How to Become a Fundraiser



Becoming a fundraiser is a great career choice for those who are skilled in communications and marketing, and have an interest in charitable and not-for-profit organizations. Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a fundraiser. We've also included helpful information for a fundraiser career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Educational Requirements for Becoming a Fundraiser

Although educational requirements vary from employer to employer, you typically need an undergraduate degree (from virtually any field) from an accredited university to qualify for work in this field. 


As fundraisers must be skilled in areas such as communications and marketing, taking coursework in these areas can be of great value to prospective fundraisers, and degrees in these areas may prove to be more useful for your future career.





General Job Description

Fundraisers, also known as fund development professionals, often work closely with volunteer committees to raise awareness and support for the organizations that employ them. Fundraisers are responsible for organizing and executing gift campaigns which build relationships and raise money for charitable causes or groups. 



Typical Job Duties

• Liaise with board of directors or top management to create organizational readiness for fundraising efforts

• Create fundraising plans and strategies

• Implement and manage fund development strategies

• Raise money for current projects, as well as build an endowment fund to secure long range sustainable funding

• Perform public relations functions such as writing news releases, newsletters and featured stories

• Maintain positive relationships with current sponsors and donors  

• Draft case statements to encourage support for the cause or organization



Other Requirements for Becoming a Fundraiser

Typically, employers look for candidates that have extensive paid or volunteer experience working in charitable or non-profit organizations at various levels. Training through a professional fundraising association such as the Association of Fundraising Professionals is also considered a valuable asset.



Accreditation and Credentials

Earning Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credentials can be a great asset in this profession. This certification may or may not be a requirement of employment, depending on who the employer is or the level of the position. This accreditation is highly valued by many employers, and although it is not usually a requirement to get an entry-level fundraising job, it may be necessary to qualify for senior level positions, especially if it is with a new employer.


In additional to increasing employment prospects, it also has a number of benefits, including:


• Grants you more credibility

• Prepares you for greater on-the-job responsibilities

• Improves skills and knowledge

• May provide for greater earnings potential

• Demonstrates your commitment to the fundraising profession

• Enhances the profession's image

• Reflects achievement

• Builds self-esteem

• Offers greater recognition from peers





Areas of Specialization for Fundraisers

Some fundraising professionals may be generalists, while others may focus their efforts in certain areas, including:


• Annual giving

• Capital campaigns

• Direct mail

• Grant research and preparation

• Major gifts

• Planned giving

• Prospect research

• Special events

• Stewardship and recognition



How Much Do Fundraisers Earn?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of workers in the "Fundraisers" occupational group is $56,690 (2018 figures).


Please Note: The salary level of fundraisers can vary significantly based on many factors, such as their level of education, their level of experience, their job duties, who their employer is and much more.



Skills Needed to Be Successful

• Must be knowledgeable in various fundraising techniques

• Must be sensitive to cultural differences in attitudes towards fundraising

• Must be knowledgeable in legislation and regulations relevant to fundraising

• Must be able to effectively compile information and prepare reports 



Who Employs Fundraisers?

Fundraisers are employed by charitable, not-for-profit and public sector organizations, such as:


• Amateur sports organizations

• Consulting firms (provide fundraising services on a contractual basis)

• Cultural and arts organizations

• Disease related organizations

• Educational institutions

• Health care facilities

• Religious organizations

• Self-employed (provide fundraising services on a contractual basis)

• Social service agencies

• Various charities



Fundraiser Jobs - Current Opportunities

Our job board below has "fundraiser" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Similar Occupations in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to "fundraiser", as they involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Marketing Coordinator

Proposal Coordinator

Proposal Writer


Sales Representative




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a fundraiser.


Occupations in Alberta:Fund Development Professional.” (March 31, 2019). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 28, 2019.

Occupational Employment and Wages:Fundraisers.” (March 29, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 28, 2019.

Guardian Careers:Live Q&A: How to break into fundraising.” Eliza Anyangwe (February 8, 2011) The Guardian website. Retrieved November 28, 2019.

Resources:Certification.” (n.d.) Certified Fund Raising Executive website. Retrieved November 28, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Fundraiser

Scholarships in our system are organized by field of study. The fields that are relevant to this profession are listed below on our "Relevant Areas of Study" section below. Any scholarships found within those fields will be suitable, all of which can be found on our Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Areas of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting into this line of work. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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