According to a recent article by Susan Adams of Forbes, there is demand for professional fundraisers. With this statement, we break down myth #1: “no one is hiring.” While we’re at it, let’s tackle some more myths…
Myth #2: “nonprofit means no $.” Browse the 990 tax return forms for nonprofit organizations at guidestar or foundationcenter. If you are selective by subsector or organizational size, you will have no problem finding six-figure salaries. The author is correct; while a fundraiser’s compensation may not be competitive with the for-profit sector, a fundraiser often earns a substantial salary.
Myth #3: “fundraising only requires asking people for $.” Well, yes, but there is much more to it! Fundraising, ultimately, is about building relationships. The article emphasizes this point when describing the relevant skills for a fundraiser: people skills with an ability to listen, speak, and write effectively.
Myth #4: “fundraising just happens.” Sometimes, but not usually. (An organization does receive unsolicited funds, but they general do not meet the entire budget.) The successful management of a fundraising program requires experience and expertise. The author suggests two prominent programs: Fundraising Management at Columbia University and the Fundraising School at the Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University.
Myth #5: “fundraising is about the big gifts.” Yes, major gifts are an important part of the fundraising program, but so are smaller gifts. The Sidwell Friends School provides a great visual representation of the need for different-sized gifts. The article includes examples of grant writers, special event planners, and annual fund directors – all of whom are not directly fundraising for major gifts.
What other misconceptions are there about the fundraising profession? Please leave a comment to de-bunk some more myths!