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Non-Profit Development

Non-Profit Development

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The Creator
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The Organizer
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The Persuader

Spotlights

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Non-profit Fundraising

Job Description

Non-profit development professionals create and implement the non-profit organization’s fundraising strategies. They manage the organization’s fundraising events, peer to peer fundraising campaigns, direct mail appeals and corporate and foundation relations to fulfill annual fundraising goals.

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Ability to contribute to a worthy cause by ensuring that the organization raises the funds necessary to provide programs, services and grants that aim to improve the lives of those in need.
  • Nonprofit development demands that you rise to the occasion to meet challenges with creativity and tenacity. Thinking strategically, cultivating relationships and problem solving are all rewarding aspects of the field.
The Inside Scoop
Day in the Life
  • Meets with staff and committees to plan and produce fundraising events and campaigns.
  • Writes appeals for businesses, foundations and individuals.
  • Manages event expenses and revenues, and build reports.
  • Attends site visits for special events.
  • Manages event timelines, logistics and production.
  • Manages peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and provides support to members on our fundraising platform.
Skills Needed on the Job
  • Strong writing, communication and analytical skills
  • Special event management
  • Leadership capacity
  • Budget management
  • Ability to problem solve
  • Donor database management
  • People skills and relationship building and stewardship
Job Types
  • Development Assistant -> Development Associate -> Development Coordinator -> Development Director(VP)
  • Special Event Coordinator -> Special Event Manager -> Special Event Director
  • Campaign Manager -> Campaign Director
  • Major Gifts Officer
Expectations/Sacrifices Necessary
  • In the non-profit world you will be expected to play several roles as opposed to the corporate world that will have the budget to hire one person per one task. So be prepared to take on many more roles. That is why it is always encouraged to work for an organization that you love and believe in so the amount of hours will be worth it to you since you really believe in the cause.
  • Oftentimes, the salary at a non-profit does not match market value for a similar job in the private sector. However, that is not always the case.
  • Job hunting can be a lengthy, sometimes deflating process, so be prepared to be rejected and to not hear back from every job you apply to.
What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were young...
  • Enjoyed volunteering at an early age.
  • Wanted to make a difference and help others.
  • Could sell more candy/cookies for a fundraiser than the other kids. 
Education Needed
  • Bachelor’s degree is mandatory.
  • Suggested majors: Policy planning and development, public policy/administration, international relations/development, communications, and business administration.
  • Graduate school is not required but is definitely beneficial if you want to take your career to the next level.
  • Internships are key in gaining professional skills, connections and more importantly, tailoring your vision for what types of organization you can see yourself working for. Internships are the best way to weed out the jobs you don’t want to do, thus finding the ones that you do want.
Things to do in High School and College
  • Government classes and economic classes are fantastic for educating yourself on current issues and possibly finding a cause that you are interested in as well as understanding where the country and local economy are at monetarily.
  • Any extracurricular activities that involve people, relationships, social justice, and fundraising.
    • Scouts
    • Volunteer at after school programs, homeless shelters, human rights organizations, big brother big sister programs, church missions trips fundraising programs.
  • Do research on what you are interested in: Don’t rush the process and jump on any trendy non-profit but really invest time to find out what you are passionate about. Once you discover that, use the Internet to research non profits that do work in the field you are interested in:
    • Human Rights
    • Environmental
    • Education
    • Animal Rights
    • Environment
    • Government issues
    • International Issues
How to Land your 1st job
  • The key is to get your foot in the door. Whether you have a contact to personally reach out to, or you make yourself known to the hiring manager by being proactive, standing out is key.
  • Intern: Often, your first job can come from your college internship, or the connections you made through that position.
  • Network!: If you apply to a job posting, but have no personal connection there, try to find the hiring manager for that position on LinkedIn, and reach out to them directly to show your interest. Going straight to the source can make a difference when you are one of many trying to get through a company’s first line of defense with recruiters.
What it really takes to make it
  • Stay relevant and “in the know”: Follow blogs that cover topics and social causes that you care about.
  • Attend seminars and meet more people in the industry.


“It takes unwavering ambition that stems from your conviction in what you want to do with your life. Not every job is going to be exactly what or where you want it to be, but it’s about knowing that it is an important step towards where you want to be in the future. Having this understanding allows you to accept and appreciate where you are at in the present. This mindset has always kept me motivated and has allowed me to stay focused on my big picture goals, no matter what short-term obstacles I have come across.” Amanda Flores, Development Manger, Pablove Foundation

Plan B

Alternate careers: Publicist, Sales in interested field, Business Development Manager, Marketing Executive, Event Planner, Corporate Fundraiser

Words of Advice

“A nonprofit development mentor of mine always says: ‘If you’re not hearing “no”, you’re not asking enough.’ In that same vein, my quote would be, ‘If you’ve never failed, you’re not trying hard enough.’ ” Amanda Flores, Development Manager, Pablove Foundation

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