Move Up in Your Fundraising Career with Personal Brands | CharityHowTo

How to Move Up In Your Fundraising Career by Building Your Personal Brand


Maybe we’re biased, but working as a staff member for a nonprofit is nothing short of rewarding. Knowing that the work you’re doing day in and day out is creating a positive impact on the world is enough to get you jumping out of bed and sprinting to the office. 

Okay, maybe that’s not every day. But it sure is a lot of them!

That’s why a fundraising career is such a sought-after position. 

But at a certain point within your fundraising career path, it’s a good idea to establish yourself from the rest of the crowd of nonprofit professionals. 

And one of the best ways to do that is by taking inspiration from the digital world around you. You can even take a page from marketing books in the for-profit world to help you stand out from everyone else. 

That’s why building a personal brand is such a bold and useful action to take! 


What is a Fundraising Career? 

If you’re just starting out in the nonprofit world, or if you’re not sure if this is the right move for you, it’s a good idea to get an understanding of what you may be in for. 

Since nonprofit organizations thrive on funds donated to their cause, they often rely on specific people to help them obtain those funds. 

That’s where a career in fundraising comes in. 

Fundraisers, or nonprofit professionals who specialize in fundraising, organize and manage fundraising events and campaigns for their nonprofit. 

If you haven’t yet taken on the role of a nonprofit fundraiser, here’s a glimpse of what you may do: 

What Are the Different Types of Fundraising Careers?

There are plenty of different types of fundraising careers. And while you may start in one role, as you advance your career, you’ll likely wind up in another.

Some of the most well-known types of fundraising careers are: 


Director of Development: 

As a Director of Development, you oversee the entire fundraising team within a nonprofit organization. That may include managing lower-level managers, grant writers, administrative staff, event planners, and volunteers who assist in fundraising. 

You’ll also work closely with the nonprofit board of directors. You’ll keep them informed of your fundraising efforts, including any successes and any challenges your teams are facing. 


Donor Relations Manager: 

Cultivating, nurturing, and stewarding donor relationships is a full-time job in and of itself. That’s why there’s usually a team dedicated to it! As a donor relations manager, you’ll oversee the rest of the staff and volunteers that assist with donor relationship building. 

This is perfect if you’ve got excellent people skills that you want to utilize. You’ll likely reach out to current, potential, and past donors. And, of course, you’ll manage the donor database so all of your contact information stays up-to-date. 


Nonprofit Event Planner:

Nonprofit events are one of the best ways to connect with your nonprofit’s local community. And as virtual events become more popular, you can widen your reach! 

As a nonprofit event planner, you’ll work to organize both in-person and virtual events to raise money for your organization. This kind of fundraising career might also include things like contacting vendors, managing ticket lists, mailing out invitations, and even decorating venues. 


Nonprofit Grant Writer:

One of the top ways for nonprofits to receive funding is through grants. And nonprofit grant writing is a nuanced art form that takes great research and communication skills. As a grant writer, you’ll need to research the nonprofit, write detailed proposals that are persuasive in nature, and even form and nurture relationships with grantmakers. 


How Your Fundraising Career Can Take a Page from Social Media Influencers

Our world is moving quickly to the digital space. And in this world, we’re constantly being sold to. Being marketed to.

We’re constantly soaking up advertisements, whether we realize it or not. 

This is the same for people who choose to donate to nonprofits. It’s the same for larger corporations who put together grants for organizations. And it’s the same for those who choose to build a fundraising career. 

So, with a career in fundraising, how do you stand out? How do you make it known that you can help nonprofits make a difference in their cause?

It’s time we take a page from the social media influencers – they may have something to teach us about moving up in our fundraising careers. 


What is a Personal Brand? 

One thing that most (if not all) social media influencers have in common is a personal brand. 

A personal brand refers to how you promote yourself to nonprofit organizations. You’re showcasing your unique set of skills, experience with fundraising, and your personality that all drive success wherever you go. 

You can use your personal brand to separate yourself from the many other nonprofit professionals who are furthering their fundraising careers. 

There isn’t a rulebook saying you can’t tie your personal brand to your business ambitions. And by creating a story around your career, your behaviors, and your values, you can quickly become a hot commodity in the fundraising sector. 


How Does a Personal Brand Play Into Your Fundraising Career? 

You can use a personal brand to further yourself within your fundraising career. 

When it comes to securing job opportunities and moving into nonprofit leadership roles, you can use a well-developed personal brand as an advantage. With a personal brand strategy, you can stand out from the sea of other nonprofit professionals vying for the same opportunities. 


How Does a Personal Brand Benefit Nonprofits? 

If you are connected with a nonprofit and have a personal brand established, you can combine them to make more of an impact! 

The beauty of personal brands and nonprofits lies in the younger demographic that is becoming prominent donors to organizations. 

Millennials and even the Gen-Z population are quickly becoming the largest group of donors. And they’re bringing about change when it comes to nonprofit marketing. 

For millennials in particular, they’ve grown increasingly wary of advertising. 84% of millennials don’t trust ads or any of the brands that create them. 

But they do trust people.  In fact, from a list of the most followed Twitter accounts, millennials follow people way more than they follow businesses or organizations. 

That means that nonprofits need to find a new way to reach younger audiences. And personal brands can be the way to do it! 


And if you’re looking to further your career in fundraising, then it may be time for you to create your personal brand! 

We’ve got a free video training on how to build your personal brand so you can move up in your fundraising career. Watch it below:





Topics: nonprofit management, psychology of fundraising, fundraising career