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66+ Resources To Rise In Your Fundraising Career

Have you ever wondered how to rise in your fundraising career?

Are you looking for a fundraising job? Let me help you do it. Over the last 10 years, I have helped thousands of people with their fundraising careers. We’ve worked on resumes, cover letters, interview skills, moving on up and more. I’ve created and run the Fundraising Career Conference from 2014 to 2018 with a bunch of fundraising career experts like Linda Lysakowski, author of Fundraising as a Career, what are you, crazy? Claire Axelrad, former Development Director for the San Francisco Food Bank, Daryl Upsall of Upsall Recruiting, Kishshana Palmer of Kishshana Co, Christie Lindor, author of the MECE Muse, Della Rae, self-care advocate, Maria Ramos-Chertok, lawyer and advocate for women being sexually harassed at work, and many many more.

Fundraising careers can be tremendously rewarding, and equally extremely frustrating, To help you avoid frustration, and get the most out of your fundraising career, I’ve organized a few of my best fundraising resources for you, including pdfs, videos, interviews (and transcriptions) as well as articles, books and more.

Browse below, or choose a topic to skip straight to where you want to go.

Getting the fundraising job: Fundraising Resumes

If you are looking at your resume right now, and thinking, “This REALLY needs work- well, never fear! We’ve got lots of examples to help you succeed. Also, jokes!

Let’s start with resumes! Here’s a quick video on how to make a resume with no fundraising experience.

5 common fundraising resume mistakes

If you’re wondering why you’re not getting the interview, your resume may be to blame. But never fear. Look at these common resume mistakes and see if you’re making them. If so, you’re not alone! NOBODY teaches us how to make a good resume! Kudos to you for looking to improve.

How to make your fundraising resume more compelling

Here are a few tips that i’ve picked up over the last several years of helping people with getting fundraising jobs- Tips that help people look their best to a potential hiring manager in fundraising. It’s not just about keywords-and it’s not just about getting the dollars raised in there either. You’ll dig these two articles-and they can help you stand head and shoulders above the competition for this job.

Moving on up? How can you polish your resume?

When you’ve been out of the job market for awhile, you may not know the new job market realities. Now that everyone is blasting their resume out to jobs they are not even remotely qualified for, you’ve got to put the keywords from each job directly in your resume. So, here are some more resume tips that you can use to move on up.

Google doc of places to find nonprofit fundraising and progressive jobs

Here’s a short video on how to edit your resume with some fundraising experience.

Fundraising Cover Letters

Here are some fundraising cover letter ideas for you!

One, did you know that people love someone who can spin a good yarn? have you ever tried telling a story at the top of your cover letter? just in the first paragraph? Well, I know we’re not all J.K. Rowling here, but come on- if you truly have a story with this cause- tell it in your cover letter! It can make them sit up and take notice.

Another thing you can do with your cover letter is put in the years of successful experience you have, in bold, for each paragraph, directly quoting their job requirements. I know this is a bit more robotic, but in the age of computers scanning our resumes instead of people, we have to do what we can to at least get our foot in the door for an interview.

Working with a recruiter

What a recruiter really wants-Interview with Fundraising Recruiter Phil Gerard of Gerard Search.

When I was working full time in fundraising, I always wondered why recruiters wouldn’t give me the time of day. I thought maybe I wasn’t senior enough. And I made some crucial mistakes. Phil Gerard is going to break down exactly what recruiters want to see in the Fundraising Career Conference, and he reveals some secrets in this interview.

Plan to get a major gifts role– how to get it-with Phil Gerard

You know that perfect major gifts role is not going to fall into your lap. So how do you get some of the highest paid jobs in fundraising? Phil Gerard recruits for major gifts roles all of the time and he will share with you exactly what he looks for.

Getting the Job: Acing the Fundraising Interview

I hope you like jokes about the interview!

10 questions to prepare for your fundraising job interview

These are some of the most common questions you will be asked! If you’ve ever flubbed the interview-You’re not alone! I’ve flubbed a few myself. What do people normally flub on? Is it “Why did you leave your last job?” Is it, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Whatever it is, this post will help you get through and prepare for those most common interview questions.

12 MORE interview questions for your next fundraising job interview

Here are even more questions you should ask in your next fundraising job interview.

Be Sherlock Holmes and ask these 5 questions in your next nonprofit job interview  

These are some of my most popular posts, ever! Why? Well, probably because these interview questions come up again and again in fundraising, and you can easily prepare for them by knowing them in advance and deciding what you’re going to say. But don’t forget, this is a two way interview! You need to ask them questions as well. And we’ve got JUST the questions that will help you uncover if this place will be a good place for you to work or not. You definitely want to check out these questions-they could make or break your next job.

How to rock your next fundraising job interview 

Don’t worry, you’re going to do so well! Here are some physical and mental things you can do to prepare, get in the right headspace for your interview.

How to ace that nonprofit interview

Want to learn even more?

Get 4 years of the fundraising career conference recordings- everything from how to move on up into major gifts, to how to get an international fundraising job, to what recruiters REALLY want, how to become a consultant, and SO MUCH MORE! Learn more here

On a Budget? Get the Get the Job! book!

Getting the Job: Career Pathing

Career Pathing-Find the Right Job for you

What is career pathing? Simply a quick easy way to figure out what sort of skills and experiences you’ll need to have to get where you want to go in your fundraising career. Let’s say you are a development officer. How do you move to Chief Development Officer at a big museum? It CAN BE DONE! This PDF on career pathing can help you map out the different fundraising careers, what skills and qualities you should have depending on how you want to focus, and then help you plot the course from A to B to C, build the skills and experiences you need to be a viable candidate for that dream job.

PDF: New and improved nonprofit leadership career pathing e-book If you want to get a better fundraising job, move on up in your fundraising or nonprofit career, THIS e-book is essential. In it, you’ll find the different kinds of fundraising jobs you might have, how to look at your values, and then articulate them in the interview, how to go on informational interviews, what questions to ask, and MORE!

Getting around the requirements you don't have

But they all want five years of experience!! Here’s how to get the experience you need, WITHOUT starting on the bottom rung in the fundraising world. Nobody is born a fundraiser. This post helps you get that crucial nonprofit experience before ever stepping into a full-time fundraising role. You have options!

What the 10 most in demand skills can tell you about what you’ll need to learn in fundraising

This article looks at the 10 most in-demand skills on LinkedIn-and what they can reveal about where the fundraising sector is growing. Believe it or not- tech! Yep. If you can get better at tech- you can be guaranteed a fundraising job.

This interview with Claire Axelrad talks about her experience hiring people under her in her fundraising shops. She has built teams and raised millions of dollars. She also taught interview skills at the last few Fundraising Career Conferences. She knows how you can be successful in moving on up into fundraising leadership.

Are you looking to sector-switch? You CAN! Here are some tips for how to switch from sales or marketing to fundraising. A lot of your skills are transferable. You just have to learn to use different language.

Getting the Job: Salary Negotiation

How to negotiate your salary

You are in a position of power. They want you. They are now talking with you about how to negotiate your nonprofit salary. How can you make the most of this opportunity? You’ve probably heard the old saying, never be the first one to name a number. This is actually true. So what phrases can you use to forestall this question?


You can also read more about salary negotiation in my book, Get the Job, Your Fundraising Career Empowerment Guide, OR check out my recorded webinar on salary negotiation.

Stay tuned for two videos on salary negotiation!

Managing Yourself

Women and Work- Internalized and External Sexism-It's a thing

Are you attacked for your fashion?

If so, you are not alone. Because even very powerful college presidents are attacked for their fashion. Read on if you have ever been criticized for your fashion at work!

Women and Workaholism in your fundraising office

Why are women so prone to this?  Because we are not allowed to make as many or ANY mistakes before we are deemed incompetent. That’s how sexism works.

Are you abandoning yourself for your job?

Better Work Boundaries-You CAN DO IT!

13 things HR won’t tell you about your fundraising job

OK let’s get real here and talk about what happens at most fundraising jobs. It’s not pretty.

Is your job eating your life?

Here are some easy ways to tell if you have a problem with working too much.

10 questions to find why “it just doesn’t feel right”

The questions you ask make you a better leader. Even of yourself. So, here are 10 questions to get to the heart of your problem.

Does your job satisfy you?

If not, here are a few reasons why you might be dissatisfied at work.

Why self care for fundraisers is so important

If you don’t care for yourself, you are going to have a hard time caring for others! It’s hard though, when your workplace doesn’t encourage good boundaries.

We all make mistakes in our careers. But please don’t make mine! Here are some mistakes that you can avoid in your career. You may have already made some of these. but hopefully the meaning in our suffering is that we help spare others the same pain.

Managing Up

How to get along with your boss in fundraising

How to manage up when your boss is not a fundraiser

This is one of my favorite posts, because it’s like, hey, MOST of us are not getting managed. MOST of us don’t have bosses who understand fundraising. So here’s what you can do about it.

How to respond when a manager yells at you

Sometimes the stress of being an ED can get really high. They have to be a board member, but also led by the board. they might be in charge of HR, financial reporting, fundraising efforts, program oversight, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So, getting yelled at can be inevitable. Here’s how to deal.

Bullying bosses can cause employee suicide

I hate to say it, but it’s true. This article has MANY sources to back up that a bully as a boss can simply degrade employees mental health and quality of life. And it is real. the consequences are real. So, we need to work on better communication, boundaries, and systems of checks and balances for bosses.

How can you get your boss to listen to you?

11 ways to make today better in your fundraising office

It’s not all doom and gloom over here. Here’s how you can start turning your workplace culture around. And believe me, these methods work!

We all get afraid of annual reviews, but WHAT IF THE TABLES WERE TURNED? This is one of my most popular articles. Let’s see how you can grade your boss on how well they manage you. Even if you can’t do this officially, it may give you food for thought on how to bring up what you want and what you need to be successful in your role. Read it and let me know what you think!

Moving on

Aw Girl, Are you JADED?

It’s OK if you are! We’re asked to give everything “for the mission” and hold nothing back for ourselves. Oh man. This has to stop.

8 secret signs you might be getting fired

As someone who has been fired, I WOULD KNOW! Here’s a few of the signs that I should have seen, but didn’t. It’s ok though. if you’re really a good fundraiser you will have been fired at least once because you have to say no to unrealistic expectations. And people usually don’t want to hear that.

Have you ever been fired? Was that awesome, or what?

What am I TALKING about here? getting fired? Having it be awesome? Is that really what it is? No, of course it sucks. It sucks really hard if you weren’t expecting it. Even if you WERE expecting it. Suddenly the rug is pulled out from under you. What can you do? You lost your support network at work. You have no paycheck coming in. It might take 2 weeks for unemployment to start, if they give it to you.

How to recover from a toxic workplace

When nobody at work goes home before 7pm, that’s a problem. When the boss yells at you for the slightest thing, you start to shrink inside. So, let’s talk about how to shake off this energy and move into a better phase of your life. 

Interviews about fundraising careers

Try a new nonprofit career on for size

Do you want to be a nonprofit consultant? Read this interview with Desiree Adaway

Try on a career as a recruiter for the nonprofit sector

Cool Careers: Try on a career as a professional fundraiser

How you can become a nonprofit executive director

Would you like to become a chief development officer? 

Career Boosting Interviews

Speak Your Truth and Get a Raise! by Elaine Lou Cartas (Here’s a video interview of Elaine ). Her high energy and clear phrases definitely made me eager to learn more! 

You may have heard of mentors, but what about career sponsors? Did you know that you can accelerate to 3X growth in your non-profit career with a sponsor? Read on, in Christie Lindor’s interview!) 

Have you or someone you know been harassed at work? (I know I have!)Maria Ramos-Chertok, J.D. knows about the legal implications of sexual harassment at work– Check outthis quick interview with Maria!

Kishshana Palmer- check out this quick 30 minute video interview on Keeping Your Fundraising Unicorns!) We had so much fun with this one! (Transcript in this link too)

If you’ve ever wondered, hey, what would it take to go work internationally? Check out How to Get an International Fundraising Job with Daryl Upsall, international fundraising job recruiter!Here’s what Daryl has to say about that!

Is the culture the problem? If we had a magic wand for our organizations, what could we do? I would fix the culture. A lot of our nonprofit cultures could be more focused on philanthropy and treating workers well. check out this quick interview with Della Rae about how to build a better workplace culture!)

Consulting-Pros and cons! If you want to get a taste of why people start consulting-and some of our issues, check out this quick interview with Sarai Johnson!)

Do you have good boundaries? If not, check out this Interview with Sheena Greer on Fundraising Boundaries

What the hiring manager looks for in fundraising- Secrets for acing the interview (and followup) an interview Claire Axelrad, former Development Director of the San Francisco Food Bank

How can you build trust? Often you’re starting out in a hole because the last 3 fundraisers never had anyone’s trust! And there’s been massive turnover! I wish I had known this when I started in any fundraising role, because so often, if our bosses don’t understand fundraising, we’re going to be under suspicion from the start. Here’s a quick article on how you can build trust with ABCD.

This interview will help you be a better manager and fundraiser! Kishshana Palmer Interview-Discover Your Strengths!

Are you going through a career transition right now? Listen to Lisa Taylor of the Challenge Factory as she talks Your Career Transition

Want to learn even more?

Get 4 years of the fundraising career conference recordings- everything from how to move on up into major gifts, to how to get an international fundraising job, to what recruiters REALLY want, how to become a consultant, and SO MUCH MORE! Learn more here

On a Budget? Get the Get the Job! book!