A blog by Marybeth Gasman and Nelson Bowman, III caught my eye this evening – “How About a Career in Fundraising for Students of Color?”
The co-authors did a great job of laying out current barriers and myths about fundraising. The factors identified inhibit students of color from considering or entering the professional field of fundraising.
Then, Gasman and Bowman dive right into actionable recommendations for institutions of higher education – to encourage interest from students of color. Proposed suggestions include: creation of a student advancement council for fundraising experience, development of humanities or business-based programs for philanthropy and fundraising, and showcasing current professional fundraisers of color through career services programmng.
These are wonderful ideas that I wholeheartedly support, but I also have one more suggestion: create an internship program in which the students gain fundraising experience, course credit, and/or compensation in the advancement/development office of their respective institution of higher education.
I was both a student at and a development staff person for Hanover College. Now, the same holds true for the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. These experiences are wonderful learning opportunities – and an opportunity to contribute to the future alma mater!
To institutions of higher education:
I recommend developing a fundraising internship program – that is appropriate to the organization, emphasizes practical experience and self-reflection, is integrated into the established curricular structure, offers compensation via course credit or hourly wages, and is marketed to all students and especially students of color.