New Year – New Career – Fundraising. – Part Two

Part two of a two part series

In the first RolesResponsibilitiespart of this series we encouraged you to consider a career in fundraising. It’s a career that gives you a “voice at the table” and introduces you to those who have the resources to make change.

People in fund development and fundraising help influence service delivery, public policy, education, research, advocacy, and more. Success in fund development can bring you to the decision making table. It’s also excellent preparation for serving as an executive director.

“How do I start?” you might ask. If you are can secure work with a hospital, college, or public radio or television station you can learn the systems and procedures that represent best practices.. Working in fundraising for one of these institutions can provide insight into the different strategies and activities that comprise fundraising.

Another way to gain experience is to volunteer as a board member or fundraiser for an organization you believe in. If you are interested in learning through doing, be sure to interview the leadership of the organization and tell them your goals. Also, make sure their fundraising is well-organized and effective, and is a program you will actually learn from.

You may also find that your private or government sector experience is transferrable. The following is an overview job titles and responsibilities within the nonprofit sector. Knowing the terminology and responsibilities can help you assess career opportunities and the extent to which your skills may be transferrable.

  • Chief Development Officer, Vice President for Development – executive charged with fundraising management.
  • Data management specialist – enters fundraising-related data into a database and generates fundraising management reports.
  • Development Assistant – provides administrative support to staff, board and volunteers.
  • Development Coordinator – coordinates fundraising activities. Specific responsibilities vary from organization to organization.
  • Grant writer/Proposal Writer – researches foundations, corporations and government agencies that make grants in the areas your organization specializes in. Writes proposals that meet funders’ objectives and reports required by funders.
  • Major Gifts Officer – cultivates and solicits major gifts. Works with board members and high-level volunteers. Major gifts can range from $2,500 to $250,000 to $2,500,000 or more.

The following fundraising activities can be filled at the coordinator, manager or director level depending on an organization’s needs and the skills of the individual. As you review consider how your experience could be of value to a future nonprofit employer.

  • Alumni Relations –engages alumni and encourages annual giving that increases over time.
  • Annual Campaign – secures gifts from individuals on an annual basis often ranging from $25 to $2,500.
  • Corporate and Foundation Relations – identifies, cultivates and solicits individuals within corporations and foundations responsible for grant making, underwriting and sponsorships.
  • Direct Mail – creates, manages and grows direct mail programs that encourage current and prospective donors to give through the mail or online.
  • Donor Relations –sustains and strengthens relationships between donors and the organization. Encourages continued giving and shares giving opportunities that match a donor’s giving priorities.
  • Membership – develops and manages programs that enroll members who pay a fee in exchange for benefits or services.
  • Special Events – designs and/or manages special events ensuring they are financially profitable.

We wish you every success in your career!

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts” and the “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success: The 18 Things You Need to Know as a Fundraising Professional, Board Member, or Volunteer”. Follow on twitter @saadshaw


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