Being a fundraiser is a hobby for most people who do it with remarkable passion and determination, being motivated by the amazing organizations they support. Apart from the enthusiasts who dedicate their time and energy to organizing fundraising events, there is a group of really lucky individuals who managed to turn their passion for fundraising into a day job. Yes, you’ve heard it right, you can become a professional fundraiser and develop an incredibly rewarding career in the non-profit, charity or education area.
Exploring your lifelong passion for fundraising and turning it into a rewarding career is no longer a difficult task, as more and more companies support small and big fundraising ideas, implementing a variety of programs for fundraisers. There are also plenty of fundraising websites to check out online which make your job much easier, so you have no excuse for not pursuing this dream job.
Read our article and you will discover how you can become a professional fundraiser and make a profit from doing what you love!
What Does a Fundraiser Do?
A fundraiser is a determined individual who knows how to make his or her job fun and who never takes no for an answer. Being a fundraiser requires an amazing set of skills and a positive view on life, as well as a brilliant ability to organize teams and create successful fundraising events. The job description for a fundraising coordinator includes creating and developing fundraising programs, identifying prospective donor companies and organizing specific events depending on the area of activity.
A fundraiser is not a hippie, dreamy person as we might imagine, but a determined, highly trained negotiator who can make the best of every opportunity no matter how small it seems. They are capable of coming up with efficient fundraiser ideas and implementing them to the best potential, raising as much money as possible for the causes they support. Their efforts and creativity are appreciated, and professional fundraisers can earn as much as $64,402 per year.
There is also an Association for Fundraising Professional which means that becoming a fundraiser is a respectable and rewarding career path for many individuals who want to experience the joy of using their skills for supporting great causes.
Best Fundraising Ideas
There are a variety of options to try when you are starting a fundraising plan. It is important to keep your options open and do a thorough research before getting to work. You should identify the companies that are willing to help or have fundraising programs in your related area of interest. For example, if you are fundraising an event dedicated to a school, you should know that you could apply to the programs supported by Chipotle fundraising or Krispy Cream fundraising.
- T-Shirt Fundraiser
The trick that all professionals know is that when it comes to fundraising you have to be specific. Choose a topic and stick to it throughout your fundraising event. A t shirt fundraiser is a simple, but the cool idea that will help you make some money for the cause you’re supporting. A good, unique twist on this classic idea is to print relevant messages or drawings on your t-shirts, this way they will stand out, and your donors will know what cause their money will serve.
- Coffee Fundraiser
A coffee stand fundraiser is the equivalent of a lemonade stand for adults! You can organize your event in a park or even in the parking lot of your company, and people will certainly be willing to donate for a good cause. This type of event should be held in a crowded area, and you should get creative with your stand design. A cool design mixed with the smell of delicious coffee is an irresistible unique fundraising idea.
- Candle Fundraiser
The Yankee Candle Fundraising is a program dedicated to helping individuals fundraise their causes by selling the famous high-quality candles. This is another great fundraising idea for supporting your cause, and making a good profit. You can organize your candle fundraiser as a garage or yard sale, so find the best option for your event.
- Car Wash Fundraiser
A favorite among men, the car wash fundraiser, is an original way to raise money and help good causes. Apart from the regular services offered, you should make sure that every one of your donors gets a tiny gift for their effort. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift or anything fancy, but it should certainly have a little part of your heart in it. You can go for bumper stickers, air fresheners or specially designed keychain accessories, and whatever you choose, make sure you have personalized it to represent your cause.
- Casino Night Fundraiser
One of the more professional fundraising event ideas is a casino night fundraiser. This type of event is aimed at organizations which have a higher profit goal and which can afford to hold such a prestigious fundraiser. Regardless of the dress code and elegant setting, you should also include fun moments such as lotteries or little competitions for you donors because having a great time is the key to becoming generous.
5 Creative Fundraising School Projects
There are plenty of successful fundraising ideas for schools, so you have a lot of resources to look at. We have compiled a list of 5 creative and fun ideas you can try if you want to organize and event dedicated to your local school or high school. Even though these events are generally smaller, and your profit as a professional fundraiser will not be as high as usual, you should know that the spiritual reward you will get can’t be measured.
- Active Sports Themed Fundraiser
A great idea for a school fundraising project is a sports event. If you want to raise money for your local baseball team, or you need new equipment for the cheerleading team, this is the way to go! You can organize a small marathon or a variety of fair like challenges from throwing balls to tossing rings, to make sure that your donors have a great time. Offer small prizes for people who donate more and don’t forget to have fun and join in the competition.
- Cool Popcorn Fundraiser
A popcorn fundraiser can be organized in many ways depending on your goals. A great idea would be to organize a movie screening in your school yard and sell home-made popcorn to your audience. As usual, design your space with creativity and ensure that everyone is having a great time, they will be more open to donating if they are enjoying themselves.
- Classic Candy Bar Fundraiser
Another classic fundraising idea for schools that can easily be turned into a winner, the candy bar fundraiser is a popular hit with kids and adults alike. It’s fairly easy to get going, and there are a lot of companies who are willing to contribute with their products, such as candy, chocolate or donuts. Look up Krispy Kreme fundraising or Old Fashion Candy Company and send them your fundraising application letter to get their support.
- Delicious Hot Chocolate Fundraiser
Kids love hot chocolate and it is a great item to sell in a school fundraiser event, even if we are talking about middle schoolers or high school students. Set up a stand and bring colorful mugs for everyone to enjoy. Get the kids involved and advertise your cause with banners, ads and handmade posters that will ensure people know about you. A delicious hot chocolate fundraiser will undoubtedly be a hit on any cold winter day!
- Sell Your Old Toys Fundraiser
This fundraising idea is a winner with middle schoolers and their parents. Organize a yard sale dedicated to toys and ask your students to bring in the toys they are no longer using, so this way you can earn the money necessary for your school. Invite parents, friends, and grandparents and ask them to buy and donate, this way you get more exposure and turn your event into an opportunity for everyone to hang out and have a great day.
Helpful Online Resource for Aspiring Fundraisers
The age of internet comes with countless online fundraising sites, programs and diverse opportunities you could use to gain more experience as a fundraiser. We are all familiar with Kickstarter, the Brooklyn-based corporation who showed everyone that the internet is a great resource for alternative financing, but there are other resources you should know about. Give forward is another great resource for you to get your projects seen and founded. Global Giving is another place to discover and build a network of donors and companies who are involved in various causes. Knowhow NonProfit is a great platform dedicated to NGOs and non-profit fundraising, so you should also check it out.
How Can I Get My Fundraising Career Started?
In the beginning, it might look like an unattainable dream, but if you get started in the right direction, there is nothing that can stop you from achieving your goals. If you are truly determined to turn your passion for fundraising and charity work into a real career, there are a few steps you should follow to get the necessary training and experience.
Step 1: Get your education!
Educational requirements for this job vary and employers might ask for different qualifications, but in general, you need to have an undergraduate degree in one of the following fields: communications, marketing, and even advertising. If you don’t have a degree, you should start courses dedicated to this subjects in order to acquire the necessary skills for a career in fundraising.
Step 2: Get involved & start volunteering!
Fundraisers, or fund development professional employees, generally work with volunteer associations and charitable groups, so you need to have hands on experience before starting your career. Employers are always looking at your experience in the field of charitable and non-profit organizations, so start building this area of your resume if you haven’t already done so.
Step 3: Get specific training!
Apart from your degree, you will also need specific training. Even if the training with professional associations is not mandatory for most jobs, you should know that it is considered an important asset for a candidate. The AFT (an association created for fundraising professionals) is one of the most respected organizations in the field, so you could start there.
Step 4: Start working for the causes you love!
As an entry-level candidate, you can’t expect the salary of an experienced fundraiser, but you should be adequately paid for the work you do. That is why we suggest you go for jobs that involve raising funds for the causes you love, so if you are passionate about cancer research, go and help in that area. If you love animals, there are plenty on NGOs who need your help so apply for their openings. If you are religious and wish to offer assistance in this sector, you can find various churches who need a fundraising professional.
Step 5: Don’t forget about the office work!
As well as being on the field talking to company owners, donors, volunteers and event attendees, you will also have to deal with a fair share of paperwork. Included in the job description of a fundraiser are extensive knowledge of laws and regulations regarding fundraising, and also the ability to prepare reports and presentations in an effective style.
We live in a world that needs more good people, so if you want to become a professional fundraiser, you will be one of the special humans we need now more than ever. Keep in mind that you should stay open to new and original fundraising ideas and try to remain connected to the variety of online resources available to aspiring and professional fundraisers.
There is no manual on how to fundraise, but there are plenty of solutions, suggestions and ideas that you can implement, so get started! Remember that a fundraiser is an optimist who is willing to do its part to make the world a better place, so you should always maintain your positive view on life and enjoy the experience of doing what you love.