There are many jobs available in the nonprofit sector, but the one that still has some of the highest demand are fundraising jobs. Raising money is one of the most important parts of any nonprofit, whether it is for a specific project or for the organization as a whole. This can come in the form of something elaborate, like preparing fundraising events, or something relatively simple, like grant writing. Still, some people have hesitations about getting a job in fundraising. So let me clear up some common misconceptions about it and, at the same time, give you details about what it 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 just cold calling. In an article from Forbes.com, Gabrielle Mellett, of Earth Justice, says that fundraising 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; these are individuals you will get to know very well, and it ends up being very satisfying if you accomplish your goals.
So now that you know a little more, what kind of positions are available in the fundraising field? One 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/cause. 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.