Aspiring directors of fund-raising can get experience by volunteering with charitable groups. Offering to assist with a fund-raising event will help you to obtain leadership experience. Take classes in grant writing, English, and speech to develop your communication skills. The most effective directors are those who know how to write and speak persuasively. Internships are valuable methods of getting experience and making important contacts. Your college's career services office can help you find an internship. Talk to directors of fund-raising about their careers. Most will be happy to discuss their educational training, job duties, and what they like and dislike about their jobs.
Many organizations are classified as not-for-profit, or nonprofit, groups. This means that they are not publicly owned or publicly funded. Monies earned by or donated to these organizations are used to help the group pursue and fulfill their mission. Nonprofits depend to a great extent on donations, grants, and contributions. Examples include some universities and colleges, hospitals, libraries, charities, and public service organizations among others.
The director of fund-raising holds an integral position in these organizations. He or she is responsible for raising the monies to fund the organization. Within the scope of the job, the director has a variety of responsibilities.
Directors of fund-raising develop strategies for obtaining financial support from individuals and businesses and cultivate corporate sponsorships. They often develop special programs to bring monies into the organization such as corporate fund-raising programs.
A big part of the job of the director of fund-raising is the development and execution of special events to raise money for the organization. Depending on the organization, these events can be quite simple or very elaborate. They may include galas, auctions, dinners, golf tournaments, and other events. They additionally plan, direct, and coordinate Web-based fundraising events such as online auctions or donation sites on the organization’s Web site.
A great deal of writing is necessary in this job. The director of fund-raising is expected to design and develop promotional materials, press releases, donor letters, fund-raising letters, thank-you letters, speeches, brochures, and other materials. The director, along with his or her staff, is also expected to search out, write, and apply for grants. He or she may develop materials which will be submitted to granting or other funding agencies.
The director of fund-raising also develops ways to educate and inform the public about the organization's mission and goals. The more people who become aware of the organization and its goals (e.g., feeding the hungry, protecting the environment), the easier it is to solicit donations and the more likely the solicitations will have a financial impact. This may be accomplished through press releases, documents, brochures, online blogs, or the organization's Web site. It often is accomplished when the director attends community events, and gives speeches regarding the activities of the organization.
The director works closely with the organization’s board of directors and executive director to develop goals and programs. He or she is expected to develop strategies for obtaining the financial support from private individuals and businesses. The director might also supervise large capital campaigns as well as smaller sustaining programs, and may be responsible for supervising others' fund-raising efforts to guarantee a consistent fund-raising plan. They also develop budgets and prepare annual reports.
Another important function is keeping accurate records. These include recording money raised, donor management, resource development, acknowledgements, membership, and other important data. At a large organization, the director will be assisted by a team of fund-raising professionals. At a small organization, they may comprise the entire fund-raising department.