand fundraisers using local examples and case studies which match or highlight international fundraising theory and best practice. Pathway to Fundraising Excellence is the first comprehensive course of this intensity to have been designed with the New Zealand fundraising environment at its core.

Previous courses at the senior level have been adapted from overseas presentations.

Over her 25 year career in the fundraising sector, Heather has trained hundreds of fundraisers and is one of the few New Zealand based fundraisers with the internationally recognised accreditation Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). “The numbers of New Zealanders achieving the CFRE certification in recent years has dropped, and so this course is providing a pathway for fundraisers to upskill and work towards professionally recognised qualifications. Students completing the course achieve education points towards their CFRE accreditation.

The first intake of participants is in November 2018 for part one, and participants will come together again at the end of January 2019 for part two.



Heather Newell, MComms, CFRE, FFINZ


Foresee Communications Ltd

Ph 04 5280742

New Zealand philanthropy worth more than $4 billion a year yet training for those who work in the sector is woefully inadequate

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