Becoming a Fundraiser 

From Christian charity drives to promoting a political candidate running on a family values platform, it’s the job of a fundraiser to organize and oversee an event or campaign that raises money and other kinds of donations. As one of the leading industries to hire fundraisers, many religious organizations rely heavily on the kindness of strangers and repeat donors. Completing a college degree program is an important step taken to sharpen the communication and organizational skills needed to persuade people to donate their time, money and energy.

Job Activities & Responsibilities

Hired to work directly for an organization or individual, most fundraisers become a part of a team or staff, while others establish consulting firms that handle a roster of clients. Communication skills are essential for thriving in this field, as a great deal of time is spent contacting potential donors, whether it’s in person, on the telephone, or through email. Fundraisers also have to touch base and stay on the same page as other employees. Required travel, working evenings and weekends, as well as putting in overtime hours, are oftentimes part of a fundraiser’s job description.

Other day-to-day activities include the following responsibilities:

  • Increasing awareness of the accomplishments, goals and financial needs of a client or employer
  • Organizing events to promote a client, from galas to charity runs
  • Designing and distributing promotional materials that send a clear, strong message
  • Attending fundraising events, as well as overseeing employees, staff and volunteers
  • Researching, identifying and contacting potential donors
  • Maintaining records of donor information


Fundraisers may come from a range of academic backgrounds, but employers tend to give preference to graduates with a bachelor’s degree program in journalism, communications, English, public relations, political science, or business. A background or degree in theology or divinity equips a graduate with the knowledge and awareness of how to create better fundraising strategies for religious organizations, faith-based political candidates, and Christian non-profits. To qualify for a management position, employers often require a job applicant to hold a master’s degree, as well as have years of experience working as a fundraiser.

Career Salary & Job Outlook

Religious organizations are one of the largest employers of fundraisers, paying a median annual salary of $54,880 in 2017 for the position. In addition to religious organizations, faith-based fundraisers may find employment with schools, research foundations, social services agencies, and political figures. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the highest 10% of professionals to enter the field have earned more than $94,280, especially in top-paying states like Rhode Island, California, New York, and Maryland. Other factors that play a role in how much a fundraiser makes include having years of experience, grant-writing abilities, social media savviness, and demonstrating an impressive track record in regards to past fundraising events.

The job outlook for fundraisers is strong, as employment for the occupation is expected to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026. This rate is much faster than the average of all other positions in the United States. There will be a continued need for nonprofit and other organizations to collect donations so that their operations can stay afloat. Within the 10-year time frame, an estimated 13,400 new positions are expected to become available for fundraisers.


Conna Craig

How do you like working for non-profits and what is the job like?

I have worked for nonprofit organizations during most of my career, in the areas of education, then foster care and adoption policy, and now I’m working with a faith-based recovery program.
In the nonprofit world, the goal is always being true to our mission. Of course, all nonprofits need to raise funds to carry out their missions. However, the most important part of the work is being able to honestly answer the questions: What are we striving to accomplish? How are we going to do it? Why does it matter?
You do a lot of fundraising, how do you do it? 
In all three of the organizations for which I’ve worked, we have been entirely privately funded–that means no taxpayer dollars or government funds. There is a lot of freedom in that. We answer to our board or directors and our funders, rather than a labyrinth government agency.
What are your sources for fundraising?
People who believe in our mission, as well as foundations. Every gift, no matter the size, really matters to us.
 Is it hard to raise the funds needed?
Right now I’m working with someone who, before I joined The Bridge, managed all the fundraising. He is remarkable and I’m learning a lot from him.
I imagine getting in front of wealthy people is the way to fund raise . What else.
It’s important to convey what we do and why. It’s wonderful when that resonates with potential donors.
I know you told me that getting the word out is the hardest part, how do you get over that hill?
In our case at The Bridge Restoration Ministry (, we have a founder who is eloquent and 100% committed to our mission. Pastor Mike Casey and his wife, MIchele, founded our organization and they are brilliant at articulating what we do.
Any final words to those wanting to become a non profit fundraiser?
Yes. What matters most is that you believe in the organization you are working for–that its mission deeply resonates with you. And don’t try to do it all on your own because that’s impossible! Working with a great team makes all the difference in the world.