Careers in Fundraising and Development

A field that often goes unexplored by many students is a career in fundraising and development. These professionals secure the resources and foundations needed to fuel mission-driven nonprofits.

There is no “one pathway” into a career in fundraising. Although there are some academic programs emerging that focus on philanthropy (see here for an example), there is no particular major/degree needed to pursue these types of jobs. Instead, you need to consider the range of skills and functions needed to pursue this pathway. Because this is relatively unknown career, here are some examples of the kinds of work/tasks done by these professionals:

  • Fundraiser event planning
  • Individual donor outreach and relations
  • Researching funding sources and potential donors
  • Applying for and managing grant/foundation funding
  • Large-scale campaign creation and management
  • Gift management and budgeting

As a concrete example, you can see the variety of roles in fundraising and development right here at Wellesley College’s Office for Resources.

As you can see, the skills needed for these roles can be gained from a variety of experiences and majors. The are a few ways that you can explore these kinds of jobs, and ways to get some experience.