September 1, 2004
Focus On fundraising
I am a 32-year-old black woman with a business management degree, and I would like to start a career in fundraising. I have promoted several fundraisers for organizations that were quite successful. Should I go back to college to pursue a master’s degree? Please point me in the right direction.
–Pamela Keathley, Via the Internet
Fundraising professionals are becoming widely recognized as important employees in an organization. As the fundraising profession gains greater esteem, the demand for accomplished fundraisers will increase. The trick is to find an area of expertise among the various types of fundraising. It’s good that you’ve already gotten your feet wet by successfully raising funds for different organizations. And your business management degree is an asset.
A successful fundraiser should have excellent writing, researching, organizational, and computer skills. Having technical skills and being able to understand and communicate tax or legal matters may come in handy. Depending on where you work, there may be greater emphasis on particular skills.
Charity Channel (www.charity channel.com), The NonProfit Times (www.nptimes.com), and The Chronicle of Philanthropy (www.philanthropy .com) may provide you with helpful information.
Consider joining a professional organization, such as the Association of Fundraising Executives (www.afpnet.org). You may also want to pick up Born to Raise: What Makes a Great Fundraiser; What Makes a Fundraiser Great by Jerold Panas (Precept Press Inc.; $40).