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What is a Professional Fundraiser

What Does a Professional Fundraiser Do

Fundraisers organize events and campaigns to raise money and other donations for an organization. They may design promotional materials and increase awareness of an organization’s work, goals, and financial needs.

How To Become a Professional Fundraiser

Fundraisers typically need a bachelor’s degree and strong communication and organizational skills. Employers generally prefer candidates who have studied public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business.

Education

Fundraisers have a variety of academic backgrounds. However, some employers prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees in public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business, but degrees in other subjects also may be acceptable.

Several schools offer master’s degree programs in philanthropic studies or fundraising. Requirements for entering these programs generally are based on work or volunteer experience at a nonprofit or grantmaking foundation. Students may take courses in annual campaigns, planned giving, major gifts, grant proposals, and marketing.

In addition to taking relevant coursework, students can gain experience by volunteering at local charities or participating in student-led organizations.

Other Experience

Internships and previous work experience are important in obtaining a paid position as a fundraiser. Many fundraising campaigns rely on volunteers having face-to-face or over-the-phone interaction with potential donors. It is important that the fundraiser who organizes the campaign have experience with this type of work.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is voluntary, but fundraisers may obtain it to demonstrate a level of professional competency. CFRE International offers the Certified Fund Raising Executive designation for fundraisers. Candidates are required to have 5 years of work experience in fundraising, as well as 80 hours of continuing education through attendance at conferences and classroom instruction. To keep their certification valid, fundraisers must apply for renewal every 3 years.

Advancement

Fundraisers can advance to fundraising manager positions. However, some manager positions may require a master’s degree, in addition to years of work experience as a fundraiser.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Fundraisers need strong communication skills to clearly explain the message and goals of their organization so that people will make donations.

Detail oriented. Fundraisers must be detail oriented because they deal with large volumes of data, including lists of people’s names and phone numbers, and must comply with state and federal regulations. Failing to do so may result in penalties.

Leadership. Many fundraisers manage large teams of volunteers and must be able to lead them without having the usual incentive of pay at their disposal.

Organizational skills. Fundraisers manage large campaigns and events. They must have strong planning and organizational skills in order to succeed.

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  1. IRI Jobs (4)
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  3. Grassroots Campaigns Jobs (5)
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Average Salary
$64,541
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
9%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
48,376
Job Openings
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Average Salary for a Professional Fundraiser

Professional Fundraisers in America make an average salary of $64,541 per year or $31 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $123,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $33,000 per year.
Average Salary
$64,541
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Choose From 10+ Customizable Professional Fundraiser Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Professional Fundraiser templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Professional Fundraiser resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Professional Fundraiser Demographics

Professional Fundraiser Gender Distribution

Male
Male
46%
Female
Female
54%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Professional Fundraisers, 54.0% of them are women, while 46.0% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Professional Fundraisers is White, which makes up 79.1% of all Professional Fundraisers.

  • The most common foreign language among Professional Fundraisers is Spanish at 66.7%.

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Professional Fundraiser Education

Professional Fundraiser Majors

23.7 %

Professional Fundraiser Degrees

Bachelors

44.6 %

High School Diploma

26.6 %

Associate

14.9 %

Top Colleges for Professional Fundraisers

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

6. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$26,756
Enrollment
6,166

7. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

8. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

9. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

10. SUNY College at Oswego

Oswego, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,440
Enrollment
7,039
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Online Courses For Professional Fundraiser That You May Like

Fundraising and Development
coursera

Charitable giving is rebounding as the economy improves. Yet there is a shortage of qualified fundraising professionals to help organizations connect their needs with potential donors. Through four courses, you will gain the knowledge and skills to begin or advance your career in the high demand field of fundraising and development. This Specialization is designed to meet the rising demand for trained fundraising professionals...

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Top Skills For a Professional Fundraiser

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 17.0% of Professional Fundraisers listed Alumni on their resume, but soft skills such as Detail oriented and Organizational skills are important as well.

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Top Professional Fundraiser Employers

Most Common Employers For Professional Fundraiser

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Professional Fundraiser SalaryAverage Salary
1$95,898
2
2.The Heritage Company
$93,664
3$81,086
4
4.Microplastics
$70,799
5$67,799
6
6.CSI International
$67,644