How to Become a Development Associate

How to Become a Development Associate

If you’re skilled in marketing and communications, and you’re interested in non-profit work, then becoming a development associate may be a good career option for you! Here are some quick highlights of working in this field:

 

• Excellent opportunities for career advancement

• Very good level of pay

• An opportunity to apply your marketing and communications skills

• An opportunity to motivate, persuade and inspire people

 

If you want to know more about the ins and outs of this career, then read on; we’ll fill you in on the details, including an overview of what you would be doing, how much you could earn, and what you’ll need to break into this field!

 

 

Required Education

Some employers prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees in fields that are relevant to the work, such as public relations, communications, or marketing.

 

Degrees in other subjects may also be acceptable, although your resume will have to reflect that you have the skill set or experience to perform your duties with competence.

 

Some employers may not require that you have a degree at all, provided you have extensive experience. 

 

Success Tip: Ideally, you will have a combination of education and experience, as that will allow you to gain a theoretical background, as well as hands-on experience.

 

 

 

Relevant Experience

Whether or not you have a degree, many employers will hire you if you have extensive paid or volunteer experience in similar roles, even if those roles involved less responsibility.

 

For example, many fundraising campaigns rely on volunteers having face-to-face or over-the-phone interaction with potential donors; having experience interacting with donors would be quite valuable if you are going to organize these campaigns.  

 

Success Tip: As a student, you can gain experience by volunteering at local charities or participating in student-led organizations!

 

 

Development Associate: General Job Description

As a development associate (also known as a ‘fund development associate, or a ‘fundraiser’) you would be responsible for accepting and recording the donations received by a non-profit organization. Generally, you would also perform administrative duties related to assisting the director of development.

 

 

General Job Duties

Although the specific duties you would perform would vary from job to job, you could expect to be responsible for performing some, or all, of the following duties:

 

• Receive, record and respond to donations

• Source prospective donors

• Prepare reports on donors

• Maintain calendars of grant progress, due dates and reports

• Assist with the preparation of grant proposals, newsletter and annual reports

• Assist with fundraising events and activities

• Develop and publish website content

• Ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and organizational policies

• Facilitate progress meetings

• Recommend improvements for future fund development activities

 

 

Is This Career Right for You?

In order to survive the ups and downs of working as a fund development professional (and enjoy yourself along the way!), you’ll need to have certain professional interests, skills, and personal traits, including:

 

• Tact when dealing with others

• Enthusiasm, and the ability to work under pressure

• A strong interest in the community and ethical practice

• The ability to lead, manage and work with staff and volunteers

• The ability to motivate, persuade and inspire people

• The ability to plan, organize and implement complex projects

• The ability to network and build relationships

• Take enjoyment in coordinating information

• Take enjoyment from taking a methodical approach to researching information and dealing with people

 

 

Areas of Specialization

As a development associate, you can either be a generalist, or you can focus you efforts in certain areas of fund development, including:

 

• Annual giving

• Capital campaigns

• Direct mail

• Grant research and preparation

• Major gifts

• Planned giving

• Prospect research

• Special events

• Stewardship and recognition

 

 

Who Employs Development Associates?

As a fund development professional, you could be employed by many different types of 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 (providing services on a contractual basis)

• Social service agencies

• Various charities

 

 

Development Associate Average Salary Level

Although salaries for fund development associates typically fall within a certain range, there are various factors that will influence your specific earnings, including:

 

• Your level of education

• Your level of experience

• The size of the organization that employs you

• The industry in which you work

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties

 

Development Associate Salary - Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications occupational group earn an average salary of $64,850 per year.

 

Development Associate Salary - Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadians working in the Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications occupational group is $55,200 per year.

 

Development Associate Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the Fundraisers occupational group is $52,430 per year.

 

 

Accreditation and Credentials for Development Professionals

Earning Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credentials can be a great asset in a career as a fund development associate. This certification may or may not be a requirement of employment, depending on whom 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 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

 

 

Development Associate Jobs

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

Career Advancement as a Development Associate

Displaying competence and a good work ethic can afford you plenty of career advancement options, including:

 

• Moving into campaign director or fund development director positions

• Moving into specialized areas, such as annual giving, major gifts, prospect research, or others

• Becoming self-employed as a fund development or administration consultant

• Taking on a similar role in another company

• Moving to a smaller organization that has better opportunities for advancement

• Starting your own non-profit organization

 

 

Careers Similar to 'Development Associate'

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or be in the same sector of industry, as 'Development Associate':

 

Business Development Officer

Event Planner

Fundraiser

Marketing Coordinator

Political Campaign Officer

Public Relations Specialist

Sales Representative

Volunteer Coordinator

 

 

References

Please consult the following resources to learn more about the various aspects of a career as a development associate.

 

• Alberta Learning Information Service website - Fund Development Professional: occinfo.alis.alberta.ca

• United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website - Fundraiserswww.bls.gov

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Development Associate

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a development associate. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our All Scholarships by Major 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!

 

 

Becoming a Development Associate: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful (or are necessary) for becoming a development associate. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 


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