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Professional Fundraiser: Job Description & Salary

May 30, 2020

Career Definition of a Professional Fundraiser

Professional fundraisers specialize in raising funds through donor and event management. They typically work for non-profit organizations, such as social service agencies, religious organizations, and educational institutions. Fundraisers can work directly for an organization or for a fundraising consulting firm. They have the opportunity to focus on a specific type of fundraising, such as an annual or capital campaign or major-gifts donations. Fundraisers usually work full-time and travel for events.

Fundraisers perform a wide variety of tasks. General job responsibilities include developing a fundraising campaign, conducting research on potential donors and meeting with them, and screening and training fundraising volunteers. They may utilize social media or other online platforms, such as crowdsourcing, to spread awareness and raise funds. Fundraisers often organize events, such as charity walks/runs, galas, and donor appreciation events.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Excellent interpersonal skills, attention to detail, strong leadership skills, and excellent organizational skills
Median Salary (2019)* $57,970
Job Outlook (2018-2028)* 9%

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Prospective candidates in the field will need a bachelor's degree in communication, public relations, or business. It is important for candidates to gain relevant work experience through an internship or volunteer work. Those interested in serving as a fundraising manager may need a master's degree. If interested, candidates can pursue the Certified Fund Raising Executive designation through CFRE International. It requires five years of relevant work experience and eighty hours of continuing education, with the option to renew every three years.

Required Skills

Excellent interpersonal skills are one of the most essential attributes for a professional fundraiser, as a large portion of their time is spent interacting with donors. They must effectively represent their organization's mission and purpose. Fundraisers should have strong attention to detail, since they often manage donor databases and grant budgets, which may involve state or federal reporting. They need strong leadership skills in order to motivate and manage their volunteer pool. Excellent attention to detail is also important when coordinating fundraising events.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 9% growth in employment opportunities for the category of fundraisers between 2018 and 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations. The field is anticipated to have strong job prospects, as organizations are always in need of funding sources. Candidates with a background in the non-profit sector or grant writing will have the best job prospects. The BLS reported a 2019 median annual wage of $57,970 for fundraisers.

Related Careers

Those considering a career as a fundraiser may be interested in one of the below related careers. They offer prospective candidates the opportunity to utilize their interpersonal skills in a marketing or event planning role.

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