- Posted July 22, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Impact Your World
A Fundraiser's Resume
I was a consultant for the last 10 years of my 20 year career as a fundraiser and I was used to the mentality of “feast or famine”, or as they say crudely in sales, “eating what you kill”. The ebbs an flows of business development and clients was common place for me, and for that I am exceedingly grateful because it provided me with the tools necessary to adapt and reinvent myself in this new world.
I have had colleagues and friends call me who never thought in a million years they would be looking for another position after being let go from a job they loved. Although I am no longer personally fundraising, when I was, I was very good at it and I have spent two decades in the field and know what I would want to see in a fundraiser for a social enterprise or non-profit organization.
Yes, we could talk about realistic expectations of executive directors and board members at non-profit organizations, but for the time being, that will be a subject I will tackle another day. In the meantime, I want to focus on what minimum requirements and skills a good fundraiser should make certain to have on their resume.
Fundraising is not sales, but they share something in common – a track record. Unless you are starting out for the first time in an entry level fundraising position, if I were looking to hire a good fundraiser, I want to see on the resume a track record of performance. The most critical things for me would be the following:
• Dollars Raised – If I were a hiring manager, I want to see how much you raised in each of your fundraising positions, and I also want to see by what percentage you increased fundraising. For better or worse, fundraising performance is the biggest selling point you have with regard to obtaining a new job. For example, I want to know if you raised $10 million annually and increased fundraising revenue by 15%.
• Largest Gift – I want to know what the largest gift you had a hand in securing, whether it is an individual, corporation, foundation or trust. I recognize that fundraising is oftentimes a team effort, but it is important to let prospective employers know what you have accomplished. If you helped raise $250,000 for your organization, that is important to have on your resume.
• Management – In order to progress in your career, it is typically important to obtain management experience. The challenge is many non-profits tend to be small and sometimes there are few opportunities to gain management experience. If you managed staff, make sure to place that on your resume – even if it is one person. If you have not managed staff, if you have managed and coordinated volunteers or interns, use that experience.
• Education – The non-profit sector is full of highly educated individuals. Make sure you list your degrees and credentials. I have had conversations with a few people who decline to put their graduate degree because they think they will appear “over qualified”. Perhaps that is so in some organizations, but would you really want to work there in that scenario? We all work hard and spend an enormous amount of time and money on our education, it’s not something that we should have to deny.
• Professional and Volunteer Affiliations – Finally, if I were looking to hire a fundraiser, their volunteer and professional involvement in the sector, outside of work, is very important to me. Simply, it shows you have an interest in growing within your career and are seeking professional development opportunities.
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Posted: July 22, 2014
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