Good at Raising Money but don’t Like Sales? Try a Career as a Fundraiser!

By Brenda on July 6th, 2011


In these economic times it benefits organizations to have individuals who are good at soliciting funds. There are many types of organizations that hire fundraisers including non-profits, political groups, and community organizations.

Fundraising is a very lucrative and personally rewarding career. In a recent poll, fundraisers rated their job satisfaction an “A” and cited that they were very fulfilled because they are able to contribute to a worthwhile cause on a daily basis.

Health organizations such as March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, and the American Diabetes Association also hire fundraising professionals on a regular basis. Public and private postsecondary colleges and universities hire fundraisers to solicit funds from alumni and business organizations.

Arts organizations hire fundraisers to support their activities. Symphonies, ballets, museums, operas and other art performing groups rely on grant funding and private donations so having excellent fundraisers is critical to their success.

There are different types of fundraising positions within the industry including:

Development Fundraisers – these professionals solicit funds from individuals and organizations directly but their main role is to train and motivate volunteers to solicit donations. They also are paid to network with potential donors and develop relationships with them. Other duties include writing grant proposals, organizing fundraising events, and working with media personnel.

Fundraising Generalist – these fundraising professionals typically work for smaller organizations and are in charge of all philanthropic activities such as soliciting donations, creating fundraising campaigns, writing grants, recruiting volunteers, and planning fundraising events.

Fundraising Specialists – large organizations usually hire fundraising personnel that focus on specific tasks such as researching funding sources and writing grants, or organizing fundraising events.

Executive Fundraisers – executive fundraisers are specialists that work for large organizations that plan and develop all fundraising activities and capital projects. These fundraising professionals typically have at least seven years experience in fundraising and are paid on average $150,000 a year.

Executive fundraisers must be creative while possessing business acumen. They must be able to plan capital and fundraising programs and lay out a strategy acceptable to upper management. They must have great managerial skills in order to rally their team of personnel around the fundraising mission in order to meet monetary goals.

Fundraising was voted one of the top ten careers for 2011. During tough economic times the donation dollars dry up so the organizations with the best fundraisers are those who get the lion’s share of the money.

The average fundraising professional earns $55,000-$95,000 per year. While their jobs are very rewarding they can also be stressful at times because of the goal driven nature of the position. They often work evening hours attending fundraising and networking events.

A career in fundraising often requires a bachelor’s degree in public policy, business, marketing, the arts, and communications. The job is expected to grow at a pace faster than the average career according to data released by the United States Labor Department.


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