So you’re interested in changing the world. I can relate.
As a fundraiser, the job I – and those I consult with – do is one that can alter the trajectory of people’s lives. A gift to a healthcare not-for profit might be the thing that pushes a researcher ever closer to unlocking a cure to a childhood illness or a new way to combat a degenerative condition that impacts thousands. These are the tangible results of all our hard work – to further the missions of the organizations that need us in order to get the job done. It can be incremental change, but it’s the kind of impact that beckons hundreds to our profession.
So in response to a recent request I received from someone seeking a new position in fundraising, I humbly offer you a few words of advise. These tips will not only help you land that job, but taking them to heart will make you an even better fundraiser.
Being clear about Clarity
The older I get (no jokes, please), the more I realize that having CLARITY is a must.
Clarity on what we want and how we articulate our wants to others, will always help us achieve our goals faster – and with decidedly more impact. When we are vague, people can’t connect. A potential employer may respond to your vagueness with a response like: “Well, I cannot think of anyone now but I’ll keep it in mind.” When we tell them exactly what we want and ask for help, they may be more likely to respond with something more concrete, like: “Well actually, let me put you in touch with so and so.”
This clarity of purpose also works when you get that job and deal directly with donors and prospects. People tend to respond more indifferently when approached by someone who prefers indirect interaction. Be honest, and be true to yourself and your needs, and the goals you set for yourself both personally and professionally will never be out of reach.
So, do YOU have clarity on what type of position you’re seeking? Clarity in:
- Type of NPO
- Position – Frontline; Fundraising; Other
In addition to this clarity, you should also ask yourself a few critical questions:
- What do you think management and leaders want?
- What skills do you have to help them get that?
- Why you do what you do or want to do, why you are the one to do that.
- What problem will you solve?
- What’s your why? And by that, I mean: Why do you do this work?
A resume is great, but you need to present yourself as more than simply a list of positions and accolades. You need to speak on your behalf, and a cover letter or email can go a long ways to conveying a clear message about you and your goals. Again, there’s that CLARITY I’ve been talking about.
Having a hard time getting started? Answer the questions above and you should be well on your way to saving the world…one ask at a time.