|In fundraising, it's all about the Benjamin's|
Yesterday, I talked about the kind of nonprofit careers that are most popular among job seekers. One of those that I mentioned were fundraising jobs. I realized that there are some misconceptions about this kind of non profit work that I wanted to clear up. And in doing that, I can also give you a better idea of what fundraising entails.
First off, let's get one thing straight: working in fundraising doesn't mean you are going to be on a phone all day begging random people for money; it's much more than that. In this article from Forbes.com, Gabrielle Mellett, of Earth Justice, says that it has more to do with forming "partnerships with people who then have an incredible opportunity to make a real difference." In lamen's terms, a good fundraiser is going to be forming strong relationships with potential donors. In other words, these are not one time contacts; these are individuals you will get to know very well, and it ends up being very satisfying if you accomplish your goals.
In my previous post, I mentioned that one of the jobs in fundraising is a Director of Development. Another example of a fundraising career you can pursue is a Major Gifts Officer. In this job, it is your responsibility to identify major donors (i.e. corporations or other big name donors) that are willing to donate large sums of cash to your organization. You would also be in charge of planning fundraising activities that these donors would be able to participate in. Although the Forbes article I referenced before is from 2009, it lists Major Gifts Officers as one of the more sought after fundraising careers. But if the listings on non profit job boards are any indication, it is still a position in high demand. It's also a position that pays a good amount of money, with salaries up to $70,000 (according to The NonProfit Times' 2010 Salary and Benefits Report).
So are you interested in a career in fundraising? If you haven't studied it before, many post-graduate programs at Universities offer courses in finance and fundraising. And before you pursue this kind of career, you should make sure you are comfortable dealing with people, and have excellent verbal, writing, and listening skills.