I often say that it’s really easy to find bad fundraising jobs, but incredibly hard to find good fundraising jobs.
What I mean by this is that there are thousands of organizations that will underpay you while asking you to double their fundraising… but far fewer non-profits that will pay you what you’re worth and give you the support you need to succeed in your role.
In this article, I’m going to give you my best advice for where to find the best fundraising jobs and how to set yourself up for success in non-profit development.
Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty
The most important thing you can do if you want to have a great career in non-profit fundraising is to dig your well before you’re thirsty. This means that you should always be focused on making connections that will help you find new fundraising jobs when you need them.
The best ways to do this are to focus on establishing great relationships… with the senior staff at your organization, with your board, and with your colleagues at other non-profits. By establishing these relationships, you’ll have advocates you can call on when it’s time to move to a new role.
And, once you establish these relationships, be sure to maintain them. As staff members and board members leave your organization, stay in touch with them (if it is appropriate to do so). Likewise, keep in regular touch with those you know at other organizations, even as they move from job to job. Your goal is to build a huge network in your non-profit mission field that you can call on when you need help finding new fundraising jobs.
Find Fundraising Jobs through Your Network
For most development professionals, the best place to find fundraising jobs is right inside their own network. If you follow the advice above, you’ll create a huge network of people who can help you locate new roles and who can serve as references as you seek new positions.
When the time comes to look for a new job, start by calling and e-mailing through your own personal Rolodex. Tell your network you are looking for a new role and ask for their help with finding a great fit. Often times, if you start with your own network, you’ll be able to locate fundraising jobs before they have even been posted on job boards, which gives you a massive leg up on your competition.
7 Places to Find Fundraising Jobs Online
After you call through your network, the next place to look for fundraising jobs is online, including online job boards. There are thousands of job directories online, but most of them aren’t very good. Below, I’ve listed the 7 online resources that I have found to be most helpful with finding great fundraising jobs.
Note that just because a resource is listed in this article does not mean that all of the jobs that are posted there are great jobs… that being said, I believe that the 7 resources below attract the highest quality fundraising job listings. The resources are listed in no particular order:
The LinkedIN Jobs Board can be a solid place to find new development roles, and gives you the added benefit of being able to see who from your LinkedIN network is connected with the jobs that are listed.
If you’re looking for (and qualified for) higher level fundraising jobs, the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s jobs board is a great place to find them. I’ve found it to be extremely good for listing / locating VP Development, Director of Development, and Major Gift Officer type roles.
Idealist hosts a jobs board focused on all aspects of charitable organizations… including fundraising. This is a great place to find fundraising roles at all levels.
PND (owned by Candid) is a great resource for finding mid-level and higher fundraising jobs (e.g. coordinator and director level roles and above, but not as many entry-level roles).
The National Council of Non-Profits’ jobs board lists thousands of development roles at all different levels, in addition to other types of jobs in the charitable sector.
#6: Regional AFP Listings
Many local chapters of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) have job listings or jobs boards focused on development roles. For example, you can find the AFP of Greater Philadelphia jobs board by clicking here. Check out your local AFP website or give the chapter a call to inquire about their job listings.
#7: Local Non-Profit Job Boards
In addition to your local AFP, some regional non-profit centers and community foundations have jobs board or maintain fundraising jobs listings. For example, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance maintains a jobs board which includes fundraising and other roles.
Remember, as a fundraiser, you deserve to work for a non-profit that values fund development, is committed to supporting your work, and is willing to pay you what you are worth. If you’re looking for a new role, use the resources above to look through the fundraising jobs that are available in your area and find one that meets those criteria.