How to Make Yourself Stand Out from the Crowd
Harvey Green, CFRE
Contemplating a job change? In my conversations with industry recruiters, I have learned that at least eight jobs exist for every marketable fundraiser.
The good news is you don’t have to show a track record of having raised millions of dollars before securing a promotion or a new job as a fundraiser, but you should have some fundamental relationship-building skills and the ability to understand the process of identifying potential donors for an organization.
Here are a few things that might be helpful as you look for your next fundraising position.
Create a compelling story
Develop a compelling story or personal reason about why you are looking to take the next step in your health care philanthropy career. You will most likely have to tell this story to your interviewers and donors, as they will want to know your level of interest and passion for the organization that you represent.
Boost your exposure
Boost your resume and exposure in this industry by joining one of AHP’s volunteer committees, presenting at conferences or on webinars, becoming an AHP Member Ambassador, or facilitating a peer group on the Huddle.
Ask for new opportunities
Ask if you can take on additional fundraising responsibilities. If you work in events or annual giving, perhaps there may be some opportunities to go on a call with a major gift officer or even take on a small portfolio of donors.
Start as a volunteer
Volunteer for an organization similar to the one you wish to join. This most likely won’t be a paid opportunity, but it will help supplement some necessary experience, as well as give you a taste of what working for that organization is like.
Take courses, in your community or online, in which you can educate yourself further about the nonprofit industry. Understanding topics such as the legal ramifications of a 501c3 and what an endowment is will be helpful in advancing your career.
Find a mentor
Having the right mentor was key for me and was also helpful when the time came for me to interview. You’ll find new friends, and maybe even a mentor, at industry events. I can’t count how many informational interviews, coffee, and conversations I had at AHP conferences when I first started out.
As I was once told by a successful CEO and president of one of the largest nonprofits in Harlem, NY, about fundraising, “Stay on this path—it will bring you rich rewards.” I encourage you to explore, learn, and stay on the path of maximizing the skills that you have accumulated and using them for the greater good of humankind.