Similar Titles

Fundraising Manager, Development Director, Donor Relations Manager, Grants Coordinator, Philanthropy Officer, Resource Development Specialist

Job Description

Non-profit development professionals create and implement the non-profit organization’s fundraising strategies. They manage the organization’s fundraising events, peer to peer fundraising campaigns, direct mail appeals and corporate and foundation relations to fulfill annual fundraising goals.

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Ability to contribute to a worthy cause by ensuring that the organization raises the funds necessary to provide programs, services and grants that aim to improve the lives of those in need.
  • Nonprofit development demands that you rise to the occasion to meet challenges with creativity and tenacity. Thinking strategically, cultivating relationships and problem solving are all rewarding aspects of the field.
The Inside Scoop
Day in the Life
  • Meets with staff and committees to plan and produce fundraising events and campaigns.
  • Writes appeals for businesses, foundations and individuals.
  • Manages event expenses and revenues, and build reports.
  • Attends site visits for special events.
  • Manages event timelines, logistics and production.
  • Manages peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and provides support to members on our fundraising platform.
Skills Needed on the Job
  • Strong writing, communication and analytical skills
  • Special event management
  • Leadership capacity
  • Budget management
  • Ability to problem solve
  • Donor database management
  • People skills and relationship building and stewardship
Job Types
  • Development Assistant -> Development Associate -> Development Coordinator -> Development Director(VP)
  • Special Event Coordinator -> Special Event Manager -> Special Event Director
  • Campaign Manager -> Campaign Director
  • Major Gifts Officer
Expectations/Sacrifices Necessary
  • In the non-profit world you will be expected to play several roles as opposed to the corporate world that will have the budget to hire one person per one task. So be prepared to take on many more roles. That is why it is always encouraged to work for an organization that you love and believe in so the amount of hours will be worth it to you since you really believe in the cause.
  • Oftentimes, the salary at a non-profit does not match market value for a similar job in the private sector. However, that is not always the case.
  • Job hunting can be a lengthy, sometimes deflating process, so be prepared to be rejected and to not hear back from every job you apply to.
What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were young...
  • Enjoyed volunteering at an early age.
  • Wanted to make a difference and help others.
  • Could sell more candy/cookies for a fundraiser than the other kids. 
Education Needed
  • Many Non-Profit Developers complete a bachelor’s in finance, business, public policy, international relations, communications, nonprofit management, education, health services, or law. Some finish a master’s, such as a Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development
  • Students learn practical skills through relevant nonprofit internships 
  • Experience is a key element in becoming an effective Non-Profit Developer. In addition to academic requirements, it is common to learn the ropes through entry-level jobs or volunteerism
  • Non-Profit Developers must master several skills related to fundraising campaigns, public relations management, and effective marketing across multiple media platforms
  • It is important to be aware of nonprofit fundraising laws and regulations, including 501(c)(3) requirements, tax considerations, and data privacy
  • Nonprofit accounting basics are also essential
  • Optional related certifications include:
  • Knowledge of social media management is increasingly vital. Popular social apps and sites include TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, and Quora
  • Students can brush up on public relations skills through ad hoc Coursera classes
  • Short, specialized marketing programs include the American Marketing Association’s Professional Certified Marketer or Meta’s Meta Certified Creative Strategy Professional
  • Search Engine Marketing is also helpful to understand
  • Non-Profit Developers should understand concepts related to branding
  • They must become familiar with the concerns and passions of advocates in their niche
What to do in HS and college
  • Stock up on classes such as English, writing, speech, graphic design, mass communication, political science, social media marketing, data analysis, business, math, economics, sociology, environmentalism, psychology, marketing, and project management 
  • Study current issues and causes in which nonprofits are involved in. Look for areas where more could be done
  • Participate in extracurricular activities that can develop your soft skills and project management skills
  • Volunteer with student and local community organizations that help others. Take on roles related to fundraising, marketing, and outreach
  • Apply for nonprofit internships and entry-level jobs. Learn as much as you can, make friends, share creative ideas, and grow your network and reputation
  • Be mindful of the details, especially related to laws, taxes, and financial matters in general
  • Do your homework and be ready to commit long-term! Others may rely on you, so don’t jump into trendy causes that you cannot stay passionate and focused about 
  • Read up on nonprofits working in the space that interests you. Common nonprofit niches include:
    • Animal Rights
    • Education
    • Environment
    • Environmental
    • Government issues
    • Human Rights
    • International Issues
    • Social Justice
  • Study popular nonprofit revenue sources, such as individual donations, government grants, private foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, and other channels of giving
  • Participate in online and in-person social forums to see what types of issues average Americans are talking about
  • Get involved with student government in high school to hone relevant skills
  • In college, join or start a student organization devoted to hot topics and practice your media strategy skills to drive interest 
  • Stay involved with local organizations devoted to causes that interest you
  • Learn how to interact with the media in a calm, professional manner that is good for PR
  • Master the art of speaking professionally
  • Read or watch tutorials on the built-in features of popular social apps and platforms
  • Take online courses (via Coursera, Constant Contact, Skillshare, HubSpot Academy, Google Digital Garage, or Wordstream) to master digital media skills
  • Build an awesome portfolio to hook potential employers!
Landing the Job
  • Non-Profit Developers often land jobs after years of related work
  • “Who you know” goes a long way, so tap into your network. You might snag a job offer based on a recommendation!
  • PR and nonprofit internships can provide invaluable advantages to help you get hired 
  • Keep volunteering and spreading the word about your interest. Earn a reputation as someone who is media savvy and gets things done. Demonstrate what you can bring to the table 
  • Look for jobs and internships on Indeed, Simply Hired, Glassdoor, or other job portals 
  • Consider checking out freelancer sites like Upwork, Guru, or Freelancer. Nonprofits often rely on freelance talent to keep their budgets down
  • Contact nonprofits in your area who might have unlisted opportunities. Check out the careers pages to learn more about what they’re hiring for
  • Speak to your professors, fellow alumni, or supervisors for mentorship and help connecting with nonprofits that might be hiring
  • Ask your school’s career center for assistance crafting a resume and doing mock interviews
  • Use online resume and fundraising campaign portfolio templates to get started
  • Review sample interview questions from various online sources to get a good feel for the types of questions you can expect
What it really takes to make it
  • Stay relevant and “in the know”: Follow blogs that cover topics and social causes that you care about.
  • Attend seminars and meet more people in the industry.

“It takes unwavering ambition that stems from your conviction in what you want to do with your life. Not every job is going to be exactly what or where you want it to be, but it’s about knowing that it is an important step towards where you want to be in the future. Having this understanding allows you to accept and appreciate where you are at in the present. This mindset has always kept me motivated and has allowed me to stay focused on my big picture goals, no matter what short-term obstacles I have come across.” Amanda Flores, Development Manger, Pablove Foundation

Plan B

Alternate careers: Publicist, Sales in interested field, Business Development Manager, Marketing Executive, Event Planner, Corporate Fundraiser

Words of Advice

“A nonprofit development mentor of mine always says: ‘If you’re not hearing “no”, you’re not asking enough.’ In that same vein, my quote would be, ‘If you’ve never failed, you’re not trying hard enough.’ ” Amanda Flores, Development Manager, Pablove Foundation


Online Courses and Tools