Development Director: Job Outlook & Career Info

Mar 27, 2019

Development directors, including public relations and fundraising managers, raise monies and increase the visibility and presence of nonprofit and other types of organizations. For more information about professional responsibilities, education requirements, career outlook and salary, read on.

Career Definition of Development Director

Development directors help organize fundraising and publicity campaigns for various non-profit and educational organizations. Public relations managers plan and direct the creation of materials that will maintain or enhance the public image of their employer or client. Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns that bring in donations for their organization. Professional responsibilities can include identifying and meeting with potential donors, applying for grants and developing fundraising strategies.

Education Bachelor's degree in communications or public relations can help along with coursework in writing, public speaking and finance
Job Skills Strong interpersonal skills, computer literacy, efficiency
Median Salary (2017)* $111,280 for public relations and fundraising managers
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 10% for public relations and fundraising managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Educational options for aspiring development directors can vary; those that can help students acquire writing, public speaking, marketing and finance skills are key. Relevant undergraduate degree programs may include a Bachelor of Arts in Communication or Public Relations, Bachelor of Science in Marketing or Bachelor of Business Administration. Ambitious students may also want to consider a Master of Arts in Communication or Master of Business Administration, which can take approximately two years to complete.

Skills Required

Development directors must have the strong interpersonal skills necessary to reach out to a wide variety of individuals and groups by letter, email or in person. It also helps to be well organized and have the ability to find information in a quick and efficient manner. As much of public relations and fundraising work is accomplished online, computer literacy is also a must for development directors.

Career and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that public relations and fundraising managers held 67,300 jobs in May 2017, including those in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. In May 2017, the median annual wage for public relations and fundraising managers was $111,280. Employment opportunities for public relations and fundraising managers nationwide are expected to increase by 10% between 2016 and 2026, a faster than average rate in comparison to all other occupations (

Alternate Career Options

Here are some careers related to development directors

Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers work in partnership with art directors, financial specialists and sales representatives to promote products and services. Educational requirements include a bachelor's degree in a relevant field of study; undergraduate coursework in the arts, communication, consumer behavior and market research are helpful.

The BLS reports that employment opportunities for advertising, promotions and marketing managers across the country will grow by 10% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster-than-average compared to other occupations. In May 2017, advertising, promotions and marketing managers received a median yearly salary of $129,380, as reported by the BLS (

Sales Managers

Sales managers oversee the promotion and distribution of goods and services to potential buyers and consumers. Activities can include analyzing consumer trends and sales preferences, designating sales territories, establishing sales objectives and setting up training programs for representatives. Completion of a bachelor's degree program, including coursework in finance and marketing, and between one and five years of experience are usually required to obtain a position.

At a 7% increase, employment opportunities for sales managers nationwide are expected to grow at a fast-as-average rate from 2016 to 2026, as reported by the BLS. In May 2017, sales managers earned median annual wages of $121,060 (

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