Seeing Yourself In A Fundraising Career
Most professions require some sort of formal training to begin work. However, fundraising is currently quite unique in that anyone can become a fundraiser from day one, technically knowing very little about it.
Another element to the uniqueness of the profession - and another main contrasting point to many, if not most other professions - is that many people never made a conscious decision to become fundraisers, and that they have ultimately picked up the skills and competencies needed to be successful. Instead, they’ll tell you they fell into fundraising ‘by accident’.
Is that a pathway or education problem (or both)?
There is currently no specific degree in fundraising, with the principles and best practices of ‘the work’ enshrined within programs focused on nonprofit management, philanthropy and specialized certificate courses.
This is crazy to us especially given the rising demand for trained fundraising professionals. So what are the current options?
One of the biggest learning platforms (LinkedIn Learning) up until recently only had a grand total of 9 minutes of relevant fundraising content (and an hour on how to make a fundraising video) from the over 5,000 courses on its platform, while Coursera has just one free course from UC Davis which looks into annual campaigns, major & principal gifts and planned giving.
It’s for these reasons that we decided to form Fundraise For Australia (F4A).
F4A is underpinned by a national fellowship program that connects new and emerging fundraisers with the tools and opportunities that will help them supercharge their careers & deliver transformative change for their communities.
This program is designed for 'emerging fundraisers' with 0-3 years fundraising experience and participants will benefit from an engaged and connected alumni group committed to helping individuals secure dynamic and engaging jobs in the sector, connecting them to continued opportunities in the field and identifying, empowering and supporting a new generation of diverse fundraisers that reflect the communities, programs, organisations and people they fundraise for and on behalf of.
Australia’s rates of giving are low in comparison to similar societies worldwide, but with a new commitment from the current government to double philanthropic giving by 2030, there is a real opportunity to develop a new culture of giving within the country and to develop the infrastructure to ensure this goal is realised.
A critical part of that infrastructure will be frontline fundraisers - those who build cases of support and will need to make these additional ‘asks’ to grow and secure a larger share of funding - but they are often missing from the conversation. That’s why Fundraising Australia was formed, to identify, recruit, develop, mobilise, and advocate for, as many as possible of our nation's most promising fundraisers to help build a diverse and powerful social sector that can raise the resources needed to support and strengthen our society.
But why fundraising?
Fundraising is a values based career in a rapidly evolving industry. It pays well with entry roles in some cases paying around $60,000+ and senior leadership roles at over $250,000+
Just about every not-for-profit (NFP) relies on donations for some of its work, and that means a good fundraiser can be worth their weight in gold (well, almost).
But the most interesting thing for job-seekers is that many people move on from fundraising into more senior roles in NFP organisations – the skills and insights that fundraising can provide seems to prove invaluable for many other NFP roles.
So, if you’re looking for a way to break into a career making the world a better place (and if talking or writing to people about how they can help change the world is your idea of a dream job), then maybe you should think about a career in fundraising.
Fundraisers are crucial to not-for-profit organisations. They’re typically inspiring and well organised but a recent Australian study shows that the chief factor in successful fundraising is simply…good people skills. So, if good conversation is your forte, fundraising should be a great fit.
And with good reason: fundraisers get to deal with a wide variety of people within the organisation and they often enjoy the freedom to go out and talk up a social and environmental cause at public events, homes and in boardrooms.
Plus active fundraising can take you to exciting places such as festivals, sporting events, concerts and even on international adventures, with fundraisers actively recruited for international roles and meeting with prospects, alumni and members overseas.
Fundraisers are without a doubt one of the most underrated and underappreciated positions in nonprofits. They are equal parts storytellers, connectors and strategists and play a critical role in an organization's success, helping to equip and empower all levels of the organization to operate in a development mindset.
What will the outcomes be by 2030 if Fundraise For Australia is a success? It will be identifying, recruiting and skilling up over 250 diverse new fundraisers who will ultimately end up bringing in over $35M+ to the charitable sector. That's our initial north star and a pretty good ROI for our communities.
Join the movement by applying (or nominate folks looking for a career pivot or accelerate) for our inaugural cohort - visit www.fundraiseforaustralia.com/fellowships