“I love to perform at benefits and charity fundraisers.”
Madi Diaz, Musician
Pros and Cons of Working as a Fundraiser
You plan to become a fundraiser? Awesome! However, before you finally go for this job, make sure to check out all the pros and cons of being a fundraiser so that you can better decide whether you are really suitable for this profession or if you rather want to go for other jobs instead.
Being a Fundraiser – Key Facts
|Short Job Description||Fundraisers can work for non-profit organizations, public institutions or also for normal private companies. Their job is to raise funds that can be used for important projects to make the lives of people better or also just to increase the competitiveness of companies.|
|Salary||$52,000 per year on average, most fundraisers make between $25,000 – $95,000 per year.|
|Job Security||Low job security since you are just replaceable.|
|Job Satisfaction||Good if you are passionate about the projects you collect money for.|
|Work-Life Balance||Good work-life balance.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Can be mentally demanding.|
|Future Outlook||Poor since competition will continue to be high in this field.|
|Requirements||College degree required.|
Advantages of Being a Fundraiser
- You can work with people
- Fundraisers can do good for others
- You can support projects you like most
- Fundraisers have a decent work-life balance
- You have rather flexible working hours
- Fundraisers can work both for non-profit and for private corporations
- You may be able to start your own non-profit firm
- You can find meaning in what you are doing
- Fundraisers can build a strong network
- You learn how to sell your ideas to people
- Fundraising is easier than it has been in the past
- Many fundraisers can work remote
- Fundraisers can work indoors most of the time
- Good mix between office work and appointments
- Social media can help to raise awareness
You can work with people
One advantage of being a fundraiser is that you can work with people. You don’t just have to make presentations or analyze data all day long. You also have the chance to really talk to many people on the phone or even in person.
This will not only help you with developing your communication skills, but it will also make your day much more interesting since you will be confronted with many different opinions and you have to react to them in a proper manner.
Moreover, you can also talk with those people about many other topics apart from work. In fact, many people are just much more willing to donate money if they feel as you understand them and their issues compared to a state where you just use cold hard facts to persuade potential givers.
Hence, becoming a fundraiser can be great for you in case you are an extroverted person and love to talk to people.
Fundraisers can do good for others
As a fundraiser, you also get the opportunity to do good for others. Especially if you work in a non-profit organization or a public institution, you will often collect money for poor people around the world so that they are able to improve their overall living standards and their quality of life.
Thus, you can really find a purpose in what you are doing. In contrast, in many other jobs, you will just go to work for the money and you might not even be interested in it at all. You may even not care how what you are doing affects the firm you are working for in the long run as long as you get your money each month.
However, working in this manner will be pretty unsatisfying sooner or later and many people who are just in their jobs for the money will quit sooner or later since it just eats them up.
You can avoid this a fundraiser since you can really go to work with the feeling that you do something important and that many other people rely on your work to survive and to improve their overall conditions.
You can support projects you like most
By working as a fundraiser, you will also be able to support projects you like most. For instance, you can decide which company or institution you want to work for and you can choose your employers according to the projects they are doing and what values they represent.
In turn, this means that you don’t have to work for fundraising projects that seem rather dodgy to you since you can just work for another organization that supports more interesting and valuable projects in your eyes.
Fundraisers have a decent work-life balance
Another upside to being a fundraiser is that you will also have a pretty good work-life balance. In fact, many fundraisers don’t work more than 40 hours a week and some of them even work far less. Some fundraisers also just work part-time.
Hence, if you already have paid off your home or have plenty of money from other sources, you may also just do fundraising as a hobby for a few hours every day just to get a good feeling.
As you can see, fundraising can make sense for people in various different circumstances since you will have pretty decent work-life balance and will have time for many other things you like.
You have rather flexible working hours
As a fundraiser, you will also have the opportunity to work rather flexible hours. This means that you don’t have to start exactly at 9 in the morning and leave your workplace at 6 in the evening. Instead, you will have plenty of discretion regarding when you want to work and how to organize your day.
Sure, you will have meetings which are non-optional and you have to be present at those times. However, a big fraction of the day will be rather flexible and this can be great, especially if you have children whom you have to bring to school since you can just leave your office and come back later.
Of course, your level of freedom also greatly depends on the organization you work for. Yet, many of them will give you these high levels of freedom as long as your results are good and your boss knows that you are reliable.
Fundraisers can work both for non-profit and for private corporations
Many people think about fundraising as charity work or just working for non-profit organizations. While this is a big part of it, some fundraisers are just employed by big corporations who are seeking investments to finance important projects.
Hence, you can also work as a fundraiser even in case you don’t work for public institutions or non-profit organizations. You can just apply for a regular job in the corporate world instead if you want to be part of this world.
You may be able to start your own non-profit firm
Another benefit of being a fundraiser is that you will also be able to start your own fundraising firm sooner or later. Sure, in the beginning, you will be far better off working for an official institution since you will learn a lot which you can use later on in your life. You can also build many important connections which are crucial to raise money.
However, once you have acquired your skills and build your connections with important people, you will be able to switch sides and to let people work for you instead of you working for them. Consequently, you don’t have to work as employed fundraiser forever.
If you are good at what you are doing, you can just work for yourself or let others work for you and rather organize your employees instead of doing the operational work yourself.
You can find meaning in what you are doing
In general, most fundraisers are not in the game for money, fame, popularity or other aspects that are true for many other jobs. Fundraisers often have the inner motivations to improve things and to do good for other people in poor countries around the world.
In fact, it can be much more fulfilling to help those people and to see them smile compared to just working in a silly office job where you make good money but don’t see any sense in what you are actually doing.
Quite often, company goals and your personal goals may also diverge in those jobs and even though some people in regular office jobs will make much more money than fundraisers, they are often broken and sad inside since they feel that something is missing.
As a fundraiser, you can really go to work with the feeling that many people need and appreciate your work and that you can really make a difference for those people who urgently need help.
Fundraisers can build a strong network
Since you will try to acquire funds from many people who are wealthy or even rich during your career as a fundraiser, you will also have the opportunity to build a really strong network. In fact, people who donate money often want to know for what projects this money has been used and you have to report to them on a regular basis.
While this can be annoying since some people are just picky and difficult, it can also help you to build long-term relationships. In turn, you may also have the chance to work for those influential people sooner or later since they will start to trust you and this may give you additional other job options, at least if you are really good at what you are doing and also understand the game on a personal level.
You learn how to sell your ideas to people
As a fundraiser, it is also crucial that you learn what drives people and how you can get into their heads. You also need to touch their feelings a little bit since nobody donates money if he or she doesn’t have the feeling that it is just right to do so.
In fact, fundraisers are often great salesmen since they understand how people are ticking and what they have to tell them to gather as much money as possible.
Being a good salesperson is not only crucial in fundraising, it can also greatly help you out in various other parts of life since every interaction we make out there is sort of a negotiation and if you are really good at convincing people about your ideas, almost endless opportunities will open up to you.
Therefore, working as a fundraiser can not only help you on a professional level, but it can also greatly help you in your personal life on various occasions.
Fundraising is easier than it has been in the past
Since the world is such connected and it is so easy to talk to people from all over the world for free, fundraising is just easier than it has ever been. You can just start a campaign at virtually no cost and can just put in the work and see how it is going.
You can also distribute your ideas for free via various different mediums. All this has not been possible just a few decades ago since the internet has just not been mature yet.
Many fundraisers can work remote
Fundraisers also have the option to work remotely. For instance, if you want to work from home due to various reasons, this will often be possible since teleworking has become quite common and you can just make video conferences instead of taking part in regular meetings in person.
You may even be able to work as a fundraiser across borders and may stay in various different countries. You may even be able to travel the world and purely work remotely as a fundraiser.
Depending on the organization or institution you work for, there are plenty of options that can make your workday much more enjoyable and your life much more flexible in general.
Fundraisers can work indoors most of the time
You will also have the privilege to work indoors as a fundraiser. You don’t have to work outdoors during heavy rain, snow or extreme heat like many other people have to. Instead, you can just sit in a cozy office or work from home in a protected environment.
Good mix between office work and appointments
As a fundraiser, you will also not sit in front of a computer screen all day long, at least if you don’t work solely from remote. At least if you are a little bit experienced and know how to deal with people, you will often be invited to lunches, dinners or to other events.
This means that you will have a healthy mix between office work and other more interactive tasks and this will make your work much more interesting compared to a state where you just stare at your computer for the whole workday.
Social media can help to raise awareness
Thanks to our technological progress, you can also use various different social media channels for your work as a fundraiser. In fact, social media is perfect to spread ideas and to raise awareness of important topics people are still ignoring in our current state of the world.
Since it is free to use those channels, everyone who has an internet connection can use them and those platforms just make your life as a fundraiser just so much easier since you will be able to build an audience pretty soon and some of your followers will be willing to donate significant amounts of money for your projects.
Disadvantages of Being a Fundraiser
- You often need a college degree for becoming a fundraiser
- Student loan debt is a problem
- Many fundraisers don’t earn much money
- Rather low job security
- Many fundraisers lack hard skills to work in other fields
- Being a fundraiser can be frustrating
- Pressure can be significant
- You may get fired if you are not able to collect enough funds
- Fundraisers have to get out of their comfort zone
- Not suitable for shy people
- You will sometimes have to deal with difficult people
You often need a college degree for becoming a fundraiser
While there are many advantages to becoming a fundraiser, there are still some issues related to this profession. For instance, one downside of being a fundraiser is that you will need to get a college degree in many states. This means that you are not able to start with raising funds right after high school.
You need to get many years of additional education and at least a bachelor’s degree is required for most fundraising jobs out there. Hence, make sure that you are willing to get these additional years of education before deciding for a career as a fundraiser.
Student loan debt is a problem
Since you will have to go to college to become a fundraiser, this also implies that you have to pay significant amounts of money for tuition and other costs related to college.
This also implies that many people have to get into student loan debt to finance their degree and this can lead to serious financial issues later on in their lives when they have to pay back those loans.
Thus, make sure that you are also willing to make this financial commitment for your degree to become a fundraiser.
Many fundraisers don’t earn much money
While some fundraisers can make really good money, many others barely make a living out of what they are doing. Success in fundraising has a lot to do with how good you are at understanding people. If you know what drives most people, raising funds will be pretty easy since you just have to push the right buttons.
However, many people don’t understand this and they are just blindly navigating and hoping for the best. Consequently, if you want to make really good money as a fundraiser, it is crucial that you get the mental and emotional side of this job and you may take some psychology classes in college to master those important skills.
Otherwise, chances are that you will not make much money as a fundraiser and may not even be able to pay our rent and other basic expenses.
Rather low job security
As a fundraiser, you will also be pretty replaceable. While really good people are rare and will have good job security since they simply bring in lots of money, average fundraisers will not enjoy high job security.
Hence, you can never be sure how long you will be employed as a fundraiser and this can be pretty stressful, especially if you are the kind of person who loves security and who wants to plan his life way ahead.
Many fundraisers lack hard skills to work in other fields
Working as a fundraiser can also be problematic in the sense that you will often not learn many hard skills during your work. While you will learn who to approach and how to talk to people, your overall skill set will be pretty limited and this can lead to serious issues, especially if you want to change jobs sooner or later since many companies will just not be willing to employ you due to a lack of qualifications.
Being a fundraiser can be frustrating
Another problem with being a fundraiser is that you will just fail quite often. In fact, it can be really frustrating if you call many people and always get the same response: “No!”
Of course, this will also make you more persistent and resistant, yet it can be pretty annoying to put in all the work and not seeing any success.
Pressure can be significant
As a fundraiser, you may also suffer from plenty of emotional stress. You will always have certain financial goals you have to hit so that your company or institution will be happy with you.
If you don’t hit these goals, there might be a serious talk regarding your future in these institutions and dealing with this fact can be pretty exhausting in the long run since you will always feel chased.
You may get fired if you are not able to collect enough funds
If you are really bad at what you are doing and you are not even able to raise more funds than you cost for a company, you will be out of the game pretty soon.
In fact, many fundraisers just get fired since they miss their fundraising goals significantly and have to search for another job.
Fundraisers have to get out of their comfort zone
Working as a fundraiser also implies getting out of your comfort zone. While this can be a valuable lesson since we as humans learn the most when we are pushed to our boundaries, it can also be really stressful, especially if you are a rather introverted person and negotiating with people is not your strength at all.
Not suitable for shy people
Especially if you are the shy type of person who really doesn’t like to communicate with others and who rather wants to work in a quiet atmosphere, becoming a fundraiser will likely not be the right way to go for you.
You will sometimes have to deal with difficult people
While it will be quite enjoyable to talk to many different people during your fundraising career, you will also have to talk to some people who are just difficult and who just have a pretty negative attitude towards life.
Hence, be prepared that some people will just try to bring you down and that you have the mental strength to just ignore those people.
Top 10 Being a Fundraiser Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Fundraiser Pros||Being a Fundraiser Cons|
|Fundraisers can work with people||Fundraising can be stressful|
|You can do good for others||You are just replaceable|
|Being a fundraiser never gets boring||You may get fired pretty soon|
|You can work indoors||You may need a college degree|
|You can meet many important people||Student loan debt is a problem|
|Fundraisers can build a strong network||Being a fundraiser can be frustrating|
|You can start your own fundraising firm||Some people are just difficult|
|The internet makes fundraising easier||Not suitable for shy people|
|Good work-life balance||You have to leave your comfort zone|
|You can raise awareness of people||Hard to switch fields|
Should You Become a Fundraiser?
As you can conclude from the discussion above, there are many advantages and disadvantages of being a fundraiser. In the end, you have to evaluate all the pros and cons of working as a fundraiser yourself to make a profound career choice.
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About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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