If you’re interested in working for a non-profit organization, you may know that fundraising plays a big part in how well the organization can finance its operations and provide key services for its cause. Fundraising is a great way to truly help the organization and make an impact on a broader level. Let’s talk about some skills you may want to have if you want to be a successful fundraising professional in a non-profit organization:
- Interpersonal leadership – It’s essential to be able to build relationships with those that may help you secure funds for your non-profit. In addition, you must also be able to lead with passion, purpose, and by example, so that you are seen as someone competent, reliable, and most importantly, trustworthy enough to be able to manage funds efficiently and sensibly. If you establish connections that convey personal dependability and a genuine aspiration to better your cause, you are much more likely to see success in your fundraising efforts.
- Teamwork – while it’s important to make yourself memorable as an individual advocating for a cause, there really is strength in numbers when it comes to fundraising. The more people there are advocating for your cause, the more credible you will look when trying to raise money because you will not be there alone. Others on your team might also give you great suggestions for tactics you can use to encourage donations that you may not have thought of yourself. It’s important to have these different perspectives in mind when making fundraising efforts, as you will be able to overcome each challenge and develop new strategies while working with others.
- Creativity – fundraising can most definitely be more an art than a science. While there are practical approaches to fundraising that have been proven to work, sometimes you may have to think outside the box. You may encounter an audience you haven’t considered before and may have to develop a fundraising strategy on the spot. Or maybe something that has worked in the past is no longer effective, and you have to think of something else if you want to secure those crucial funds. Whatever situation you may find yourself in, it’s always important to develop creative solutions if you’ve exhausted your tried-and-true options and need to think of something with a little more finesse.
- Research – it’s always better to come prepared for a fundraising event. Conduct research on your audience to know what might be the most effective way to approach them. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to building relationships with donors, so you really have to know what makes each person invested in your cause and how to use that to your advantage. Preparation will also help you come off as dedicated so donors will see that you’ve invested a lot of your own time trying to help your cause, and they may become inspired to invest their own time (and money) into the cause as well.
These are just some of the skills you may want to keep in mind as you pursue opportunities in fundraising. You are likely to go through a lengthy process before seeing results, but it’s worth it when you know that you are building the fundamental groundwork for your organization to be successful. If you want to talk about some options for what you can do to continue to build these skills, feel free to schedule an appointment with a Career Coach at the UConn Center for Career Development. It’s never too early to discuss the opportunities that can help you get started in fundraising and brainstorm some non-profits where you may want to focus your efforts.