Why I love being a face-to-face fundraiser

Meet Fern, a senior face-to-face fundraiser for the RNLI. She shares how a fundraising job became a true passion – and what she loves best about the role. 

RNLI face-to-face fundraiser Fern Jones

Photo: Fern Jones

Meet Fern, an RNLI face-to-face fundraiser

Learning the ropes

I felt excited and nervous when I got the job in 2018. Although I love chatting to people and could draw on skills I’d learned while working in restaurants, I felt shy talking to new people. But the team soon put me at ease. 

In no time at all, I made friends and was learning so much! All the level 1 face-to-face fundraisers get together over several days for a regional training session. We covered everything we could possibly need to know about fundraising – facts about the RNLI, how to structure conversations with the public, sharing safety messages and how to add a financial ask to encourage people to support the charity. 

It was great that we were given constant coaching and advice throughout the summer. I can’t tell you how much my confidence grew in those first few weeks at the beach. The role has also taught me more about independence – with a real emphasis placed on being trustworthy, as we were left to organise ourselves at events and do our jobs well. My experience that first summer was a real help for when I went to university in September.

Fern celebrates her first sign-up

Photo: Fern Jones

Fern celebrates her first sign-up

One thing I particularly enjoyed was that every day was so different. And being able to work alongside RNLI lifeguards is fantastic. We would hear first-hand rescue stories from the lifeguards – and then we could use these stories to spread safety messages and awareness of what could happen at the beach. 

I absolutely loved my first season and couldn’t wait to come back the following summer.

Back for more

In 2019, I became a level 2 face-to-face fundraiser. It was fantastic to be recognised for the effort I’d put in during my first summer with the RNLI.

We started the season with training. As a level 2, I was there to coach others and help the level 1s become great fundraisers. The training I received in coaching, having development conversations, and supporting others was really valuable – and it was a great way to get going again.

I’ve realised that by being enthusiastic and having a ‘can do’ attitude, I’ve been able to achieve things I would have been so nervous about before joining the Face-to-Face Team. From breaking into conversations with people at the beach holding ice creams by saying: ‘Oh, is one of them for me?’ (and I did get a free ice cream once!) to sharing incredible real-life stories and safety advice, I absolutely loved my second season. 

Fern and her Face-to-Face Fundraising Team

Photo: Fern Jones

Fern and her Face-to-Face Fundraising Team

If anyone is considering becoming a face-to-face fundraiser, I say just do it! I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t enjoyed it. It’s such a great job to have. I wake up in the morning feeling excited and can’t wait to see what the day will bring. You’ll never regret going for it – but you might regret it if you don’t! 

Doing what I love

I really missed the Face-to-Face Team during the pandemic, as we couldn’t get out on the beaches or to events. I’m very excited to be back again, doing what I love. And I’m now a senior fundraiser, which is incredible! As well as fundraising on the beaches and at events with the rest of the team, I also work behind-the-scenes, making rotas and ensuring the team has everything they need.

I also get the chance to coach the team too, which is a real privilege. Along with the training to do this, I’ve had great support from my managers who really know what it’s like to be a senior fundraiser. I can talk to them about anything and I truly feel part of an amazing team. 

I would never have thought that this fundraising job I applied for in 2018 would turn into such a passion.

Get involved

Please spread the word about becoming a face-to-face fundraiser. Recruitment is open all year round

With 11 regional teams across the UK and Ireland, and flexible hours available, people can find a role that fits what they need – they may just need a nudge to get there.

I love being a face-to-face fundraiser and I hope to be at the RNLI for a long time to come!

 Want to find out more about being a face-to-face fundraiser?

Learn more about the role