So, you want to get into fundraising.
Let’s start with what you have. You’re probably good at showing up every day and learning new things.
When you’re looking for guidance in fundraising, it’s best to start with shadowing people who are already doing what you want to do. Just follow these steps to see if fundraising is for you.
1. Go onto idealist.org and find a nonprofit in your area that has a cause you care about.
2. Go volunteer at an event. If they don’t have an event coming up,
3. Volunteer to research grants for them at one of the Foundation Center’s cooperating collections.
4. Volunteer to help around the office, or help with mailings.
5. See if you can arrange to sit down with the Development person and find out what they do all day.
6. An area that you might need help in is speaking in front of groups of people. Get some help with this at your local Toastmasters or speech club.
7. You can also buy the Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising and get a complete primer on how to fundraise.
Maybe you’re in law. What would it take for you to start a fundraising career?
You’ve got an advanced degree. That will stand you in good stead in fundraising. You know how to make a good argument, so this will help you in major gift asks.
Perhaps you want to get involved in academia. Get the scoop from your alma mater about their fundraising department. Perhaps you can volunteer for them.
Another thing you can do is look at nonprofits that have to do with law and lawyers, such as the ACLU. Your law degree could serve you there as you would be more aware of the culture in this nonprofit and have an inside perspective on why the cause is important and how to talk about it.
If you want to get away from law entirely, you’ll want to get to know some nonprofits that have causes you’re interested in. Research these at idealist.org, or just google your cause and your city.
Nonprofits will like you because you’ll be tenacious, detail-oriented, and smart. You’ll also be able to research, which can help you with grant research. You’ll also probably be able to speak to large groups of people. You can parlay these assumptions into a career as a grantwriter, a major gifts officer, even an executive director if you want.
One area where you might need help is soft people skills. Cross examining people is one thing, but asking them to give you a million dollars is another. Get an idea of what it takes with The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising.
And follow Wild Woman Fundraising on Twitter!