Saturday, December 27, 2008

Career Profile: Fundraiser

U.S. News and World Report recently released its list of the top careers for 2009. Along with jobs like engineer, pharmacist, and firefighter, the notion of a professional fundraiser may seem odd. However, this career path is actually one that is increasingly sought by businesses and non-profits. Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to be a fundraiser.

What they do?

Contrary to what you might think, professional fundraisers do not simply go around asking for money. Instead, they oversee the entire fundraising process for their employer. This includes evertything from developing relationships with donors to training volunteers. Fundraisers also do a lot of writing as they draft grant proposals, write letters, and create fundraising campaigns. Fundraisers even get to be event planners for big events like political donor dinners, charity walks, and more.

Where they work?

Colleges and universities are among the biggest employers of fundraisers. This is because many educational institutions rely heavily upon private donations. Similarly, hospitals hire fundraiser to help them recruit donors. Non-profit organizations also use fundraisers to help them increase their income. Obviously, the larger the non-profit, the greater potential for finding a fundraising position. Finally, political groups use fundraisers to help them gain sponsorship for campaigns.

What it takes?

There are no specific degrees you need to become a fundraiser. Instead, most training occurs on the job or through a few well-known fundraising centers. However, prospective fundraisers can benefit greatly from a background in sales and business. Previous experience in your employer’s industry (ex. Higher education or non-profit management) is also helpful when seeking a fundraising position.

What are the perks?

Fundraisers actually make pretty good money. The median pay rate is $66,000. However, fundraisers can make as much as 90 to 100 thousand with experience. Plus, fundraisers get great networking experience they can use to make career moves later on.

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