Our SOundtots project

What is it that drives a professional charity fundraiser?

What is it that drives a professional charity fundraiser – that encourages them to turn up for work each day in a bid to raise funds for whatever cause their employer represents?

It is a question I have been pondering as we embark on the recruitment of a fundraising manager for our own charity which brings music and learning to life. What is it that will motivate the right individual to think that we are the right cause to work for (and with) as opposed to other equally worthy charitable causes?

I was watching the Channel 4 programme ‘The Piano’  and the incredible moment Lucy, a 13-year-old who is blind and neurodiverse, played a highly-complex Chopin piece, leaving the audience in awe, and it reinforced how important the role Services For Education and the music we offer is in changing and enriching lives.

At the end of the day, whilst for most people financial reward is important, it is often job satisfaction that makes the difference. So that’s why, for instance, we are after those individuals who recognise that each pound they raise, enables more children to achieve their full potential in their future adult lives. Surely, there can be few more satisfying jobs than knowing that your work is helping others to improve their own life-chances.

It’s a challenge (and an opportunity) for us because as a charity we are diverse.

We bring joy to children when they learn and play music together. We increase understanding of the importance of growing and cooking healthy food. We enable the elderly to sing together. We develop hands-on programmes to help those who face disadvantage as children and adults. We deliver and implement training courses to help teachers to teach better – and school governors to govern better.

We do all of these things because our 200-plus team who work in schools and community centres throughout Birmingham, believe passionately in what they do and the benefits they bring. All of these things are hugely important to developing the society that we all want to live in and strive for.

And these are activities that occur each and every day.

Our Music Service…

  • Teaches music to 38,000 Birmingham schoolchildren each week
  • Provides 28,000 music instruments on free loan. Without our help, 40% of Birmingham’s children would be unable to participate in music education or enjoy creating music with friends and family
  • Runs choirs to mitigate the trauma of dementia and loneliness
  • Stages more than 20 concerts including five Youth Proms nights at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall when 4,000 young musicians perform to an audience of more than 10,000
  • Helps young children with below-average levels of communication skills to improve speech and understanding
  • Supports adults with severe, profound, multiple learning difficulties
  • Takes music into special schools because music is often the only way those with severe learning difficulties can communicate

Meanwhile, our School Support Service…

  • Helps improve education standards for Birmingham schools
  • Works with 570 schools providing essential training for teachers and school support staff
  • Oversees the training and support of nearly 500 early career teachers in primary, secondary and special provision
  • Ensures 200-plus primary schools are supported with statutory assessment duty
  • Offers more than 100-courses and programmes for teachers, support staff and governors
  • Delivers safeguarding courses to meet society’s changing needs and trains 700-plus designated safeguarding leads each year
  • Enables school governors to fulfil statutory duties and better meet a school’s needs
  • Trains teachers to support the increasing numbers of children with special educational needs and disabilities helping to improve a child’s behaviour, ability to socialise, read, write and concentrate – all fundamental life skills.

We may not be the largest of charities – we don’t enjoy (or even need) the national profile of those charities that are household names – but our impact on local communities is no less impressive. And we have been delighted that we have been honoured on the national and regional stage for our work – winners of The Charity Awards, Music and Drama Awards, Asian Business Chamber of Commerce Awards and many others.

We recognise also that we compete for space (and sometimes funds and staff) with high profile national charities.

So how do smaller charities compete for quality candidates when it is larger causes that dominate the charity scene?

Perhaps the clue is in the word ‘smaller’. We are a tight knit team. We can see at first hand the benefits that our work brings. We can see the joy on a child’s face when they taste their first home-grown vegetable (cooked by themselves). We hear the stories from those singing in our community choirs. We hear from teachers and heads of the role that safeguarding plays in keeping a child from harm.

We know that bringing music and learning to life is not just a nice to have but a need to have. And as those who work at Services For Education will tell you, that every day we make a contribution to the lives of others in our own local communities.

What could be more satisfying and rewarding than that?

Interested in the role then take a look at https://www.servicesforeducation.co.uk/fundraising-manager-job/

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