Fundraisers

Summary

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Fundraisers plan and oversee campaigns and events to raise money and other kinds of donations for an organization.
Quick Facts: Fundraisers
2015 Median Pay $52,970 per year
$25.47 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 73,400
Job Outlook, 2014-24 9% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 6,900

What Fundraisers Do

Fundraisers organize events and campaigns to raise money and other donations for an organization. They may design promotional materials and increase awareness of an organization’s work, goals, and financial needs.

Work Environment

Fundraisers work primarily for nonprofit organizations, including educational institutions, religious organizations, health research foundations, social services organizations, and political campaigns. Although most work full time during regular business hours, some may work additional hours to meet deadlines.

How to Become a Fundraiser

Fundraisers typically need a bachelor’s degree and strong communication and organizational skills. Employers generally prefer candidates who have studied public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business.

Pay

The median annual wage for fundraisers was $52,970 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of fundraisers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Strong employment growth driven by the continued need to raise money should result in good job opportunities.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for fundraisers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of fundraisers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about fundraisers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Fundraisers Do

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Fundraisers must create a strong fundraising message that appeals to potential donors.

Fundraisers organize events and campaigns to raise money and other donations for an organization. They may design promotional materials and increase awareness of an organization’s work, goals, and financial needs.

Duties

Fundraisers typically do the following:

  • Research prospective donors
  • Create a strong fundraising message that appeals to potential donors
  • Identify and contact potential donors
  • Use online platforms, such as crowdsourcing, to raise donations
  • Organize a campaign or event to solicit donations
  • Maintain records of donor information
  • Evaluate the success of previous fundraising events
  • Train volunteers in fundraising procedures and practices
  • Ensure that all legal reporting requirements are satisfied

Fundraisers plan and oversee campaigns and events to raise money and other kinds of donations for an organization. They ensure that campaigns are effective by researching potential donors ahead of time and examining records of those who have given in the past. Many of the organizations that employ fundraisers rely heavily on donations to run their operations.

Many states require “charitable soliciting organizations” to register with a state agency. The National Association of State Charity Officials provides advice to charities, as well as links to each state’s charity office. Professional fundraisers who work as private consultants need to register with the state in which they do business. Fundraisers who work for an organization that engages in fundraising activity will not have to register individually as long as their organization is already registered.

Fundraisers who work for political campaigns must be knowledgeable about campaign finance laws, such as the contribution limits of an individual giving to a specific candidate. More information on federal campaign finance laws can be found at the Federal Election Commission. State laws can be found at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The following are examples of types of fundraisers:

Major-gifts fundraisers specialize in face-to-face interaction with donors who can give large amounts.

Planned-giving fundraisers solicit donations from those who are looking to pledge money at a future date or in installments over time. These fundraisers must have specialized training in taxes regarding gifts of stocks, bonds, charitable annuities, and real estate bequests in a will.

Direct-mailing fundraisers send out requests for donations to large numbers of people through the mail, over the phone, and online.

Events fundraisers obtain donations through charity events, including dinners, auctions, galas, and charity races such as 10Ks.

Annual campaign fundraisers solicit donations once a year for their organization. Many nonprofit organizations have annual giving campaigns.

Capital campaign fundraisers raise money for a specific project, such as the construction of a new building at a university. Capital campaigns also raise money for renovations and the creation or expansion of an endowment.

Work Environment

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Fundraisers spend much of their time communicating with potential donors.

Fundraisers held about 73,400 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most fundraisers were as follows:

Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 50%
Educational services; state, local, and private 22
Social assistance 9

Fundraisers work primarily for nonprofit charitable organizations, including educational institutions, religious organizations, healthcare foundations, social services organizations, and political campaigns.

Most fundraisers are employed by the organization for which they raise funds. Some fundraisers work for consulting firms that have many clients.

Fundraisers spend much of their time communicating with other employees and potential donors, either in person, on the phone, or through email.

Some fundraisers may need to travel to locations where fundraising events are held. Events may include charity runs, walks, galas, and dinners.

Work Schedules

Most fundraisers work full time during regular business hours. Some, however, work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules, possibly requiring additional hours. Nearly 1 in 5 worked part time in 2014.

How to Become a Fundraiser

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Fundraisers typically need a bachelor’s degree and need strong communication skills.

Fundraisers typically need a bachelor’s degree and strong communication and organizational skills. Employers generally prefer candidates who have studied public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business.

Education

Fundraisers have a variety of academic backgrounds. However, some employers prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees in public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business, but degrees in other subjects also may be acceptable.

Several schools offer master’s degree programs in philanthropic studies or fundraising. Requirements for entering these programs generally are based on work or volunteer experience at a nonprofit or grantmaking foundation. Students may take courses in annual campaigns, planned giving, major gifts, grant proposals, and marketing.

In addition to taking relevant coursework, students can gain experience by volunteering at local charities or participating in student-led organizations.

Other Experience

Internships and previous work experience are important in obtaining a paid position as a fundraiser. Many fundraising campaigns rely on volunteers having face-to-face or over-the-phone interaction with potential donors. It is important that the fundraiser who organizes the campaign have experience with this type of work.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is voluntary, but fundraisers may obtain it to demonstrate a level of professional competency. CFRE International offers the Certified Fund Raising Executive designation for fundraisers. Candidates are required to have 5 years of work experience in fundraising, as well as 80 hours of continuing education through attendance at conferences and classroom instruction. To keep their certification valid, fundraisers must apply for renewal every 3 years.

Advancement

Fundraisers can advance to fundraising manager positions. However, some manager positions may require a master’s degree, in addition to years of work experience as a fundraiser.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Fundraisers need strong communication skills to clearly explain the message and goals of their organization so that people will make donations.

Detail oriented. Fundraisers must be detail oriented because they deal with large volumes of data, including lists of people’s names and phone numbers, and must comply with state and federal regulations. Failing to do so may result in penalties.

Leadership. Many fundraisers manage large teams of volunteers and must be able to lead them without having the usual incentive of pay at their disposal.

Organizational skills. Fundraisers manage large campaigns and events. They must have strong planning and organizational skills in order to succeed.

Pay

Fundraisers

Median annual wages, May 2015

Business operations specialists

$64,510

Fundraisers

$52,970

Total, all occupations

$36,200

 

The median annual wage for fundraisers was $52,970 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,340, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,770.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for fundraisers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Educational services; state, local, and private $57,510
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 51,970
Social assistance 47,120

Most fundraisers work full time during regular business hours. Some, however, work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules, possibly requiring additional hours. Nearly 1 in 5 worked part time in 2014.

Job Outlook

Fundraisers

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Fundraisers

9%

Business operations specialists

7%

Total, all occupations

7%

 

Employment of fundraisers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the continued need of nonprofit organizations to collect donations in order to run their operations.

Organizations that will receive less financial support than in the past, such as colleges and universities, will need fundraisers to solicit donations to make up for shortfalls. Political campaigns also will continue to hire fundraisers.

More nonprofit organizations are focusing on cultivating an online presence and are increasingly using social media for fundraising activities. As a result, social media have created a new avenue for fundraisers to connect with potential donors and to spread their organization’s message.

Job Prospects

Job prospects for fundraisers are expected to be good because organizations are always looking to raise more donations. Although candidates with different backgrounds are often eligible to become fundraisers, those with experience in nonprofit and grantmaking industries will have better job opportunities.

Employment projections data for fundraisers, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Fundraisers

13-1131 73,400 80,300 9 6,900 [XLSX]

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of fundraisers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2015 MEDIAN PAY
Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers plan programs to generate interest in products or services. They work with art directors, sales agents, and financial staff members.

Bachelor's degree $124,850
Meeting, convention, and event planners

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.

Bachelor's degree $46,840
Public relations managers and specialists

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

Public relations managers plan and direct the creation of material that will maintain or enhance the public image of their employer or client. Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns that bring in donations for their organization.

Bachelor's degree $104,140
public relations specialists image

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They design media releases to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals.

Bachelor's degree $56,770
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Fundraisers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/fundraisers.htm (visited May 05, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015