VOL. 125 | NO. 253 | Thursday, December 30, 2010
FUNdraising Good Times
Pearl and Mel Shaw
Career in Fundraising Offers Many Avenues
MEL and PEARL SHAW
Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series
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.
If you 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 transferable. The following overview can help you assess career opportunities:
- 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.
- Major gifts officer – cultivates and solicits major gifts. Works with board members and high-level volunteers.
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:
- 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.
- Membership – develops and manages programs that enroll members.
- Special events – designs and/or manages special events ensuring they are financially profitable.
You may be ready for a career in fundraising if you have experience in sales, marketing, business development, customer relations/service or data management. Be prepared to volunteer, to participate in trainings and workshops and to adjust to a new career. You can do it. It’s a new year – time for a new career.
Mel and Pearl Shaw are the owners of Saad & Shaw. They are the authors of “How to Solicit a Gift: Turning Prospects into Donors.”
Visit www.saadandshaw.com or call 522-8727.