Nov 28, 2008

Fundraising a Good Career for Tough Times

It seems like everyone these days is asking, "What if?" What if their job is cut and they get laid off, or their whole organization or company goes under? Will there be another job out there, or is it time to explore grad school or figure out how to claim unemployment?

But there's good news for nonprofit fundraisers. As described by Mark Harden in the Denver Business Journal, people with fundraising skills and experience are more sought after than ever. (See the November 28, 2008 article "Fundraising pros in demand.") And no wonder -- with less money than ever to go around, nonprofits need people who can bring money in.

Of course, there's going to be some new competition from newly laid-off marketing, writing, and other professionals from the for-profit or corporate sector. Should we permit ourselves some resentment of these folks, who may think they're going to be snapped up as they "lower" themselves to the nonprofit world? For a minute, sure -- I'm not above a little snarkiness, and I've certainly met people who have so little idea of what it's like to work with extremely limited resources that they just assume that nonprofit staffers are bumbling and inefficient.

Okay, got that out of my system. And oops, I just remembered -- I did spend two years as a corporate lawyer, so I haven't exactly stayed on one side of the supposed aisle. But hey, if those corporate aisle-crossers bring in new skills and talents, eventually we all win. (The great thing about working in a well-funded operation is that you have time to get some great training under your belt.) The ones whose hearts aren't in it will go running back to their business-suit existences as soon as they can find an opening. Meanwhile, the community need is great enough to make room for anyone who can raise money to fill it.